Sunday, March 3, 2013

In Which I Agree, In Part, With Bobby Knight

Scott Simon interviews Bob Knight about his new book:
He has a new book in which he lays out the philosophy of his coaching and how it can apply to life: The Power of Negative Thinking. Knight tells NPR's Scott Simon that he wants to help people get rid of their rose-colored glasses. "I think that we as a people are always prone to think about, well, tomorrow will be a better day," he says. "Well, why will it be a better day?"
Knight says people should concentrate on doing well in the present rather than hoping for good things down the road. "Positive results don't happen simply because we believe they're going to happen," he says. Hope may spring eternal, he laughs, but it's a lot better to work and plan for something than just to hope for it.
Nor did he pray for good things — Knight eschewed pregame prayers during his coaching career. "I'll tell you what," he says. "I watched the guy that hits a home run, and he comes across the plate, and he points skyward, like thanking the Almighty for the help to hit the home run. And as he does that, I say to myself, 'God screwed the pitcher.' And I don't know how else you look at it. I've always felt that the Almighty has a lot of things to do other than help my basketball team."
And even if the Almighty helps you to a victory, Knight says, it can be harder to learn from victory than from defeat. "I think that we don't want defeat, we don't want defeat in sport, we don't want defeat in life," he says, but we need to examine what defeats us. "Let's address those things that are going to bring about a loss, rather than simply those things that are going to bring about a victory."
I like the part about saying, "God screwed the pitcher."  The idea that a Supreme Being has any rooting interest in sporting events (outside of Notre Dame football, j/k) seems ludicrous.  Bob makes a few good points right here.  

However, as Scott Simon questions Coach Knight's style of coaching, it is funny to listen to him fall back to the "look at the results" argument.  You know, coach, if Larry Bird would have hung around campus, what kind of team would you have had?  You know, coach, if you handled some situations in a different way, maybe you would have gotten even better results.  You know, coach, this probably isn't a good way to deal a stressful situation:

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