If you’ve seen “The Right Stuff,” you’ll recall a moment toward the end of the film as Chuck Yeager, forgotten hero that he was in the wake of the space program, still pushing the limits as a test pilot, still looking to own his part of the sky, sets off on a test run for old time’s sake. Coach paused the video and told us to pay attention to a certain line that, in his view, was the greatest compliment he’d seen one man pay another. “It’s right after the guy driving Levon Helm asks him a question,” he told us.
Ridley and his driver head out in search of Yeager, whose plane has crashed, and the question comes: “Sir, over there. Is that a man?” As Helm’s Ridley looks out in the heat-rippled distance, he sees Yeager alive and well, head held high. A smile creeps across Ridley’s face, almost as if he was never worried about his friend, and he simply says, “Yeah, you damn right it is.”