In the team sports world, there’s been this concept lately that has popped up, called Next Man or Woman up. Essentially it’s where a teammate gets injured or “accidentally takes a sleeping pill over and over again that seems to show up exactly like steroids in their system” or a teammate”accidentally walks into a bank with a ski mask and a gun and accidentally says ‘Stick em up!’ and accidentally has the combination to the huge safe with all the money in it” and couldn’t play the next game. So the person right behind them in the depth chart steps right in and runs with the position. It helps in two ways. One, they don’t want to panic and make excuses about why they are winning or losing. And two, they want to let everyone know, you are replaceable. No matter how talented you think you are, don’t get injured, take drugs or commit crimes, because there is probably an almost as talented guy sitting on the bench waiting to take your spot permanently and ready to leave you without a job.
So in a sense, Next Man or Woman up in sports is a way to instill confidence in a fan base. It’s a good thing, because regardless of how good one player is, there is always a Next Man or Woman up. But in real life, Next Man or Woman suuucks.
Take Work for instance- Hey, BB, Doofinshmirtz is running two weeks late in traffic, Fake Sicky still has the sniffles and that wouldn’t allow them to get out of bed except to go shopping at the mall or take a day trip to Miami Beach, Family Guy’s kid has a birthday, so they need to stay home to celebrate even though the kid is in college and is 3000 miles away enjoying their freedom from them, and Trainy Mcgavin is offsite (meaning at home taking a nap) doing some virtual training and won’t be in. So you’ll need to be the next man up and do everyone’s job but your own. Don’t mess up or turn anything in late.
Disease – Hey, I know the person right in front of you at the deli had a massive cold and was hacking all over the place, but be assured I used the same pair of gloves that were in the same vicinity as that guy, so no worries and the amount of terrible germs are being passed to you. You’re the next number up.
Hand me downs – Hey middle child, you are just as important in this family as the oldest and the youngest, especially when it comes to clothes and other essential items we give you for personal and school. I know that you think we forget about you, but don’t worry, we will show our affection to you by keeping those clothes that were just too small for your older sibling, and give you their TI-81 calculator as soon as we get the oldest a new laptop, because we care enough to leave you with only the most outdated.
Helping people move – Hey dude, I know you have all kinds of plans to sit on your couch and watch TV all weekend, and I just met you for the first time last week, but we tried everyone else first and they all had a full plate, were all wrapped up, totally buried, double booked, had a prior engagement, or were juggling too many things right now. So…could you help me lift my grand piano and all my furniture and then leave as soon as the treats are ready?
Babysitting – Hey, we couldn’t find anyone else insane enough to watch our six needy kids while we gallivant across Europe for 4 weeks, but could you? For absolutely no gratitude for the immense task it was to help our kids with homework, projects, dinner, house cleanup, insane claims about a taco smell in the basement and and making sure they wash their hands every time they do something with them, we promise to come home and give you a European tie and a dish and a check for $700. Don’t spend it all in one place!
So thanks coach for your inspirational Next Man or Woman Up speech, but I think I will sit on the bench and collect money, championships, bonus money, cars and naps while my years added to my bitter life, from not stressing whether we win or lose, and not worrying about an injury to my ankle or lifelong damage to my back.
Bitter Next Man Down Ben