Hello, friends. You look well on this sunny spring Friday. If you'll indulge me, I hope you'll allow me to bring some dark clouds into your world for just a second. As we all know by now, Kentucky's own personal Darth Vader -- former IU coach Bobby Knight
-- recently announce that he'll be penning a book, with help from Bloomington Herald-Times sports editor Bob Hammel, entitled The Power of Negative Thinking
. According to Knight, the book will focus upon the many ways in which negativity can be important in one's life. Being a resourceful journalist, I recently reached out to Knight's press folks to see if I could get a sample of what readers might expect in Knight's upcoming tome
, and surprisingly they were very forthcoming with some excerpts from the book. As a service to you, I publish those here. We'll just have to wait until the book comes out to see what else Knight has to ruminate upon, but for now enjoy this sneak peek, won't you?
From the chapter "Humble Beginnings":
"...My name is Robert Montgomery Knight. You may call me Bobby, but not to my face. I grew up in a small town in Ohio, as many of you likely did, spending time with friends and doing the things many young boys do: basketball, going to school, playing 'hit the cat,' throwing rocks at old people, burning Christmas wreaths and luring hobos off the nearby trains with promises of alcohol and fanciful cakes only to throw beehives at them behind the trainyards. It was a simpler time, then. A purer time. Before hippies, and back when no one believed what transients told the police."
From the chapter "Influencing Others"
"...I'll never forget a player I had in 1970 as a coach at Army. A young, fresh-faced player named Michael was going places. He seemed to be interested in coaching. One day, as I sat in my office cursing at the sun for being so bright, he stopped in for advice. 'Coach?' he said, 'I want to be just like you some day -- I want to coach college basketball.' I looked at him and gently rested my hand on his shoulder. 'Someday you will, Michael, because I believe in you.' I loved that kid like a son. I'm sure you can probably guess by now who that kid turned out to be. It was Mike Gogglesworth, who went on to serve fifteen years in a Pennsylvania prison for beating up several nuns. I've never been prouder."
From the chapter "Motivational Behavior"
"...It's always of tremendous importance to find the right motivation for the right player. For example, I once had a player at Indiana who was in a tremendous slump. The shots just weren't falling for him. This was back in 1977. Just before a game, I took him into the locker room before the game, sat him down, and looked him right in the eye. 'Glen,' I said to him, 'I'm not going to lie to you. I just got a call that your family has been kidnapped by the Khmer Rouge, and if you can't lay down more than twenty-two points against the Boilermakers tonight, you're never, ever going to see them again.' The kid cried and cried, but you know what? He went out that night and lit up the scoreboard with twenty-five points. He was so excited and asked me when they would be freed. Then, just for laughs, I told him that his family was still going to be kept in a Cambodian prison for the rest of their lives because we still lost."
From the chapter "Picturing Your Victories"
"...One crucial thing for success is to mentally envision the things you want to happen, and will them to be so. I learned an important lesson in February of 1985. Marty Simmons got slapped with a terrible foul call, just horrible. I got really upset, and Fred Jaspers issued a technical. I grabbed a nearby folding chair and threw it across the court at him. Now, what I wanted that chair to do was hit Jaspers in the face, then maybe bounce off Jasper's face and hit Steve Reid in the face, and then bounce over and hit all of the Purdue assistant coaches and stupid Gene Keady in the face. All of them, knocked down by that chair. But I was in the moment, I was raging, and I wasn't concentrating, so it just kind of skidded across the floor and stopped. I was lazy then. I didn't will it to be so. The next time I threw something, it was a rubber traffic cone in a construction zone that had stopped traffic and made me late for a dinner party. I hit, like, eight guys with that cone. Sure, you didn't see that
on the news."
From the chapter "On the Controversies"
"...I've been accused of slapping many players over the years, from the 'love tap' I gave to Joe B. Hall to several incidences with Indiana players. I don't see any problem with it, and stand by those gestures. To this day, I still keep my slapping hand strong by going out behind my house and slapping an old oak tree. Sometimes I'll slap that tree for hours, calling it names, telling it it's ugly, that its leaves are awful. And you know what? That tree just keeps getting bigger and bigger. That's just nature's proof that a firm hand yields results."
From the chapter "Good Health"
"...A lot of people ask me what the key is, you know, to living to be 71 years old. I always tell them the same thing. You gotta go out there, get you a nice baby, and eat it. See, if you eat a baby you absorb the strength of that baby. So you get even stronger. A lot of people will tell you that's the wrong thing to do, but don't listen to them. Look at me today. I'm a man with the strength of forty babies. I could probably punch your head right off your shoulders right now. Don't tempt me, or I swear I'll do it."