In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments.
What comic book character would make a good sports team coach?
Steve Rogers should coach little league. This is a thing that should happen. It can be in his retirement, or when he slows down… which will never occur in a comic book, but that’s not the question. Twenty years from now, when there is a new generation of young heroes to focus on saving the world, Steve Rogers should coach little league. Baseball: America’s pastime.
My first instinct in answering this question was to wonder, “Doesn’t Coach Taylor already count as a superhero?” I thought there must at least be a tie-in between Friday Night Lights (the TV show featuring Coach Taylor) and comic books. But it turns out the closest thing in existence is this collection of Gil Thorp comics.
There clearly should be a comic book based on Friday Night Lights, if only due to the apparently high crossover between comics fandom and love of FNL. Even though that show was based firmly in the real world, its take on everyday heroism and the importance of friendship are just the kind of thing that many comic books readers love and relate to.
Until the comic book version of Coach Taylor exists, though, I nominate conscientious, clean-cut Southern boy Sam Guthrie (Cannonball of the X-Men and New Mutants) as the best potential coach in the Marvel Universe.
I’m not much of a Green Lantern fan on the best of days, and of all the Lanterns out there, the insubordinate, abrasive, downright obnoxious Guy Gardner is probably the farthest from my character type. But when I learned that he’d once been a gym teacher for children in special education classes, I couldn’t help softening my feelings toward him just a bit. Apparently, special needs kids get to see the softer side of Mr. Gardner that few others ever witness. I may not like Guy much as a superhero, but if he spent the rest of his days as a volunteer coach for the Special Olympics, the world would probably be a better place.
A good sports coach is a combination of practical and inspirational. Someone who can
follow rules, keep a schedule, and make long-term plans towards goals. Most superheroes are reactive rather than proactive — they respond to villainous threats. The exception that comes to mind is Batman, and I don’t want him coaching anybody to do anything.
Supervillains would make better coaches, I think. But their plans, however carefully laid, tend to result in failure when met by opposition. A sports game or tournament would definitely have opposition.
Outside of superhero comics we have other genres. I don’t think the crime/noir comics genre would be a good fit. And I don’t want to ponder a sports coach from horror comics.
All told, I think I’d like to propose Linus from the Charles M. Schulze Charlie Brown comics as a sports coach. He’s got the patience, the faith, the ability to see the larger picture. And he doesn’t let anyone’s opinions of him get in his way.
So what about you? What comic book character would make a good sports team coach?