My father…and respect!
Posted: December 2nd, 2010
Let me first start this with, today I am 39 years old and have 2 children of my own.
Back in the early 80’s, I was living pretty close to Charlottesville, VA. My father wanted to take me to a Duke basketball game against Virginia at what was U-hall at the time.
My father is a graduate of Duke, class of 1959, and Duke basketball is IN our blood, and this was my very first time being able to see Duke live.
What a GREAT time it was, although Duke lost, it didn’t matter.
Watching these players and coaches on TV, they were like movie stars to me. There was no one bigger than Coach K on television no matter what the time slot!!! LOL
Of course being a child at the time (maybe 7 or 8) I wanted to go down after the game and get the players and coaches autographs. On the way down there weren’t many people around waiting, being the game was in Charlottesville, and I don’t believe anyone was quite on the Coach K band wagon yet.
We ran into Coach K coming out of the locker room and of course I got him to sign something for me and I said “Coach K, this is my father who graduated from Duke”. And to make the story right, my father is a very passive man, never wanting to cause a stir or a problem or bring attention to himself (greatest man to ever walk this earth). They began to talk breifly, as I stood there wide eyed, like I had just seen a ghost, the man I looked up to more than any one in this world, my father, and THE COACH, Coach K, the fearless leader of my GREAT Duke Blue Devils sitting there talking like they were friends, when a reporter interupted very loudly and kind of jumped in between my father and Coach K in order to get Coach K’s attention to answer some questions. I looked up at my father and he looked at me, and I thought WOW that was a once in a lifetime conversation, My Dad and Coach K talking like they knew each other. In that split second where my father and I thought the conversation was over, I saw this hand stretch out and say “excuse me sir, I apologize for the interuption, I explained to the reporter that I would be glad to answer any of his questions just as soon as I am done with the conversation with you guys”. I was floored!!! I couldnt believe that Coach K had taken the time to make the reporter wait, so he could make sure he was not rude and finish his conversation with my father!!!
I understand that this is not some ground breaking story, and that Coach K has done some amazing things during his tenure. The obvious on the basketball court and the not so obvious and mostly unseen time and money he gives back to so many things and places. But as a 39 year old man, I have told this story to so many people I have lost count, but what a HUGE impression Coach K made on a little kid and his father.
These are the little things that people talk about, when they say, “when you think no-one else is looking, there is always someone watching how you handle a situation”
Coach K is a leader on and off the basketball court, and these stories are probably a dime a dozen, but personally this story, yet small, holds a big spot in my heart. Coach K (the greatest coach of all-time) held MY father to a high regard and treated him with true respect!!!!
I salute the man that Coach K is!!!