Monday, May 2, 2016

A Big Disappointment with one of my heroes

Bobby Knight is not exactly my biggest hero, but I have a quotation of his prominently on my wall that I find inspirational.  For those of you who are not basketball fans, Bobby has a remarkable record that stands well in the entire field of sports.

He has coached 902 winning games in the NCAA Division 1 Basketball.  When he retired that was the record, but it has since been passed by Mike Krzyzewski, one of his former players and assistant coaches.  Knight won 3 national NCAA championships at Indiana University and also coached the U.S. men's basketball team to an Olympic gold medal in 1984.  Along the way he infuriated a number of people by his rough tactics including throwing a chair on the court during a game and being verbally abusive to players and reporters.

I don't condone all of his methods, but I greatly admire him for a particular quote which I try to keep in mind, especially when things aren't going so well.  "The will to win is not nearly as important as the will to prepare to win."  We all admire talented people who can turn it on when it really counts, but the rest of us might not be as talented.  Of course some talented people actually worked hard to be considered talented.  Coach Bobby Knight was noted for thorough preparation.

What I got out of the quote was that although you might not be able to summon up the strength to do something that can make a difference right now, you can always do something to improve your situation for the next opportunity.  It is so easy to despair when things are rough, but better to analyze the situation and your resources and then carefully plan to do better.  Preparation for the opportunity is always a good idea and there is always something that can be done.  When you are not successful at some goal you can usually look back and appreciate you didn't do enough preparation.

My disappointment was seeing on television Bobby Knight, who is very well respected in Indiana endorse Donald Trump.  I heard a brief piece on NPR this morning commenting on how many sports leaders had also done so.  They all had a few traits in common--an anger at reporters and a strong authoritative behaviour.  Bobby Knight fits that pattern and so does Donald Trump.

I admit that society needs those people to get some things done, but they are not always the best source of advice.  Donald Trump is a noted admirer of Vladimir Putin and one can see similarities, but one hopes neither has control over our government.

Donald Trump cannot be blamed for wanting to be president, but in my opinion he would be a disaster.  He is smarter than he portrays himself, but he is deliberately appealing to baser instincts.  It was once said that to every complex problem there is a simple solution that is wrong.  Trump is preying on people's unhappiness by offering simple solutions that would make the situation worse.

Building a wall will create negative results on both sides of the border.  Banning Muslims will be used  to inflame extreme actions for both Muslims and non Muslims.  His attitude towards torture  is machoistic and counter productive.  Insulting women will aggravate inequality to hurt us all.  Platitudes can be misleading whereas explanations can be evaluated.  He once expressed gratitude to all the poorly educated people who voted for him.  That should be taken as a challenge to improve the education system.  My views on torture:

I can still admire Bobby Knight for some of his insights, but my image of him is tarnished.  Donald Trump is a very scary phenomenon who I wish I didn't feel compelled to write about.  He thrives on attacks.

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