This week’s interview is with Washington Galaxy coach Rodney Reagle.
SHL Digest: We’re here this week with Rodney Reagle of the Washington Galaxy. I have to say, Coach Reagle, we’ve been looking forward to this opportunity for a long time.
Rodney Reagle: I get that a lot. A Rodney Reagle interview is a gold mine of insanity, a writer’s dream come true.
SHLD: Suffice it to say, you are one of the league’s most colorful characters. You’ve coached games in costume, you’ve given post-game interviews in a wide variety of accents, and you’ve provided an endless stream of hilarious quotes. What makes you so funny?
RR: You mean funny ha-ha, or funny what’s-wrong-with-that-guy?
SHLD: Funny ha-ha.
RR: Well, a lot of coaches are frustrated generals. I’m a frustrated comedian. When I was a kid, I wanted to either play hockey or be on Saturday Night Live. Now, in a weird way, I can do both!
SHLD: Were you considered a funny guy during your playing days?
RR: Well, I was a goalie. And everyone knows that goalies are crazy. My teammates called me “Radio” because I liked to do the play-by-play on the ice when the puck was in our end. And I liked to act out my favorite SNL bits in the locker room. So, yeah, kinda funny.
SHLD: Your humor is pretty popular around the league, but there are some critics who call you a clown and say you should be more serious. How would you respond to those critics?
RR: I mean, what can I say? There are some people who think sports is like war, and you need to treat it like war, and be serious all the time. That if you’re cracking jokes or being silly, you’re disrespecting the game. But you know what? A season is a long grind, and if you play every game like it’s life and death, you’re going to burn out. So if you can keep the guys loose, get them laughing and joking for a bit, it makes the grind a little easier.
SHLD: That makes sense.
RR: And if the critics are fussing about me wearing a funny costume or saying something silly instead of talking about one of our guys being in a slump, it takes the pressure off.
SHLD: If we could switch to serious topics for a minute.
RR: You really want to do that? Wouldn’t you rather talk about silly stuff? I’ve got some really killer impressions.
SHLD: Tempting! But we should talk about the Galaxy for a bit. You’ve been hovering around the .500 mark for most of the year, and you’ve been trailing Hershey consistently. What does your team need to do to repeat as division champs?
RR: Well, our defense has been strong, and Rogie [Roger Orion] has been great. Offensively, we’ve had a little struggle. But our tempo is good and we’ve been getting plenty of shots, but they haven’t been going in. So I guess what we need to do is convince opposing goalies not to stop so many of our shots. I’m thinking about offering bribes.
SHLD: It doesn’t sound like you’re too concerned.
RR: Don’t get me wrong. The Bliss are having a great year, and they’re not going to be easy to catch. But honestly, there’s not a lot we could be doing different. I could give you some jive coach-speak answer like, “We need to increase our net-front presence and improve our quality-shot percentage,” but that’s just silly. We’re taking shots, and they’re not going in. If more of them went in, we’d be doing better. Sometimes it really is that stupid.
SHLD: Fair enough. One last question: You have yet to coach a game in costume this season. There have been rumors that either the league or your team’s ownership has asked you to stop. Will we see you in costume on the bench again?
RR: First of all, let me deny the slanderous rumor that ownership has put the kibosh on my costumes. Mr. [Perry] Dodge has been consistently tolerant and even supportive of my numerous eccentricities. The league, maybe a little less, but they’ve never officially ordered me not to do it. Mind you, I’m not just going to do it just as a stunt. Only if the spirit moves me. Will it move me this season? You’ll have to stay tuned.
SHLD: Sounds good! Well, thanks for your time, and good luck the rest of the season!
RR: Thanks. I hope it was as good for you as it was for me.