"You think I'm a spring chicken?"
That was Caleb Porter's retort to being asked for the second time about a confrontation between him and Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson just minutes after the visitor's 4-3 victory over the Portland Timbers Sunday evening. Porter put on a straight face and said he congratulated his counterpart, and left it at that. When asked about it again, Porter called out the reporter's tactic and explained that simply asking the same thing a second time wasn't going to work. Not on Porter. He's no spring chicken.
But isn't that exactly what Porter is? And isn't that exactly what he showed with his sullen post-game press conference?
While Porter has made his livelihood for the past decade as a soccer coach, this is just his second season as a professional coach of professional players working for a professional footballing club. In that regard, he is precisely a spring chicken.
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Porter's nearly-seven-minute diatribe got started with the one statement every sore loser likes to tout: "I don't like losing." Question: Does anyone?
Then, after talk of chickens, the whole press conference sort of devolved into a mix of Porter trying to calm himself down while simultaneously chastising the press core. He was short ("Ya, ya."); he attacked ("Have you not watched this team all year?"); he got defensive ("We scored three goals from the run of play, they scored two. How about our attack?"); he whined ("I don't think we deserved to lose."); he was snarky ("I don't get the question."); he was condescending ("What do you think happened [tactically]? I bet he knows [pointing to a reporter]. He'll tell you. What happened. What'd I do? What were the moves? Do you know?"); he chided ("You must be watching a different team than I am."). And the whole debacle ended with Porter calling one member of the media a "clown" as he walked out of the room.
What Porter would do well to understand is that no one in that press conference was attacking him or trying to goad him into an outburst. The media simply need him to talk. They need words to come out of his mouth so that they can be recorded and transcribed and quoted in articles. The best way to make that happen is to ask questions. There were all manner of questions asked: softballs, cliches, tactical questions, emotional questions, next-game questions... The Portland media covered all the bases to provide Porter with ample opportunity to talk. But he chose to take out some of his frustrations from a subpar start to the season on a reporter who asked about the same topic twice.
If Porter didn't want to be asked about going nose-to-nose with the opposing team's coach and having to be separated by players, then he shouldn't have gone nose-to-nose with the opposing team's coach out on the pitch in plain sight of anyone still in the stadium. And if you're going to give a bullshit answer like, "I wished him congratulations," don't get upset when a reporter doesn't buy it.
That's something a spring chicken would do.