Thursday, April 03, 2008

Ol' Roy

Obviously one of the biggest stories in the leadup to the Final Four has been Roy Williams coaching against KU for the first time. Locally it's been beaten to death. I think it's been beaten beyond death. It's a gooey mess on the floor and the media keeps flogging it.

Just being around town I hear a few people mention it once in a while but it doesn't seem to be even close the most important matter for most people. Most just seem to be excited about being in the Final Four and obviously they want to win against Roy but moreso because they want a title.

Despite this impression the story always seems to be, "why can't KU fans get over Roy?" Because of this they always the lunatics that they find for these stories that talk about how much they hate Roy, blah, blah, blah. Then on the other side of the coin the LJ World wrote a story on Roy's good buddies in Lawrence who sounded equally insane when they said they couldn't even handle watching the game on TV because it was so hard! This guy is actually going to go to a movie during the game because somebody was going to lose. Seriously? Dude, relax and get off Roy's jock for half a second. It's a basketball game!

Today I've heard some talk about this article by former KC Star reporter Jason King. A couple of passages really caught my eye though.
The crab legs and Caesar salad were delicious. But when he looked across the table at his buddy, Ted sensed something wasn’t right.

“It was obvious,” he said, “that Roy was hurting.”

Earlier in the day, Williams read an Associated Press article about the family-owned barbershop where he used to get his haircut in Lawrence. Williams’ picture was once displayed prominently in the front of the store. Now it hangs near the commode in the restroom – or as it’s been re-named, The Roy Room.

“We figured if Roy had stuck around, they would have named a building after him,” owner John Amyx said. “So we decided to name a room after him. That seemed to be the best place to see his picture, too.”

Seagroves said Tuesday wasn’t the first time his friend had been disappointed by a derogatory article.

“He still reads the paper and hears those comments,” Seagroves said. “You can see the hurt in him when he talks about it now. I don’t think he expected such strong resentment from the fans and folks there. He loves Kansas. There’s a part of him that would still love to be there.”

We all know Roy loves crab legs and caesar salad almost as much as boys but that wasn't really my point. Here's the second part:
Brown said he believes that time will eventually heal the wounds that still seem to fester among certain Kansas fans. The process, albeit slowly, may already be under way. The Kansas City Star on Tuesday conducted an online poll asking readers to vote on how they would respond if they saw Williams on the famous Riverwalk in San Antonio, the site of this year’s Final Four.

Twelve percent of readers said they’d push Williams into the water. Sixty-eight percent said they’d shake his hand and thank him for his time at Kansas.

“Print that out for me, would you?” Holladay said. “I want to make sure I show that to him. It will make him feel good.”

Holladay hopes similar situations – just simple, inconspicuous moments – continue to present themselves in San Antonio this weekend. But he also realizes chances are good that Williams may be booed during the Tar Heels’ public shootaround on Friday or during Saturday’s pregame introductions.

Williams isn’t excited about either event.

“There are two things I’m not looking forward to,” he said. “I’ve got to answer questions about me and Kansas all weekend. And I’ve got to be able to stand up and listen if someone wants to yell something at me.”

Williams is asked how he’ll react, if he’ll grit his teeth and shrug it off.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Probably. We’ll have to see.”

He's a freaking basket case! He's so despondent that an online poll will make him feel better? I honestly worry about him. I think Roy's the one that needs to let it go, not the KU fans. You went to a different job, KU isn't your team anymore. It's understandable that you might cheer for them but you can't go somewhere else and expect everyone to feel the same about you. It just isn't going to happen so why are you so worried about it? Your team is in the Final Four and you're reading articles in a newspaper about what fans at your old school think about you.

KU fans and Roy always had a very weird relationship, in my mind. You could almost compare him to a cult leader in some ways. He's the guy that held a press conference at the football stadium in 2000 just to announce that he WASN'T changing jobs. And 15,000 people showed up! When people are that obsessed you can't expect all of them to forgive and forget. In fact, it's really pretty bizarre that emotions are still so powerful on both sides. I'm not sure I can think of another situation where there are feelings like this.

I think most Kansas fans would love to stick it to Roy on Saturday and probably even more than they would about most coaches. But obsessing over him? Maybe that part goes both ways...

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