Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bob Knight: Molding America's M*therf*cking Youth

I know I've devoted some time in the past detailing former Indiana University basketball coach Bob Knight's stranglehold on the collective basketball unconscious in my home state. But at a recent dinner, I was told a story that has thus far taken the cake in the land of Bob Knight's legendary Knightness.

A friend of my wife's, we'll call him Glenn (not his real name) was a bit of a baller in the late 70's, early 80's. Glenn was also a Purdue fan that knew if he wanted to go to the best basketball camp available to 13-year-olds in 1978 he'd have to head to Bloomington to refine his skills. This guy still wore Purdue t-shirts at the camp and felt an accute stigma for his choice of apparel, but otherwise was an active member at the weeklong camp and roomed with three like-minded adolescents.

One of Glenn's roommates, we'll call him Sally, took on the role of pariah, and was the butt of a practical joke executed by Glenn and two other roommates involving hair, wet from an afternoon shower, and baby powder on a pillow. Pretty harmless, and really, not too imaginative.

Poor Sally took great offense to this slight and took his displeasure to one of the coach/counselors who happened to be his regular coach or dad (I can't remember which). Late that evening at a regular day ending convocation of campers - the kind where mail and notes from home were passed out - Glenn and his two co-conspirators were told in front of the entire camp that they were to report to office number such and such immediately.

Upon reaching the door of the office, Glenn knocked and said he heard a very familiar voice calmly call them in with a smooth, "Come on in, boys." In this office were three cafeteria chairs facing three similar chairs filled with IU coach Bob Knight, and two assistants, one of which was a former player from the undefeated 1976 IU national championship team.

Glenn described the next forty-five minutes as being reminiscent of An Officer and a Gentleman with the cliched drill sergeant, nose to nose, barking delivery. Only this time it was Knight and compatriots playing the Lou Gossett, Jr. role. Glenn and friends were treated to an in your face, swearing-filled, "Who the fuck do you think you are," reaming where the adults were trying to get these three 13-year-olds to turn against each other and label one the ringleader. Somehow (Glenn thinks it was the shared guilt) none of the boys turned on the others, and eventually Knight sent them back to their rooms.

As Glenn was exiting the room, Knight calls out his name and asks, "What does the number 317 - XXX - XXXX mean to you?" Knight was reading from Glenn's personal information, and Glenn responded, "That's my home phone number sir."

Knight went on, "Would your father like to receive a call at about 2:30 this morning telling him to drive down here from Indianapolis and pick your ass up?"

Glenn continued his kowtowing and answered Knight's final volley of questions. Once Glenn was finally dismissed and moving out of the office, Knight took the opportunity to fire one last shot at a 13-year-old kid and sent Glenn packing with the oh so subtle, "Sweet dreams, motherfucker."

* * *

I coach a basketball team filled with 13-year-olds but have yet to call one of them a motherfucker. Maybe it's just my style. But when I was at our league-wide coaches meeting last week there was the requisite middle-aged guy wearing a Texas Tech pullover in Indianapolis, ready to take his B team storming through the season.

Maybe it was Sally.

If you're wondering, Knight still puts on camps each year.


Anonymous said...

That story is fucking brilliant. I don't even care whether or not it's true.

Without struggling to do so, I can imagine how Bobby Knight tucked his son into bed each night: First, reading him a bedtime story, then kissing him gently on the forehead and turning out the light.

Finally, just before closing the bedroom door behind him, Coach Knight peeks in his head and says, in a soft whisper, "Sweet dreams, motherfucker."

Anonymous said...

yeah, and this one time, at band camp...

i'd have serious reservations about you coaching any 13-year-olds.

Ross McLochness said...

Glenn, the main individual in this story, told this to me in front of his wife.

Afterward, his wife noted that she's heard him tell this story a hundred times and it has never varied from telling to telling.

The story stands. "Sweet dreams, motherfucker."

Carl Hungus said...

Ross is the Glenn I'm thinking of also a golfer as well?

I think I remember hearing this story from "Glenn" on one of our numerous business trips together.

I guess now I know why late one evening one our way home from dinner on our business trip, he bought baby powder, a pacifier and a bottle of Chablis from a local grocery.

Ross McLochness said...

Glenn is the golfer you think of.

Beware any trips to the baby aisle the next time you're on one of your "business" trips.