I live in a place that you have to intentionally drive to. You don't just pass through our town on the way to somewhere else. If you are here, you meant to be here.
This morning at breakfast, I saw a man that I thought could be a famous basketball's coach twin. Then I heard his voice and I realized, "that's no twin, that's HIM!" It was none other than the infamous Bobby Knight!
Now he has a bit of a history with our town. When he coached Indiana, we played them one year. Before coming here, he made a crack about going to the mountains to go camping, referring to twisting his way through the moutains, which is the only way to get to our town. It enraged the fans of our town and they all wore camping gear to the game in protest.
So today, after eating, I walked over to the table to shake his hand and tell him how much I had followed and appreciated his career. (the man was a killer coach and probably has one of the greatest basketball minds ever to walk the planet!). Then I grinned and asked him if he was here on a camping trip.
He happened to be sitting at the table with Bruce Parkhill, who was our basketball coach at the time of this particular game. They both cracked up laughing! Then I got entertained with his side of the camping story and how he had brought a backpack and camo coat with him to the game and fully intended on wearing it onto the basketball floor at the beginning of the game and then giving it to a child in the crowd. But Joe Paterno, our legend of a football coach, had caught him in the locker room before the game and talked him out of it!
It was a most delightful conversation. I know Bobby Knight doesn't have a good name in every circle of society, but having played collegiate basketball myself under some pretty demonstrative coaches, understanding the coach/player relationship, and seeing the kind of coaches and people Bobby Knight produced through the years (Coach K of Duke being my favorite), I have to say that I have a great respect for the man as a coach! And let's face it, him and Dick Vitale together in the broadcaster's booth are a real kick!!
I still have no idea what Bobby Knight was doing in Happy Valley--perhaps to endorse Sarah Palin, who will also be here tomorrow night-or to attend a conference of some kind? (Secretly I'm hoping it's to breathe some life into our men's basketball program which has never been the same since Parkhill left). But it was a thrill for me to meet him and be able to give him a little bit of appreciation for the times he has entertained me through the years.