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schencka
Coach K and the nature of winning
Tags: basketball

Few things annoy me as much as the fanfare and "sportsmanship" that representations of Duke men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski attribute to the man. I remember one American Express ad that relied totally on his reputation.



Here, you'll find one of his players bash an opposing player in the face, only last night. This reminds me of when Christian Laettner stomped an opposing player in the 1992 title game versus Kentucky. Laettner should not have been in the game on account of this gross infraction; instead he became a hero when his fallaway 17-footer found the basket as the buzzer sounded.

Look at Coach K's reaction to what his player did in the video clip. His mind moves, strategizing not about anyone's wellbeing, but on how to win this game, or position his team on how to win the next one, or how to use this to motivate his players.

What I see are the shallow motivations of a coach. In essence, a coach is to winning as a whoremonger is to lasciviousness. There is nothing worse than a person driven solely by the next fix, be it winning, fucking, or drugging. However, this does not compel all coaches. The operative example that comes to me is the difference between my high school football coach (very successful) and my high school basketball coach (also very successful). The first was philosophical and friendly; the second lacking intellectual depth and lacking in affability. Guess which one was more addicted to winning. The latter. Yet the first was more successful, and it's hard to imagine him having an enemy. The latter seemed to be a man with sworn enemies.

Coach K, your success does not make you great; it may, in fact, make you a small man.
 
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