Tag Archives: The Princess Bride

An all-time great weekend of NCAA Tournament hoops ends with four thrillers, and my Dukies coming up short. I have some thoughts. And “The Princess Bride” as a musical? I’m thrilled and terrified

Wow. What an incredible, amazing, heart-stopping weekend for the sport of college basketball that I love so dearly.

If you hate sports, or college basketball, you have my permission to stop reading now and skip to “The Princess Bride” photo below.

Because I have A LOT to say about the most incredible Elite 8 weekend I’ve ever seen, and I say that even though I’m super-depressed typing this, since Duke lost in a nail-biter for the second straight year in this round, coming agonizingly close to the Final Four then falling short.

— OK, first of all, I can’t remember an Elite 8 weekend that saw all four games be awesome and come down to the wire. Texas Tech, who I saw live at MSG against Duke in December and was super-impressed by, just played unbelievable defense against Gonzaga and scored just enough to pull out a win. Jarrett Culver and Co. were so tenacious, and played so well, that I think they might just win the whole thing.

— The next Elite 8 matchup, man, we’ll be talking about that one for years. Purdue and Virginia, both desperate to make the Final 4 for the first time since the 1980s, played a spectacular game. In the second half I was screaming with glee at my TV many times, as Purdue star Carsen Edwards and Virginia’s Kyle Guy went shot for shot, draining ridiculous 3-pointer after ridiculous 3-pointer.

It was thrilling, it was exhausting, and it was capped by a sensational play by Virginia’s Kihei Clark, who tossed a magnificent pass to his teammate Mamadi Diakite in the final second for a game-tying basket.  Check this out, what a pass.

Such a cliche when you see a spectacular game end and say “It’s a shame someone had to lose.” But in Purdue-Virginia, it really was. It helps that these are two clean programs with no scandals attached to them, and there was great sportsmanship shown throughout the game. Carsen Edwards, I salute you. Just an amazing performance.

— On to the Sunday games, where the “Cheater’s Bowl” matchup of Auburn (coached by notorious cheater Bruce Pearl) took on John Calipari and Kentucky. As you know if you read this space, I loathe Kentucky and was thrilled to see them go down. Auburn’s guards, Harper and Brown, were sensational, and I was surprised at how little resistance the Wildcats gave in overtime, P.J. Washington excluded. Sometimes, freshmen play like freshmen. Tremendous accomplishment for Auburn, and I believe alum Charles Barkley may have wept on the CBS air after the win.

— And now, time for my therapy. All year, despite the incredible talent of Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett, I knew Duke was a little bit fragile, and not quite as good as it should be. They couldn’t hit 3’s, they couldn’t make free throws, and as always, Mike Krzyzewski never developed his bench guys so the starters were often exhausted at the end of games.

And all three of those problems showed up Sunday. Look, Michigan State is a fantastic team, led by an all-time great coach in Tom Izzo, and the better squad won Sunday. I’m happy for Izzo because he’s a good dude and has been trying for a long long time to finally beat Duke in a big game.

But man, the Blue Devils shot themselves in the foot so many times Sunday. From R.J. missing that free throw at the end, to no reliable outside shooter to take the pressure off Zion inside, to once again Duke’s players looking totally wiped out at the end because K refused to play his bench, there was so much self-inflicted damage here.

Part of me (the rational part of my brain) realizes it’s ridiculous to ever complain when a Duke season ends, this team has given me so much joy and titles over my past 33 years as a fan, that anything they win now is just greedy.

But the other part of me, the irrational sports fan side, still takes these losses hard, because every Duke team is good enough to win a championship, and the margins are so thin, and two years in a row to come thisclose and come up short… ugh. I know I’m spoiled. But man, just once I’d like to see K use his bench more, and have Duke have gotten the ball to Zion more down in the final minute… Ah, to hell with it. Congrats to Michigan State. Go Sparty.

— Finally, sportswriter Jon Rothstein echoed my exact sentiments a few minutes after the Duke-Michigan State game ended, when he Tweeted this:
“Dear Zion Williamson, Thanks for being the best player college basketball has seen in an awfully long time. It was one hell of a ride. Best of luck in future endeavors. Sincerely, America.”

It was a privilege watching that young man, on and off the court. What an incredible talent. Please, basketball Gods, don’t put Zion on the Knicks. He doesn’t deserve that miserable fate.

**Finally today, now for something completely different. More than 30 years after it was released in movie theaters, when I first discovered it and laughed my ever-loving tuchus off watching it, “The Princess Bride” may be about to get another life… as a musical.

Yes, that’s right, the movie that I love as much as any other, ever, the movie that gave us Princess Buttercup and “As you Wish” and ROUS’es and “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die,” is now set to be a musical.

According to this story on People.com, writers have been hired to turn the classic movie into a musical, and I’m honestly not sure how I feel about it.

On the one hand, it sounds like blasphemy. “The Princess Bride” is so many things: funny, smart, emotional, wise, tender, and just an incredible piece of art. But what it’s not? A film with singing. I mean, I guess you could make a musical number out of Fezzik’s rhymes on the boat (“Are there rocks ahead? If there are, we’ll all be dead.”), and maybe the adventures in the Fire Swamp could be entertaining through song. But I’m terrified it would be terrible.

But on the other hand… maybe they’ll honor the movie and the songs will be terrific and the acting is great (is there a 500-pound Broadway star who can -recreate Andre the Giant’s Fezzik?) and it’ll be wonderful.

I dunno. I have a feeling I’ll be buying tickets to see it. Unless I’m in a land war in Asia at the time…

The heartbreaking story of a local burger joint that got famous, then had to close. Remembering the late William Goldman, an amazing writer. And the N.Y. Tims with a fantastic video showing how Khashoggi’s murder was planned out

Admit it: There are times in your life when you’ve eaten at a restaurant because you were told, or heard on the radio, or read somewhere, that it had the “best” something in the state. Or America. Or the world.

You’ve done it, I’ve done it, everyone has. Quite a few times in my life, in fact, as I’ve lived around the country as a journalist, I’ve eaten “the best pizza in Florida” or “the best barbecue in North Carolina” and sometimes, yes, it’s been great, and other times, I was like “Meh. What’s all the fuss about.”

But what I never ever considered was what effect a restaurant being named the “best of” something had on it, financially and emotionally.

The best writing makes you think of things in a way you never had before, and I must tip my hat to e-migo and friend of the blog Luke for pointing me to this devastatingly awesome story by Kevin Alexander, who a year ago in an article for Thrillist.com anointed a small Portland hamburger restaurant named Stanich’s as having the best hamburger in America.

You would think that would be a hugely exciting development for Stanich’s, a locally famous, family-owned joint outside of town. But this one small article and honor ended up destroying the restaurant, and the man who runs it now, Steve Stanich.

Really in-depth story by Alexander here, talking to critics who must weigh the desire to highlight terrific food to others, and the fear that the publicity may be ruinous.

Read this story, it’s really gripping. And then go eat somewhere great no one’s heard of, and keep it that way.

**Next up today, it’s now become very clear that the man behind the killing of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi was the Crown Prince himself, Mohammad bin Salman. The New York Times has done a pretty fantastic video presentation here showing exactly how the murder was planned, carried out, and who is to blame.

This is really, really great stuff.

**And finally today, a few words about William Goldman, whose death we learned about on Friday. A fantastic author, Goldman wrote the screenplays for some of the greatest movies of all time, including “All the President’s Men,” and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”

Oh, and a little book called “The Princess Bride,” which was turned into one of the greatest, funniest and warmest movies ever.

Goldman was a storyteller, and could tug at heartstrings like few others. And if you don’t think after hearing he died that I went down a YouTube rabbit hole watching “The Princess Bride” clips, well then you don’t know me too well.

Here’s a great tribute to Goldman by his friend Mike Lupica, and of course, above, one of many, many incredible scenes from “The Princess Bride.”

Trump takes yet another step to destroy the environment, and our children’s future. A “Wheel of Fortune” contestantant with a new twist on a famous play. And a man tries to impress a girl by fighting a crocodile

I’m trying. I’m really, really trying not to write about Donald Trump’s slow destruction of America all the time on this blog.

I don’t want to write it over and over again, you don’t want to read it over and over again, we know it’s happening, there’s little we can do to stop it. It’s depressing as hell, I’m still mad at Hillary Clinton for losing to this fraud, and I just don’t want to think about Trump all the time.

But sometimes, I have to write about what this orange grifter is doing. Because I just get so angry, so infuriated, that I have to write about it.

Take today. On Tuesday this small, pathetic man, beholden to no one more than his own massive ego, decided once more to use an Executive Order (which the GOP used to hate, remember?) to put one more dagger in the coffin of future Americans, and their ability to, you know, breathe.

From The Washington Post’s story, and then I’ll have some thoughts:

“President Trump on Tuesday took the most significant step yet in obliterating his predecessor’s environmental record, instructing federal regulators to rewrite key rules curbing U.S. carbon emissions.

The sweeping executive order — which the president signed with great fanfare in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Map Room — also seeks to lift a moratorium on federal coal leasing and remove the requirement that federal officials consider the impact of climate change when making decisions.

The order sends an unmistakable signal that just as President Barack Obama sought to weave climate considerations into every aspect of the federal government, Trump is hoping to rip that approach out by its roots. The president did not utter the words “climate change” once, instead emphasizing that the move would spur job creation in the fossil fuel industry.”

“Our administration is putting an end to the war on coal,” Trump said, accompanied onstage by more than a dozen coal miners…

OK, OK, OK. First, how many bleepin’ times in his Presidency is Trump going to go on and on about his love for coal miners? And how important it is that we save them? There are, what, a few hundred thousand coal miners left in America? (According to this 2016 USA Today story, there were 56,000 active coal jobs in the U.S., this 2015 story from SourceWatch says there are approximately 174,000 blue-collar, full-time, permanent jobs related to coal in the U.S.).

Really, that’s the industry that we “must save,” instead of the millions of jobs that are being created in environmental fields like wind and solar energy, jobs and careers that are forward-thinking? The President and his advisors want to turn America back to 1952 in more ways than one, but “restoring coal industry” is just so stupid and pointless, because that industry is not coming back/

Second, the language I italicized above, about federal officials no longer needing to consider the effect of climate change when making decisions, is just insane. There is NO legitimate scientific debate that climate change is real, and yet our President says “Nah, don’t worry about climate change, do whatever you want to the land.”

And third, Tuesday set me over the edge but this is just one of many, many anti-environment, anti-progress measures the orange grifter has enacted in just two months. From throwing away fuel-efficiency standards, to opening up Keystone and Dakota Access oil pipelines, to saying he’s going to withdraw from the Paris climate change accord, every single action is designed to move us backwards, deny reality, and screw over the future.

And I’m sorry, but I give a crap about my kid being able to breathe clean air and be able to go outside.

This Trump nightmare cannot end soon enough.

**Next up, it’s been a while since I’ve featured a really stupid game show contestant, but thankfully, a recent “Wheel of Fortune” episode has provided me with a beautiful clip.

Watch this guy’s guess of a famous Tennessee Williams play title. Hey, if he’d been correct and that was the title, I think they’d have sold a ton more tickets to every performance. It could’ve been on Cinemax, too…

**Finally today, I wish I could say that a story like this could only happen in Australia, but nope, there are stupid men trying to impress women in every country in the world.

So check this out: A drunk Australian 18-year-old named Lee Depaauw was at a hostel in Innisfail, Australia, in Queensland, when he chatted up a pretty 24-year-old British backpacker, Sophie Peterson.

Our man Lee, who later said he’d drank about “10 cups of goon” before meeting Sophie (my favorite Australian friend, Konrad, says goon is boxed wine in Australia.), started telling her that the nearby river infested with crocodiles was less likely to attack a native like Lee than a backpacking tourist.

To, I don’t know, prove it? Lee decided to jump in the water. Making like Westley in “The Princess Bride,” he swiftly and quickly fought off the crocodile, leaped back to dry land and into the arms of an admiring and love-struck Sophie, and the two walked arm-in-arm together into wedded bliss.

Yeah, right.

Lee had his arm basically chewed off by a croc who clearly had never watched a Hollywood rom-com, and Lee’s lucky to be alive, and Sophie wasn’t the least bit impressed. Well, OK, she was a LITTLE impressed.

“I think he’s very brave to be, you know, in such high spirits after what happened,” said Ms Paterson, who said she has agreed to go on a date with Mr De Paauw.

Oh Sophie, now you’re just encouraging him. Watch video of Lee and Sophie talking about the incident below.

Men. Sometimes I’m so embarrassed to be one, you know?

Good News Friday: Cary Elwes writes a fabulous history of “The Princess Bride.” Sled hockey players get a wonderful surprise. And married people really are happier (survey says)

Happy Friday everyone. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: There are two kinds of people in this world: People who worship “The Princess Bride” and people who don’t have a heart.
Maybe that’s a little harsh … nah. “The Princess Bride” is a litmus test for me; if you don’t love it, we can’t be friends. I literally don’t know anyone who doesn’t smile when it comes up in conversation.

Funny, smart, sweet, and loaded with quotable lines, it’s just the greatest movie, one that I’ve watched dozens of times and enjoy more each time.

Cary Elwes, the actor who played Westley, loves “The Princess Bride,” too, since it’s easily his most famous role. He’s written a new book (with Joe Layden) called “As You Wish,” a behind-the-scenes tale of the making of the movie.

My awesome wife got it for me for Hanukkah, and I just finished it. Big surprise: I loved it.
It’s really an entertaining book, filled not just with Elwes’ recollections but those of director Rob Reiner, co-stars Chris Sarandon, Robin Wright, Christoper Guest and Billy Crystal.
Some of the many, many fabulous details I never knew:
— Elwes broke his big toe during filming while horsing around on Andre the Giant’s specially-sized ATV (yes, that sentence is just as weird when you read it a second time.)
— Wallace Shawn (aka Vizzini) was riddled with anxiety the entire shoot because he felt certain he’d be fired and be replaced in the movie by Danny DeVito.
— Andre the Giant … well, actually I won’t spoil any of the stuff about him. Needless to say, the Andre stories are worth the book’s price itself.
— The famous swordfight between Westley and Inigo was 100 percent all done by the actors; no stuntmen at all.

It’s really a joy to read this book if you love “The Princess Bride.” Happily, Elwes and the rest of the cast seem to truly appreciate how lucky they were to be a part of it, and how much it means to the film’s legion of fans.

“No more rhymes now, I mean it!”
“Anybody want a peanut?”

**Next up, I thought this was so cool: Sled hockey is a variation of the sport for people with disabilities, like an amputation. Gatorade told a bunch of sled hockey players they wanted to film them for a possible documentary, then a few minutes in a whole bunch of NHL stars showed up to play with them.
Their faces at :48 are just pure joy.

**And finally today, good news if you’re one of thse lucky folks like me who are married (and if you’re not, here’s more good reasons why you should): A new study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research has concluded that being married makes people happier and more satisfied with their lives than those who remain single – particularly during the most stressful periods, like midlife crises.

From this N.Y. Times story: “Those whose lives are most difficult could benefit most from marriage, according to the economists who wrote the new paper, John Helliwell of the Vancouver School of Economics and Shawn Grover of the Canadian Department of Finance. “Marriage may be most important when there is that stress in life and when things are going wrong,” Mr. Grover said.

They analyzed data about well-being from two national surveys in the United Kingdom and the Gallup World Poll. In all but a few parts of the world, even when controlling for people’s life satisfaction before marriage, being married made them happier. This conclusion, however, did not hold true in Latin America, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

So there you go: Don’t believe what TV sitcoms have told you for decades: Get married, life is better.

Your humble blogger, who used to wear mismatched clothes, eat frozen Tombstone pizzas on a regular basis, and only clean the apartment when the dirt jumped off the carpet and landed on my face, absolutely agrees.

“The Americans” getting better and better. “The Princess Bride” meets Star Wars. And texting Shakespeare the best revenge for British guy


Just a little personal plug: I’m covering the NCAA Tournament for ThriveSports.com, and have written a bracket breakdown, since I know some of you are still trying to figure out your office pool picks (“Where the hell’s Mercer, and are they any good?” is a common refrain, I’m sure).  Check it out for some (hopefully) good advice. 

When a TV show has a great debut season, you hope that it’s not just a one-year wonder, and that the creators/writers can find a way to keep making it better.

Happily, I can say that three seasons into Season 2, “The Americans” is better than ever.
I am going to continue to beat the drum for this show, because it’s not doing great in the ratings and it’s the best thing on TV right now (don’t even get me started on “Parenthood,” which continues to infuriate me. Yeah, Adam and Kristina are going to just up and start a school for autistic kids now? Sure, that’s believable and realistic.)

“The Americans,” is a show you should be watching (Wednesdays at 10 on FX), not just because it’s acted brilliantly by Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, and Noah Emmerich, but because the stories are so compelling. Every instinct in your body tells you that you can’t root for, and be invested in, the lives of Russian spies living in Washington, D.C. in 1982, but you are.

As good as last season was, as we followed Elizabeth and Phillip’s “fake” marriage and their many escapades in service of Mother Russia, this year has taken “The Americans” to a new level, ratcheting up the tension by bringing family concerns to the forefront.

My wife and I were on the edge of our seats for pretty much the whole show last week, and it’s been that way for each of the first three episodes of the season (it’s not too late to catch up!)
Watch this show. It’s better than anything else on TV right now. Trust me.

**Next up, as an enormous fan of “The Princess Bride,” I especially appreciated this: It’s a mash-up video of what would happen if the Inigo-Westley fencing match had happened with lightsabers:


**And finally, this made me really happy, as a teacher and English major. A 24-year-old guy in the United Kingdom named Edd Joseph was pissed off when he bought a PS3 game console for £80 and the seller failed to deliver the goods.

So Joseph got his revenge by texting the guy the entire works of Shakespeare.

From this story: “He sends it as one text but his victim can only receive them in 160 character chunks – meaning the 37 works of Shakespeare will buzz through in 29,305 individual texts. So far Edd has sent 22 plays including Hamlet, Macbeth and Othello which have been delivered in 17,424 texts.
“He reckons the remaining 15 works will take another few days to send – meaning his adversary’s phone will have been constantly beeping for nearly a week.”

Brilliant. I love it when smart people get revenge on lying jerks. Here’s my question: Think the thief took the time to read them all?”

Read more: http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Bristol-man-gets-revenge-texting-works/story-20823040-detail/story.html#ixzz2wN8FV9XO
Read more: http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Bristol-man-gets-revenge-texting-works/story-20823040-detail/story.html#ixzz2wN7wkKXG

My 10 favorite movies of all-time. And a way-cool helmet-cam look at hockey.


I’ve had two conversations with different people in the last week talking about our favorite movies of all time.

It’s a conversation I’ve had with a lot of people, actually, over the years, because just about everyone I’ve ever met can rattle off their top 3 or 4 movies off the top of their head (my wife is not one of those people; when we talked about movies in one of our first-ever conversations, she was pretty stumped when I asked her favorite. I only counted that against her a little bit).

So, because I’ve never done this before on the blog, and because I’m always looking to spark a little debate, here are my 10 favorite movies ever. Not saying these are the greatest ever, just the ones that mean the most to me.

Argue away…

1. Field of Dreams: It has occupied this list since the first time I saw it in about 1990 or so. Perfect combination of acting, writing, and a little bit of magic. I used to have the James Earl Jones speech at the end memorized and would recite it to my family on command. Seen this film probably 50 times, and love it each time even more.

2. The Princess Bride: To quote the great Joe Posnanski, “there are two kinds of people in the world: People who love this movie, and people who don’t have a heart.” Funniest movie I’ve ever seen, and eminently re-watchable.

3. Say Anything: The best of all the Cameron Crowe movies, which is saying something. Early John Cusack, a brilliant script, and it captures the late 1980s high school vibe better than anything else. Plus, the scene at the Gas ‘N’ Sip with Jeremy Piven (below) is classic.

4. Hoosiers: Best sports movie ever in my book. Love Gene Hackman in this, and the great visuals of Indiana basketball in the 1950s. I own a Jimmy Chitwood No. 15 jersey, that’s how much I love this movie.

5. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: Wildly underrated flick; I’m amazed when I meet someone who hasn’t seen it. Steve Martin and John Candy, road-tripping from Chicago to New York. Too many funny scenes to recount, but “Those Aren’t Pillows?” is among the finest.

6. Goodfellas: I will, and have previously, argue with anyone who says “The Godfather” is better. The story of Henry Hill’s rise as a gangster is so damn good. De Niro and Pesci are great, the script is fantastic, and Marty Scorsese (especially in the famous kitchen of the Copa scene, above) directs beautifully.

7. When Harry Met Sally: Best romantic comedy ever; to call it a rom-com is almost an insult. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan have perfect chemistry, Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher are great too (“you made a woman meow?”), and the late great Nora Ephron’s script is perfect.

8. Fargo: The Coen Brothers have made a lot of great films, but this is their masterpiece. William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi and the great Frances McDormand in a kidnapping tale gone way wrong. So dark, and so brilliant.

9. Almost Famous: Yes, I’ve got two Cameron Crowe movies in my Top 10. “Almost Famous” is just another perfect movie. Patrick Fugit in the role of his life, Kate Hudson never better, and Billy Crudup as the perfect “guitar player with mystique” in a 1970s rock band. So many amazing lines and scenes; my favorite is William dancing with Penny and saying “I’m about to boldly go where many men have gone before.”

Course, this scene’s not bad, either:

10. 12 Angry Men: Very close call here at No. 10; I easily could’ve gone with “Coming To America,” “Midnight Run,” or “American Beauty. ”

But the story of Juror No. 8 (Henry Fonda) convincing 11 other men of a young son’s innocence in the death of his father has stuck with me ever since I first saw it as a kid. Such spare, terrific acting, the whole movie takes place in one room, and it’s riveting as hell.

**Finally today, I always love videos that show us a different view of sports we’re all so familiar with.  So I thought this was really cool: A minor league hockey referee wore a GoPro helmet cam during a Dec. 20 game, along with his regular microphone, and the sights and sounds we get to hear are really great.

I especially love how harshly he talks to players who are trying to get an extra punch in after the whistle (around the 2:30 mark), and just how much stuff a ref has to deal with.

Really cool idea, and I hope it catches on in the NHL.

Another NFL team makes a sick kid’s wish come true. Kermit the Frog and Steve Martin playing the banjo. And 10 fun facts about “The Princess Bride.”

\We start this week’s Good News Friday with another heartwarming story of a sick child, a sports team, and proof that it takes so little from the rich and famous to make a huge difference.

Twelve-year-old Kevin Lee lives in Michigan, but thanks to a heart defect that’s literally life-threatening, he’s not allowed to play any kind of contact sports.

“Sometimes it feels like a sword is going through your chest,” Kevin says, matter-of-factly.

Still, he’s a big football fan, of the Seattle Seahawks and their fabulous quarterback, Russell Wilson. (Let me pause here for a moment and realize the Jets could’ve had him last year. Instead, we got to watch Mark Freaking Sanchez).

When the Seahawks learned of Kevin’s troubles, and his love of the team, well, they rolled out the red carpet big-time.

I had a tear in my eye by the end. What a terrific day for this young man.

**Next up, just your run of the mill story involving Steve Martin and Kermit The Frog in a dueling banjos contest, from the brillant minds at Funny Or Die.

I would pay big money to see these two in concert, wouldn’t you?

**And finally, because nothing puts me in a better mood than a scene from “The Princess Bride,” for my money the funniest movie of all time. Good story here, too, from Rob Reiner, who gave us 10 facts you may not know about the filming of the classic flick. Personally, the alternate ending they shot was fascinating, though I’m glad it ended the way it did.


A Kansas fan sees his feelings change on Ol’ Roy Williams. And Brian Banks, getting one more shot at glory


Today’s lead item is written by a guest blogger here on Wide World of Stuff; I’d love to have more if any of you feel motivated to write about something that moves you; drop me a line at sweeterlew@yahoo.com.
Today’s post is written by Matt Roberts, one of my loyal readers who immediately earned my affection when I discovered he had “Dread Pirate” in his email handle (It’s a reference to “The Princess Bride” and the Dread Pirate Roberts, only about the most perfect movie ever). Matt is a big Kansas basketball fan, so I thought he’d be the perfect person to write about the weird relationship Jayhawks fans have with the man they again vanquished on Sunday, former coach Roy Williams. Matt, the floor is yours…

About ten years ago, minutes after his Kansas team lost the National Championship game to Syracuse, Bonnie Bernstein of CBS asked KU coach Roy Williams about his level of interest in the recently opened North Carolina job. A direct quote from his response was on t-shirts the very next day in Lawrence, Kansas: “I could give a s— about North Carolina”.
It was jarring to hear that kind of language from Ol’ Roy, but it also fit, given that everyone knew how much he loved his players.  The vast majority of KU fans loved Roy and all the winning he brought to Kansas in his 15 years.
Just the seventh coach in 105 years of Jayhawk basketball, we thought Roy would stick around, like he did three years before when the North Carolina job last came available.

A week later, that optimism turned to dread and bitterness, as Roy headed home to his alma mater.  KU grad Dean Smith urged him to return to Chapel Hill, making the loss hurt even more.  How could the guy who grew up down the road from Lawrence and played on KU’s 1952 National Championship team engineer the departure of our beloved coach?

In hindsight, it appears Coach Smith was only looking out for the good of his alma mater.

A few days later, when Bill Self was announced as the new head coach at Kansas, not many Jayhawk fans thought too highly of the move. We had memories of playing his brutish Illinois team in the 2001 Sweet Sixteen. Kansas always played an up-tempo, fun style of basketball.  How could we adjust to this new, plodding system? Pretty easily, it turns out.  Bill Self preaches tough man-to-man defense, but he has shown a willingness to adjust style of play to his personnel. His teams may not play at the breakneck speed of the Williams era, but entertainment still abounds. Winning helps.

While Roy Williams maintained a remarkable 80.5 win percentage in his ten years at Kansas, Bill Self has won 83.8 percent of his team’s games through almost ten full seasons. Of those ten years, KU won the Big 12 championship in all but his first season, when they finished second and made the Elite Eight.  North Carolina won two NCAA titles in that time.  Kansas won one and made the final last year.

Even with the two titles at UNC, you would be hard pressed to find a Kansas fan who wishes Roy stayed in Lawrence ten years ago. The bitterness has mostly dissipated, thanks in large part to Bill Self’s 3-0 record against Roy, all in the NCAA tournament.  Instead of the boos and harsh words you could expect in years past, ask a KU fan what they think about Roy now, and you will probably get a Cheshire cat grin and some words about how Bill Self is the greatest.

Personally, I will always love Ol’ Roy. He coached my favorite team from the time I was in 4th grade through my college years. His teams always brought me great joy, and they continue to do so today. Especially when they lose to the Jayhawks.

brian-banks1**Finally today, “60 Minutes” did a terrific piece on former high school football star and NFL hopeful Brian Banks, who I wrote about last year. Banks was imprisoned for five years on a false rape charge, and since getting out he’s tried to re-start what was a once-promising career.
What I’ve always found admirable about Banks was his total lack of bitterness about his past. I really hope he makes the NFL this year; if anyone deserves a break, it’s this kid.

Please take a minute and watch the “60 Minutes” piece here.