I read John Feinstein's Season on the Brink right around the time that it came out. It followed Bobby Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers the season prior to the famous last-second shot by Keith Smart to win the 1987 NCAA basketball national title. To me, it was a terrific book. It was sports writing at its best.
I remember how Feinstein portrayed Knight in several different lights. He was tough on his players, making some of them cry. But, his loyalty to his players (past and present) when they needed Knight's help was very admirable.
Having played team sports myself (baseball, basketball and football) back in high school, I could identify with Knight's personality. I had some coaches who were extremely tough on me and I didn't understand why. In hindsight, I was a stupid little kid and I thought I knew everything and I struggled with authority ... big time.
I was very immature in those days and I also had a horrible temper that I couldn't control, particularly on the field or on the court. I always placed the blame on others and never pointed the finger at myself. These coaches who were tough on me had my best interests in mind and tried to steer me down the right path. At that time, I was too blind to see it. But, eventually, I matured and I learned how to control my temper.
My point is that I have a lot more respect for those coaches who were tough on me because they obviously saw things in me that I failed to recognize in myself. These coaches made me a better person and taught me things about life that you can only experience when you play team sports ... things that I have carried into my adult life and have applied to my job here at CBSSports.com.
I applaud Bobby Knight, who undoubtedly had that type of impact on a large majority of the young men who have played under him all these years. There are and have always been a lot of shady characters in college basketball, but Bobby Knight isn't one of them. He's a geniune person who so happens to wear his emotions on his sleave.
Congratulations on a great career!