As Jayhawk fan extraordinaire Brett Mosiman eloquently stated last week that many, if not most, KU basketball fans have moved beyond their bitter hatred since being cruely jilted by North Carolina coach Roy Williams nine years ago…
I’ve got a slightly different outlook on the subject.
When someone lies to, pledges eternal devotion and then summarily dumps their significant other it can get ugly. Starting with the five stages of grief, which I unfortunately experienced first hand the hard way three years ago courtesy of my ex.
You know, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
I messed up in 2008 – my mom died in July, my dog in August, my job in November and my marriage in December. Not exactly the kind of roll many people would relish going thru, especially in such short order. And that doesn’t EVEN count the ridiculously dumb dating and romantic misadventures that ensued.
But life goes on right?
Three years later, my ex’s polished off four out of five but she’s hanging on to anger for good measure.
Make no mistake it was a difficult time.
But let’s get back to Roy Boy and the tens of thousands of KU fans who hated his guys.
The all-knowing sports media types love to pretend that they and they’re all knowing and KU fans are over hating Roy Williams. But I’m going to offer up an other point of view, then you guys can rip me for not having a clue.
So hang with me here…
Your wife, girlfriend, husband or boyfriend drop you for somebody else like a bag of boiling hot peanuts.
That after vowing eternal, undying love. You hate their guts, right?
No way parting is anything approaching sweet effing, dad gum sorrow.
So it was in the case of Roy Willimas – for years KU fan hatred towards him was palpable.
As it generally is with the spouse on the losing end of the romantic stick.
Until maybe the dude or woman who stole your significant other loses their life savings and/or job or gets crotch cancer or whatever. That kinda closure can ease the pain and suffering.
Making it far easier to move on and not look back.
But if the low down, no good departing scumbag lives happily ever while you go to heck in a handbasket, screw ’em. Chances are you’ll carry that grude for a while.
In the case of Roy Williams and his replacement Bill Self, KU’s beating Roy and winning a National Championship in 2008 went a long way towards taking out the sting of Roy bailing. As did beating Williams and North Carolina yesterday and heading to the Final Four.
But why pretend, no way KU fans didn’t relish laying the pipe to Roy and North Carolina.
And we don’t need media suck ups to tell us differently.
Clearly Roy wants to be remembered as a totally cool guy – not half hero and half you-know what hole.
I can tell you this because I’ve experienced and talked to others who’ve seen the flip side of Williams personality that most fans will probably never see. Because with rare exception sports fans only see what they wanna see – the winsa versus the losses and the carefully meted out aw shucks comments.
There’s a reason why they seldom see that other side..
Two, actually. First because beat writers NEVER want to piss off their sources – especially popular ones like Roy Williams. Because it handicaps their ability to get much needed quotes and behind-the-scenes scoops from the pissed off party. And that affects their job ratings and thus their paychecks.
Secondly, most sportswriters and broadcasters are groupies at heart.
Don’t think for one minute they don’t relish having cozy relationships with rock star like players and coaches. And to cement those relationships they try their darndest not to hound or piss those people off.
There are exceptions but…
I can tell you that behind the scenes Roy Williams has an explosive temper and he won’t hesitate to unleash it if one goes so far as to ask him a tough question he doesn’t want to answer. And since reporters seldom do – Williams has become spoiled over the years and has little tolerance of those who do.
Want an example?
In the early years after KU athletic director Al Bohl had come to KU I was up in the newly redone football press box and high dollar donor suites area at Memorial Stadium during a football game.
Williams had a nice schmooze suite to recruit basketball players and when I politely ducked in to say hello, he was very cordial. After a bit of small talk, I asked the question I really wanted the anwer to; was the talk about KU wanting to tear down Allen Field House and replace it with a state of the art venue that could hold thousands more fans and bring in beacoup bucks something he was in agreement to.
At that point it appeared like to be on a fast track to becoming a reality.
In the blink of an eye Williams face grew red and he snapped out a very angry answer to the effect that it would be over his dead body before that happened. That ended our cheery talk.
William knew I was a reporter with The Kansas City Star and that he’d lost his temper and there was a good chance he’s his angry answer dissing KU management. So he trioed to nip it in the bud.
Uncomfotable as it had suddenly become, I thanked Williams and exited his suite.
That was on a Saturday,
In Monday’s mail a letter to my editor at the Star arrived saying I had no business being in the press box and KU greatly resented that I’d come there and invaded Williams space.
Bear in mind I’d shown my Star credentials and been invited in. I’d also touched base immediately with KU’s sports media main man and had been given a warm welcome.
However Williams had reported me to his PR protector and made sure my editor knew I’d tresspassed. She was in the early morning news meeting of editors and I was instructed she wanted to see mean immediately aftre the meeting adjourned.
Naturally I gulped, knowing as most Star reporters do that you’re was pretty much guilty until proven innocent when a local big shot complains you did something wrong.
However the mail arrived when I waited on Death Row for my dressing down and lo and behold in it was a personal note from KU AD Al Bohl thanking me for coming up the the press box and basically saying I was welcome any time.
Uh, saved by the Bohl!
In other words, Williams tried to get me in trouble at the Star but had narrowly missed.
When the editorial meeting at the Star was done, I handed my editor my get out of jail free card, she smiled a smile of relief and the matter was resolved without Williams having laid a glove on me.
As for what Williams told me that fateful Saturday about tearing Allen Field House was, it would be over his cold, dead body.
That’s the Williams I and others got a glimpse of. A short tempered control freak who liked to play the, "Well, I’ll be dad gummed" card with the public as long as the media played along – which they largely did.
So hey, don’t mind me – go ahead and forgive the due – even you "wine and cheese’ ticketholders.