In the car, Pavlovian Guitars of Sobbing start up as Coach Taylor eats the piece of cake Matt's grandmother gave him in two bites. Something about this detail draws a line between a feminine world of nicety and graciousness (Taylor in the Saracen home) and the masculine world of getting shit done (Taylor on the field) as we transition to the latter.
Beautiful, long shot of the football field at night, the field almost turquoise in the bluish light. Taylor and Matt walk to the middle of the silent field, crickets chirping over the Pavlovian Guitars. Coach Taylor asks Matt if having his dad in Iraq is hard. Matt demurs. Coach Taylor shares that his father was on him "day in and day out, still thinks I should have made the NFL." Handheld camera on Matt looking, as he always does, like that proverbial deer. Coach Taylor sort of paces in front of him, wondering aloud how Matt "does it." He takes a moment to lay Matt's life in front of the confused kid -- his time commitments, studies, "all that and being man of the house, too." The camera steadies a bit as Coach Taylor stops and looks directly at Matt: "I know you didn't want me to step foot in your house tonight." Matt looks to the side in further shame. "But I'll tell you something else. You should be proud." Crying. Crying over deep human truths. Crying because I AM BEING TESTED TO MY VERY SOUL.
Coach Taylor tells Matt that "all this" -- the enormous stadium -- is his for the taking if he wants it badly enough. Well, I think witnessing Jason Street's totally random injury has already disabused Matt Saracen of the notion that hard work = success, but whatever. Taylor tells Matt that he can't be distracted, not by the fans, the band, the cheerleaders "with their pretty young shapely legs bouncing up and down." Erm, okay. He tells Matt that he has to do his job, and then motions up toward the press box, where a man hits a switch and the stadium fills with recorded sports fan cacophony. Taylor yells to Matt that his team is going to have to be heard over all this noise, tosses him the ball and tells him to call "22 rocket on hit." Then Coach Taylor and Matt engage in your standard "Do you want this?" "Yes!" "I can't hear you!" "YES!" "I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!" moment of Realizing Potential Through Screaming. The only thing I don't understand about this particular therapy is -- given the frequency with which I scream my way through a bar or party -- why I have not yet realized my own potential.
The scene winds up as Coach Taylor screams at Matt, "How much do you want this?" repeatedly, with Matt screaming back in desperation, "I want it, Coach, I want it!" and we cut back to the long shot of the field, Matt and Coach Taylor tiny dots in a mean, mean world. Sigh. This is quite a Melvillian world. Maybe in a few weeks Saracen will realize that, in fact, "I prefer not to."