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In which John talks about confidence and insecurity. The Swoodilypoopers take on Brentford.

Follow us on Twitter: @SwindonSwoodily
[Previous record: 31-7-4; 100 pts; 46 goal diff; 1st place]

Hello, and welcome to hankgames without Hank; my name is John Green, and in a stunning turn of events, it is raining in England, and today, the Swindon Town Swoodilypoopers are taking on Brentford, which - guess what? - is the team they are currently playing in extra time of the semifinals of the League 1 Playoffs.

So, last time, I was like, "Oh, if I win this game, then they'll definitely win", but this time, it's clearly a sign from above, that if I win this game, they will actually win.

So, I must focus. I must do it for Swindon. Both for the Swoodilypoopers and the real-life Swindon Robins. I must try to win this game. In fact, I am not going to focus on the stream at all, that's telling me that, 105 minutes in, it remains 4-4 on aggregate; I am going to focus entirely on the game at hand.

I've got Wesley Crusher Foderingham in goal. I've got Bald John Green; I've got Other John Green; I've got rain! All of that stuff usually adds up to a Swindon victory, so let's hope for the best!

So, today I want to talk about confidence, both because I hope to instill it in my players, and because it's an important thing in life. So I was a very - I mean, I'm still very insecure in a lot of ways, like I'm still like very physically insecure and stuff - wait a second, has there been some kind of card? Hold on. Oh no. Oh no. Swindon are down to ten men. This is very bad. This is a very big - the commentator just said, "This is a blow to them," and he didn't mean it in the awesome way.

So, Swindon need confidence right now, because they're only playing with ten guys, and the other team is playing with eleven guys, and that's a big advantage. So, let's talk about it.

I've always been kind of insecure, but sometime when I was in my twenties, I realized that everyone else was also really insecure, and that everyone else also felt like an impostor, and this was been a huge advantage to me in my life, because when you realize that like you are not alone in feeling that you are total joke, and no one with every really love you, it really helps you to understand the actions and emotions of others, because a lot of times, they're acting from that same place of worrying that no one will every care for them, and their needs will go unmet, and that, you know, they will die, miserable and alone and soon.

And like, you know, I still have a lot of like, you know, anxiety and fear in my life, but I am generally much - oh God. That is not necessarily what I would have done, Dave Matthews Bandalovski, but it will work.

So I've never - you know, I was never like a - cleared off the line - a person who brimmed with confidence, but I've come to, in my old age, understand that I am good at some things, and I think that once you can tell that to yourself, then even though you're going to feel like an impostor about your work and your life - you're going to be like, "I'm not qualified to be a husband; I'm not qualified to be a father; certainly not qualified to be a professional FIFA player", which, to be fair, I'm not - once you get to that place of being able to say, "Well, I'm not qualified to be any of these things, but I'm still going to do them, and like them, and relish in them, and do the best job I can, you're...

AHH! Green Eggs and Foderingham! Oh, great block! Great... this is Swindon football at its best/worst. There you go, that's a nice-looking ball. Get it into space, track it down, to your husband, and FIN - OH! Brentford! All right, we can do this, guys. Can we get One Size Fitz Hall up here, please? Ooh... he wanted it, you could tell. D'oh! Nice save from the keeper there.

So I think, I think the real key to confidence is actually in under-, in kind of like, an embracing of weakness, like an embracing of things that, you know, it's all true, you know. That you are fragile, that you are weak, that you - you know, that you do live without like certainty of tomorrow and everything else.

Like, that's all true. And once you kind of accept that it's all true, instead of being, you know, horrifically afraid of it every waking second, it becomes, it becomes easier to kind of approach the world from a place of, you know, relative, you know, not - certainly not security, but...

Oh... goodness, that was some terrible defending! Oh! The Swoodilypoopers just got very lucky. Swindon have a corner. Swindon have a corner right now. The real life Swindon. We obviously do not... you could see what's happening to us, so, when I refer to Swindon, just... I know I said I wasn't going to pay attention to the scree!

All right, we gotta win this game. What is wrong with us? We haven't scored a goal in like seven games! This is like a completely new Swoodilypoopers! And by new, I mean worse! Come on, come on, Bald John Green, show them how it's - no. Hmm... at least I made, at least I made that guy go into his net. That always amuses me. Fireball Wilson Groberts has the ball in real Swindon world. They're wearing blue, by the way. Heroic Swindon Blue.

All right, it's the end of the first half, we've got to find a way to beat Brentford, just as the Swindon Town Robins playing in real life have to find a way to beat Brentford, despite only having ten men. The tension is palpable! All right, we can do this! Oh, that was such a great opportunity! I love the way that Bald John Green finished that! Fireball Wilson Groberts will be taking another corner kick. Okay. Here we go. Here we go, boys! Come on!

So this is what I try to instill in the team, too, I try to talk to them about, you know, understanding their weaknesses and not being embarrassed of them, or frightened of them, or ashamed. Like, I think a lot lack of confidence comes from a place of shame, you know - we're ashamed about the things that we aren't good at, we're ashamed about our - oh, that's a foul! We're ashamed about... you know, like we feel like there's something sort of like deeply, deeply wrong with us that makes it impossible for us to lean in. Sorry to use business logo, but I just read that book, and it is fantastic!

Come on. Get it, get it! All right, we're going attacking. We need to, we need to attack to win. Yes, that's another sign of confidence, is when you just say, "You know what? Like, I'm going to be weak at the back for a little while." And I try to instill this in the boys, because look, I think they know, and I know, that they aren't the best soccer players in the world, so like they have to know their weaknesses - you know, there's no one on our team who is like Lionel Messi. And so if you're going to play from a place of confidence, you have to begin by playing from a place of honesty, and that means yeah, understanding what you can do; it also means understanding, of course, the many things, unfortunately, that you can't do.

And you know, we can't - look, we just gave up, Merrick Maric - a great example right there, Merrick Maric. Great example. Ohhh! Merrick Maric is frustrated, because Bald John Green should have gotten him a better ball.

But that is exactly what I'm talking about, when I'm talking about confidence - Merrick Maric lost the ball, and instead of quitting, he was like, "I can go - I can get this back. This is not over. This battle is not yet won." Fitz Hall, Fitz Hall, Fitz Hall, Fitz... d'oh! My whole life just flashed before my eyes. Oh my God! Deep breath, Green, come on.

66 minutes, we got to do this! Come on, Swindon! Come on, Swindon! Oh. Into the last 15 minutes of added time, in the real game, and oh! There we go! Come on, Swindon! Come on Swindon! Get around him! That's a foul, that's is a foul, but you know what? I don't even need it. I don't even need it, because Bostock doesn't care. Come on! Get back, get back to the ball.

So this is, this is when I'm not just coaching them, I'm also trying to like share - I'm trying to kind of you know, let the confidence flow out of me and into them. I'm trying to say to them, "You're not alone here, we can do this," and I try to exude that calm that I'm famous for as a manager, that calm sense of like, "Of course! We've done this before, and we'll do it again!" How many times have we won in the last few minutes? Well, today's going to be one of those days. It's not going to be one of the easy days.

Oh! Come on, Swindon! Not a good pass, not a good pass at all. Hmmm. Hmmm. It's difficult to watch. It's difficult to watch Brentford on the break here, just... it's almost like they're content with the standard Swoodilypooper nil-nil draw, but we aren't. Not today. Lots of days we would be, but not today.

Back to your husband! Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! Oh, it was so beautiful! I loved everything about it... except for the finish! Oh! Oh! Except for the finish! Everything else was perfect! Oh! Off the post! Oh! Who hit the post? Who was that? Bald John Green? Ah! AHHHHH! Oh, great tackle. THAT IS NOT A FOUL! Terrible call by the referee, even if he was playing the advantage. Oh... come on. Come on, come on, get back... there we go. He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named! No! It's going out. All right, everything's fine. Nobody freak out.

Ohh.... God. We can win this game. So yes, as you can see, I exude calm, quiet confidence. It's just my nature! It's just who I am. Thank you... You were right to turn to me, when you needed advice on how to be confident, because who knows more?

All right, Bostock is exhausted, so he's coming out. He's coming out for Mionel Richie. Merrick Maric is also exhausted. He's coming out for Andy Rooney. And then, what this game needs, and indeed, what so many games have needed in the past, is Leroy Williamson. Let's go win this game. C'mon, boys.

Three substitutions, just like they do in the pros. And... here we go. There's Andy Rooney. Not a good pass. Andy Rooney, not his best work, it must be said. Oh, Andy Rooney! Does he have a soul? Oh... are we really going to draw against Brentford and leave this unclear as to who... oh! Come on! Go go go go go go go! You've got one chance! Come on, Bald John Green! Come on, Bald John Green! Leroy Williamson, get up there... OHHHHHH!!!!!

Will we ever score again!? I don't know; I'm sorry! These have been unwatchable! I didn't even pay attention to the stream! 117 minutes, and still 4-4 on aggregate! Oh! And the ten players of Swindon are, you can tell they're exhausted. Penalties may be our best chance.

Best wishes.

[vs. Brentford: 0-0 tie]