I’ve told this story before but the occasion of Steve Spurrier’s “retirement / resignation” begs its retelling.
I’m not good with dates and don’t want to bother googling it…. “That Year” that Roy’s Boys got walloped in San Antonio by Kansas – maybe it was 2008. Hansbrough (or Hansborough for you “Matt Daugherty” illiterates) junior year. Otherwise known as “Roy & The Jayhawk Sticker”. It was BMT a/k/a Before Marvin Tweeted.
We were at Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach for Hootie & The Blowfish’s Annual Monday After The Masters Celebrity Golf Event. It was one week after Roy “wore the sticker” on TV and everyone inside the Franklin Street Bubble was still in a mega-tizzy about it. The rest of the pseudo-civilized sports world was laughing at the TruBlues for their manic-tizzification.
Steve Spurrier and I were on the 13th tee…. a Par 3 as I recall. Celebrity Golf Events are like filming a movie ….. 45 minutes of “just standing around” for every five minutes of doing anything. It promotes conversational interaction, so I sez to Steve…..
Coach, what did you think about Roy Williams wearing that Jayhawk sticker at The Final Four? ….. and he said:
“You know, my wife and I were watching that on TV. When I saw Ol’ Roy with that sticker I told her…. “Honey, I do enjoy pissing off our opponents’ fans, and do so whenever I can; but DAMN you don’t want to piss off your own fans. I bet Roy’s gets hisself in trouble for that.” (Paraphrasing Lewis Grizzard) – “I don’t believe I’da done that.”
If I needed to embellish this encounter I would add that Spurrier then mighta said …..
“Speaking of pissed-off folks in Chapel Hill; I bet they still talk about that 41-0 Scoreboard Picture we took back in 1989.” To which I would have replied…. “only on days that end in “y”.
NOTE: The 1989 Picture notwithstanding…. when “Burly John” Bunting was being burned at the stake, the UNC Lunatic Fringe was all aflutter that Steve Spurrier was being offered his pick of lots at Governors Club to bring his act “amid the pines”. Gotta luv those loonies!
That comment by The Head Ball Coach / Visor Boy confirmed what I had always expected about him. He totally “gets” that he is a high-profile performer in the entertainment bizness. Anything he says / does is going to attract attention positive or otherwise…. and he is a Master at orchestrating that publicity to benefit his objectives.
“Most” high profile coaches begrudgingly accept their “celebrity” and the glaring spotlight they can never escape. Steve Spurrier learned early on to embrace that reality and use it to his benefit. It helped that he was/is “quick w/ wit and tongue” and “writes his own material”. Actually I believe he is quick-witted enough that he doesn’t need to “write it”. He can extemporize with the best of’em even in the emotion-filled crucible of a post-game interview. He sees a “live mic” as his friend not as a pit viper poised to strike him in the jugular.
With due respect to Peahead Walker, Abe Lemon, et al….. Steve Spurrier might be in the rarified pantheon with Al McGuire as Sports’ All-Time Glibbiest.
He is not a raconteur with a homespun anecdote for every situation. Steve Spurrier’s mind works in “sound bites” and above-the-fold headline “zingers” quotes. And, yes…. in opposing locker room bulletin board fodder.
One could argue that Roy also speaks in “sound bites”. The difference being Roy doesn’t realize he “did” until the next day when his handlers are up-to-their-armpits in damage control. Spurrier has never had or needed “handlers”.
Steve Spurrier also understood that by making himself the focus of opposing fan bases’ pure unadulterated hatred, he diverted that hatred from his team.
Coach K, Nick Saban, Belichek accomplish the same objective but one senses that Spurrier actually relishes that role while the others simply accept it as “comes with the territory”. Calipari, I think, would like to be more Spurrier-esque but lacks the innate “glibness” to pull it off.
The late, and sainted, Jimmy V certainly had the glib quippiness to more than equal Spurrier and enjoyed the spotlight like few ever have…. even pre-cancer. “V” was more the consummate entertainer. Open the refrigerator, the light goes on – he does an eight-minute routine. …… while Spurrier learned early that enraging one’s opponents’ fans, done artfully, was part of his overall coaching strategy.
TruBlues’ permanent constipation over “That 1989 Scoreboard Picture” says more about their very fragile sense of self-importance than it did about Steve Spurrier’s departing poke-in-the-eye to them as he left Duke for Florida and his Destiny.
I wish I had had more time to chat with Coach Spurrier that day in Myrtle Beach. We share a mutual appreciation for the simple pleasure of gigging board monkeys. Those goggle-eyed lost souls equating the outcome of a game to a D-Day Invasion or even greater importance. When the outcome of a game, in which you have absolutely zero influence, is “all you got”, you ain’t got much going for you.
Once he identified his “foil” be it UNC or Florida State or Clemson or assorted SEC rival de jour’s fans, Steve Spurrier knew he could rattle their cage and stir’em up when ever it suited his purpose. ….. and he did …. a lot.
I kinda wish he had ridden off into the sunset on a more positive note…. but maybe this circumstance is Karma biting The HBC in the butt….. for taking that picture in Kenan Stadium 26 years ago.
Speaking of “off into the sunset”.… those beautiful “Birds On The Bat” uniforms are being packed away ‘til Spring when the 162-game marathon will begin anew. CardinalNation must, alas, settle for “only 101″ Ws this season. PHOOEY!
Victims of a two-day barrage of homers that MLB hasn’t witnessed since Josh Hamilton’s Home Run Derby performance in Yankee Stadium, the Men of Matheny were no match for Destiny’s Darling in The Friendly Confines.
The exhaust fumes that the Cards had been running on the past six weeks finally ran out. Too many innings pitched…. too many injuries. But – THAT’S BASEBALL!
I suppose I could “blame it” on John Swofford or Jim Knight / Ron Cherry or Steve Bartman or “a billy goat” but that’s not my style. The “better team” won in this short series.
Winners tell jokes…. and Losers say deal. “Deal”.
I’ve never been into the whole “Chicago Thing”. I’ve not had occasions to spend any extended time there. OK, there was a rather harrowing experience at O’Hare on the morning of September 11, 2001. As with San Francisco, which I also “know” only peripherally, I don’t have a feel positive or otherwise for the city and its people. Ergo, it didn’t bother me to see their euphoria as Piscotty grounded out in the 9th.
If “God loves Beavers too” as He apparently did when Oregon State beat The Moochies in Omaha, then maybe He smiled upon Wrigley’s Faithful this time around.
It’s also not my style to “cuss my team for letting me down”. I’m pretty sure the outcome of the NLDS and the season is of significantly greater importance to The Cardinals’ players and organization than it is to me. Now, Blondie and her St Louis-based family might disagree on that “importance”.
As the Cubs 2-day HR barrage took on the intensity of Hitler’s V-2 Blitz of London, it got a bit “testy” within a certain Cardinal fan group to which I am related. Avoiding rooftops and sharp-pointed scissors has been recommended for a few days.
“Kid” who lives several miles from Busch Stadium is not at all disconsolate. “Game day traffic” disrupts her daily schedule. She is careful with whom she shares that opinion. ☺
I ordered a Cardinal windbreaker last week which oughta arrive today or tomorrow. I shall wear it proudly on my daily treks.
Not sure who I will “pull for” as the Playoffs advance. I have attachments to both the Royals and Rangers so maybe one of them. Or I’ll simply watch…. and count the number of Viagra ads.