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OldGoldFreePress COLUMNISTS | BACK TO Guest_Columnist'S COLUMNS

PURDUE MENS BASKETBALL:
BoilerBrian's Guide to Grief Management


MrHoops.com Forum Hall of Fame


Date: 12/18/2004
Author: BoilerBrian
© Old Gold Free Press Columnists

    First of all let me say that I feel truly bad for IU fans. Like MDC and
    Robin and Samba, I feel like maybe Luke Recker’s transfer says something
    about the state of college basketball. There is so much money riding on
    whether or not a player is one of the 30 or so first round draft picks
    that it drives everything else. Coaches need NBA talent to win. But if
    that talent does win, they’re gone into the draft. And if that talent
    doesn’t win right away, they transfer out. That said, the parochial
    Purdue fan in me is having just a little to much fun with this, so here
    goes:

    -----

    With Bloomington’s mental health resources sorely overtaxed in the last
    24 hours and caring professionals like Dr. Kevorkian unavailable due to
    his continuing legal problems, we present this guide as a public service
    for our Cream and Crimson friends…

    The loss of a player to transfer or early entry in the NBA draft is a
    part of life in modern college basketball. If you happen to be an IU fan,
    it is a frequent part of life. The feelings of loss can be particularly
    acute when that player was especially beloved, for example a 6-6
    McDonald’s All-American whose lifelong dream was to play for your
    school.

    These feelings might cause rational human beings to question their
    loyalty to a school that lags badly behind its major in-state rival in
    all three major sports, or to question the infallibility of their
    tyrannical coach. Fortunately for you, you are not a rational human
    being. You are an IU fan. Therefore there is hope that with time you
    will overcome this loss in the same manner that you have overcome so
    many, many, many loses in the past. The loss will be easier to cope
    with if you are able to post within a community of like-minded lemmings.
    As you work your way through the grieving process, your posts may take
    on at least five distinct forms. Please remember that each of your
    fellow lemmings may work through the process at their own pace.

    1) Shock. Your first reaction should be one of stunned surprise. After
    all, what right-thinking American boy would not want to spend the four
    best years of his life being verbally assaulted on a daily basis by an
    aging tyrant in a red sweater. Every IU fan remembers where they were
    at the moment they first learned of Neil Reed’s transfer or Jason
    Collier’s transfer. You may find yourself tearing up your final four
    ticket order form in a fit of rage. At this stage "The sky is falling"
    and "Life as we know it is over" are appropriate subject lines for posts.
    If you have difficulty mastering this style of post, you might want to
    consult posts on the Purdue forum by ‘Boilere’ and ‘mkotyuk’ for
    excellent examples.

    2) Denial. At this stage, you should question whether the information
    is truly accurate. After all, most media outlets are aligned with one
    another in a vast anti-Knight conspiracy that is the central element of
    instruction in all accredited journalism schools. It is valid to question
    accuracy of rumor-mongering tabloids such as WOWO, The National Enquirer
    and The Weekly World News. It is equally valid to disbelieve similarly
    unreliable sources like The Indianapolis Star, The Associated Press, and
    ESPN. Neither are papal proclamations to be trusted since those ‘in the
    know’ are well aware of the pope’s long-standing jealousy of Bob Knight.
    In some cases, the denial phase can last for weeks, months or even years.
    One regular poster still begins his posts with the phrase: "Assuming the
    Larry Bird transfer rumors are accurate …"

    3) Guilt. At some point, it is natural to hold yourself responsible for
    the player’s decision to transfer. Since it could not possibly be Coach
    Knight’s fault, we must search for scapegoats and often that search begins
    at home. When problems arise on and off the court, too often these same
    players turn to the wisdom of anonymous internet posters rather than their
    mentor and pal, Coach Knight. You may find yourself thinking "If only my
    posts had been more obsequious and servile towards Coach Knight …", "If
    only I had been more scathing and profane in my personal attacks on Ron
    Decker …". You may even find yourself bargaining with thoughts like "If
    you come back Luke, I’ll never criticize your defense again."

    4) Anger. Some prefer to call this the ‘vilification’ stage. In the early
    portion of this phase, you will convince yourself that despite leading the
    team in nearly all statistical categories, the player was sorely lacking
    in the necessary physical skills. Too short to play center. Too slow to
    avoid Coach Knight’s kicks. By the later part of the vilification stage,
    you will find yourself questioning the transfer’s character and desire.
    Please remember that the attacks need not be confined to the player himself.
    The player’s parents, girlfriend, high school coach, friends, and spiritual
    advisors each played a malevolent role in the sudden fall from grace. Any
    slander, no matter how vile, is probably true if it serves to help you
    convince yourself that the player’s transfer was necessary to protect the
    legacy of Indiana basketball.

    5) Acceptance. In this final stage of the grief process, you will come to
    realize that this transfer, like all of the others, was a part of Robert
    Montgomery Knight’s forty year plan for the purification and revitalization
    of Indiana basketball. After all, the stud recruits Knight has coming in
    would have benched Recker next year anyway. Knight, who cares more about
    Recker than he does himself, must have secretly called his friend Steve
    Alford and asked if Steve could find a place for this poor lost McDonald’s
    AA in Iowa’s lesser program. Knight then encouraged Recker to transfer
    while he was out of town, so the timing would look like Recker’s own. Yet
    another saintly deed by the General that will go forever unthanked. With
    this kind of untapped talent hidden among the incoming freshman and
    redshirts, 99-00 looks to be a glorious season indeed. Now is the time to
    order those final four tickets.

    By the time you have reached the end of stage five, you will find your head
    firmly encased in a protective coating of sand once more. Life will go on.


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