At a certain time in my career there was a job high on my priority list that seemed like a perfect fit…to me. In my mind I was the “heir apparent”, the person who was supposed to get the job, the next in line. When that didn’t happen I respectfully approached a member of the selection team to ask what could possibly have led them to select another candidate. The answer was simple and to the point, “Kent, you just lack the experience you need. Your confidence in thinking this should be your job just shows “you don’t know what you don’t know” That was it! To be honest, to this day, I don’t think that was a reasonable explanation, but as we learn in life, “it is what it is”.
But, let’s be honest, there have been, there are, and there may yet be times when we fail or when we miss the mark in life and a reasonable explanation is, “well, we didn’t know what we didn’t know” and had we known, we surely wouldn’t have engaged in this venture. Most certainly we have all witnessed this in life at some kind of a personal level be it in a job, marriage, family relationship, business partnership, etc.
The 1983-84 Greensburg Ranger team exemplifies this topic to me personally. We finished the season at 11-9, a substantial improvement as compared to several years prior, but I often think about the players we had and what could have been. Don’t misread the expressed optimism and assume we could or should have won the state championship. We could have been better. How do I make such an assertion? Didn’t I bring my best effort every day? Certainly! Didn’t the players “bring it” every day? Absolutely! I just didn’t know what I didn’t know!
A fine senior point guard, Dwann Seacat was pounding the ball up court in a scrimmage early in the ’84 season when he effortlessly performed a seamless cross over through the legs. I quickly blew the whistle and enlisted a diatribe of how such a move was neither necessary nor prescribed at any time. Such moves were left for the “hotdogs” of the basketball world the likes of which we would not tolerate. Keep in mind, this was not just Coach Wire’s philosophy, but common coaching practice at that time. Many coaches utilized such skills to teach ball handling then forbade the use in games thereafter.
During that same scrimmage (may not have been the same day or same scrimmage but makes for a better, story) Rocky Morehead was in the corner and as his eyes ‘looked’ to throw the ball back out to the wing, he instead fired a no-look behind the back pass to one of the Kurts/Curts in the low post, hitting him sharply and squarely between the eyes (particular Kurt Neelly or Curt Skaggs withheld because he should have caught it). Whistle! Repeat of previously described rant about how such a move was neither necessary nor prescribed at any time. Such moves were left for the “hotdogs” of the basketball world the likes of which we would not tolerate.
Ridiculous, right? Sometimes traditional and/or conventional thinking just doesn’t make sense. A good example of this concept exists in this basketball joke/trivia question: Who was the only person to hold Michael Jordan under 30 points per game? Answer: His coach, Dean Smith. Now, Dean Smith is a Hall of Fame coach, one of the best in history, but his conventional, traditional style of coaching limited Michael Jordan to 17 points per game for his career. Throughout his entire career as a pro, he averaged over 30 points per game (however, please note: Dean Smith and Michael Jordan went to two national title games together). So, my excuse? I just didn’t know what I didn’t know! Now every outstanding player crosses over through the legs and at times throws behind the back passes, and are not considered “hotdogs.” Just a few years later when I was coaching in Arkansas City every player was utilizing the ball skills they learned at camp and on the playground
Sorry Dwann! Sorry Rocky! Catch the ball Kurt or Curt!
(The purpose of this blog is to share in some great fun and memories with former players and at times to share a lesson learned be it scriptural or otherwise. If you’re following the blog, feel free to comment via Facebook or on the blog page. I hope the blog about other teams is of interest to all readers, but my goal will be to write a story about Greensburg, Ark City, Fort Scott, and an occasional story about Chanute (I was only an assistant) and Midway (only there 1 year).