Bill Belichick’s Terrible Horrible Life

January 12, 2014

pj. title

“Baseball is what we were. Football is what we have become.”                                                                                                   –Mary McGrory

You don’t have to be an MIT physicist to deduce that New England has been killing it lately. Exhibit A: The World Series win. Exhibit B: the Patriots’ continued status at the top of the AFC East, fueled by a series of improbably last-minute comebacks, Brady’s superhuman confidence and Belichick’s analytic genius (more on this later). Exhibit C: The rise of Eggs as the most chill street spot on the East Coast and possibly in the United States (more on this later as well). Even the Celtics and Bruins have won championships in the past few years.

The only victory left for New Englanders is an honest-to-G*d Patrick John Ladd video part. For a board company video. #Physical or iTunes.

As seen in the excellent web series Eggs Report, Eggs combines aesthetics of Newport, DAG park, and BAM. J Kwon looks interesting as fuck on film, but it’s a super-intense global proving ground; like you might see some Brazilian dude hardflip nosegrinding the rail, or that other Brazilian dude hardflip backtail bigspin kickflipping out, or some shit. Eggs come off more chill; the ledges are lower-impact, the skating more relatable–even the PJ footage shot there isn’t that crazy. How easy is it for board to shoot into the Charles River tho?

28.5 miles south, another New England legend resides in quiet monasticism. Football types throw the term “genius” around when discussing Bill Belichick,* and I don’t know if that term can be applied to violent-as-fuck chess,  but it’s crazy how year after year Belichick stays dissecting opposing secondaries like a brain surgeon with seemingly the most unathletic players (except for Randy Moss, natch). And although my prediction of Preme x Belichick hoodies didn’t take off last year, it still might. There is a certain monk-like quality to some dude in a sweatshirt with the sleeves cut off, staring off into the driving snow, figuring out his next move.

That’s kind of how I envision PJ building his arsenal of tricks—skating in some garage in suburban Boston for hours and hours and hours. Kind of like that one apocryphal tale about Chris Cole skating the same curb in Lancaster, PA for two years before he even ventured down  down to LOVE. There is also a monastic element to skating–the spending hours and hours jumping on ledges, rewinding and rewatching video parts, and constructing different approaches.  Except Belichick looks even more monastic when he wears that mic transmitter belt or whatever. On some Friar Tuck shit.

Indeed, the following PJ quote transfers extremely well to football:

“Respect the building blocks, master the fundamentals, and the potential is unlimited”

Also like PJ, Belichick is notoriously reticent, as seen in any number of youtube compilations. Like that one kid on class who everyone knows is super smart, but they never participates.  When they do, though, it’s super profound. The main difference is that PJ (who has had more coverage lately with the New Balance** deal and that Brick Harbor thing) genuinely lets his skating do the talking. Belichick projects palpable disdain for his interviewers (“Every player on the field is under contract” is just slightly below #bothteamsplayedhard on the sarcasm scale). However, over the course of writing this article, the main commonality between Belichick and Ladd that jumped out at me is a penchant for 3/4 –sleeve outerwear.

Along those lines, I came across this outstanding piece of sports journalism on Bleacher Report that broke down Belichick’s record based on outerwear, in attempt to verify, through data, the mystique of the sweatshirt with the sleeves ripped off. Inspired, I attempted a similar study re: PJ. The main challenge was quantifying skating into wins/losses. Street League footage and data proved impossible to obtain, so I referred to the painstakingly-archived Berrics archive of BATB matches. These are my findings:

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

As you can see, PJ’s undefeated streak only began when he busted out ¾ sleeve fleece. The tipping point arrived when he wore a ¾ sleeve hoodie in his victory over Paul Rodriguez–to whom he had lost the BATB3 final– in BATB5. Conversely, the Bleacher Report article points out that the Pats have yet to win a Superbowl “since coach lacerated his sweatshirt.”

Perhaps PJ is more akin to another notoriously reticent longtime New England resident: J.D. Salinger.

Did anyone get a chance to see the “leaked” Salinger stories before they completely fucking disappeared from the internet? I opened them in some imgur file, but when I sat down to read them the page had disappeared or some shit. The only skate equivalent I can think of is the recently “leaked” Lost Bastien part, which is sick as fuck. Or maybe the “lost” MJ part. Is there a “lost” Eric Fletcher part from the post-Really Sorry days?

More on “lost” footage later.

ANYWAY, Ladd and Salinger both released transcendent masterworks, followed by some other content that was solid but still left the public waiting for an honest-to-G*d, legit sequel. They both also share that hard-to-define reclusive mystique. For example, you would see stories on SLAP about PJ going to some skatepark in Cali and kids bugging him the whole time. He would allegedly just leave or skate flat in the parking lot.


Similar tales are told in the recent documentary Salinger, which is still on the Netflix for all you snowed/frozen-in East Coasters out there. People would drive up to New Hampshire and confront the dude when he was getting his mail.

Pretty weird.

#itgirl virca 1940. note unreleased Gravis Dylan 2's

#itgirl circa 1940. note unreleased Gravis Dylan 2’s

The documentary also includes lots of corny testimonials from old white people about how fucking awesome Salinger was at writing, in addition to corny reenactment footage that reminded me of Waiting for Lightning. Said reenactments portray Salinger typing at a desk on a stage while images from his WWII service fly by on a movie screen.

Theater of the Mind, bro.

HOWEVER, the details of his #process, both in terms of writing and getting chicks, are interesting as fuck. Specifically, the film posits that Catcher  and his whole vibe after the war was on some PTSD shit.

As if Harrow from Boardwalk Empire had focused on writing instead of marksmanship.

One of his old girlfriends explains his reticence by stating that he felt that all a reader should know about an author should be derived from his work—remarkably similar to PJ’s “let the skating do the talking” ethos. The dude even built a monument to said reticence– a bunker (a TF, even) in which he would write, ignoring his children and wives. He kept his finished manuscripts in a vault—just like how Rocco [allegedly] stored the “lost” footage of the Girl/Choc. dudes. But how did he pull bitches if he was holed up in New Hampshire? Salinger didn’t need insta direct or any of that shit; after he met a chick, like a party in NY, he would simply write her a series of letters.**** After that, it was a wrap.

The film culminates with a photo sequence of the dude getting into a car–the last Salinger footage ever filmed. An after-black ender follows—a statement that a slew of unreleased books, including more Holden stories, will be released between 2015-2020.

A more concrete timetable than the Plan B video.

Who knows though—maybe “The Lost PJ Ladd Video Part” will “leak” onto the internet in 2019.  At the point in the Salinger doc where they talk about Catcher, one of the old white dudes in Salinger brings up this old Orwell quote:

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle…One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”

The same could be said of epic skate video productions (via Ternasky) and National Football League campaigns.

Hope y’all are enjoying Divisional Weekend.

ps. follow FIC on that twitter, that insta, and that tumblr

Previously: A Brief History of Anglophilia

*Yes, I know about Spygate

**I get the vibe that dudes in general aren’t really feeling #NB; however, the tightest thing about New Balance skate shoes is that New Balance were some of the first chill shoes to gain prominence in the Nineties. The significance of the advent of chill shoes cannot be overstated. Everyone was like “Wait a minute—let me get this straight. Shoes that you wear, but don’t skate in? TRIP THE FUCK OUT.”

***It  even came with a downloadable Excel file!

****I wonder if he received any n00dz tho


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