The next few minutes of your life are going to be uncomfortable.
Especially if you are a fan of amateur athletes getting a salary, AAU basketball, the NBA and government handouts.
“Every player that’s played through the program, okay, we don’t do a rent-a-player,” Bo Ryan now imfamously said following his Wisconsin Badgers’ lost to the Duke Blue Devils in the NCAA Championship game on Monday. “You know what I mean? Try to take a fifth-year guy. That’s okay. If other people do that, that’s okay.
“I like trying to build from within. It’s just the way I am. And to see these guys grow over the years and to be here last year and lose a tough game, boom, they came back. They said what they wanted to do, they put themselves into that position, and they won’t forget this for a long time. I told them that’s life. Wait till you get a job. Wait till you start the next 60 or 70 years of your life. It’s not always going to work out the way you would like it to. But you measure a person by what it takes to discourage them.”
(standing applause with some Amens)
OK, so let’s get beyond the freshman year journalism student response of ‘Ryan was a sore loser’. Or the hack blogger who thinks they know everything because they have a few connections, can sound off on something named after a seat and said something along the lines of Ryan probably ruined his reputation in the game with those comments.
America is a free country and this guy will honor your opinion — even if it’s wrong — simply because it is YOUR opinion and our great nation is founded on the principal of free thoughts and discussion.
And that’s exactly why you need to take a step back and understand the simplistic truth Ryan stated in his words.
First of all, here is a little history lesson.
Ryan comes from a time where the world was not free. The game of basketball was a hobby and a passion. If you or your family survived a war, and you were talented enough, you got a chance to get a free education. If you truly blessed, you got a chance to make a living at the sport you loved.
There was no club teams. There was not agents slithering out from the dumpsters at middle school games. There was not a random $10K that was placed in your uncle’s hand on a bridge at the county line.
There was one thing that drove you to better yourself each and every day. It was the pride for God, country, your family and your team.
The game of basketball was in its purest form. You, your teammates, your pride for your school and four years to see how great you could be.
And that is something Ryan has been doing since 1960 when he played middle school basketball.
There is probably a handful of you out there who still do not get this.
Yes, Mike Krzyzewski is thrilled for Jahlil Okafor and all that his team accomplished in 2014-15. Coach John Calipari has had some great moments with his teams that had single year players.
But if you ask either one of those guys about a moment they will cherish, there is no doubt they will go to a time or a place where they got to coach a group of guys for three or more years.
Who you think Coach K respects a little more? Johnny Dawkins, Bobby Hurley or Alaa Abdelnaby? Or Jabari Parker, Corey Maggette or Kyrie Irving?
And you are kidding yourself if you think Calipari isn’t going to go on and on for hours about Derek Kellogg or Lou Roe? He might not even mention Anthony Davis or his unibrow.
Because the fruits of quick success will never truly satisfy. When you plow the field, plant the seeds, water the crop, pull the weeds each day and watch it mature, that is the fruit that will sustain you. The harvest that you want to reproduce year after year.
That is what Ryan so eloquently stated from a place of raw emotion in his heart.
He was just a coach who watched boys grow into men. A team develop over a few years to get a shot at infamy. And he wanted it so bad for them he reacted just as any father would.
Thank you, Coach Ryan. Thank you for showing the younger generation what hard work and dedication looks like.
Photo credit to Fox Sports