Sportsman's Daily


John Calipari Consoles “Millions” Who Lost Money on His Team; Players Feel Emotionally Abandoned in Time of Need

John Calipari

Memphis Coach John Calipari bears the weight of "millions" who gambled and lost on his team. "Actually, I feel really bad for the people who turned their sets off with us up by nine and two minutes to go -- realizing you're going to have to go without heat for the month of April is not a great way to start a Tuesday morning."

San Antonio, TX (Sportsman’s Daily Wire Service) — With the game all but decided, the Memphis Tigers let it slip away, missing critical foul shots down the stretch and losing a heartbreaker to the resilient Kansas Jayhawks – a loss as emotionally devastating as any ever sustained on a national stage.

Dazed, confused and just plain beaten, the Tigers players milled lifelessly around the floor, then aimlessly drifted into a funereal locker room. Usually the losing coach – in this case John Calipari – would gather his team and soothe their open wounds with a combination of content-free coach speak and language pulled from the pages of “Spiritual Uplift for Dummies.”

But instead of consoling his players, Calipari focused his post-game comments on the “millions who squandered their rent money, their kid’s lunch money, the month’s utility check” and placed a losing bet on his team.

“Right now, people are trying to make ends meet as they await their tax rebate from the IRS,” said a somber Calipari. “The people who put their money on us took an awfully big gamble – and we let them down. Lots were depending on those extra couple hundred to carry them to when their government check arrives. I personally know dozens of families who trusted us with their rent money. Now, granted, most have a major gambling problem and I should have said something – to gamble with your kid’s lunch money or money you’ve been saving for little Johnny’s hair lip surgery is just plain irresponsible.”

Calipari paused, tented his fingers meaningfully, and continued, his mood gradually darkening. “Now, do I feel bad for my kids, being this close to a national championship? For missing those damn foul shots they’ll have to answer to for the rest of their lives? Is this the thanks you get for making all those hellish out-of-the-way recruiting trips where I’ve got to demean myself and plead with sullen high school hoops stars to play basketball for my program? Do you know how crushing this is to me personally, to my family, to my coaching staff? Does anyone think that maybe it’s us that needs the consoling? Just once I’d like to see one of the kids put their arms around you and say, it’s ok, it’s ok, just let it out big guy, it’s ok. Am I wrong to want that?”

Having spent close to a half hour waiting for their coach, who continued speaking to a fading pack of bleary beat reporters for close to an hour after the game, the Memphis players gave up, got dressed and mournfully made their way to the team bus.

“Losing hurts, but coach just abandoning us like that, it’s a stab in the back,” said Tigers’ guard Chris Douglas-Roberts. “You expect your coach to get everyone in the room, close the door and find the words to take away the pain. We’re not expecting anything we haven’t heard before. It’s not like Coach is suddenly going to turn into Moses or Dr. Phil or that Dr. Laura chick who does the sex counseling. But you want to hear how proud he is that we came this far, how we’ll always look back with pride on all we accomplished, how we’re the best bunch of kids he’s ever coached, how well we represented the school and how we played the game the right way. Look, I can basically write the speech – in fact, I just did. But still, you want to hear it. Instead, he’s worrying about a bunch of degenerate gamblers…it’s just very disheartening. ”

“I don’t know what Calipari is talking about,” said Ronald Hastings, a degenerate gambler from Spokane, Washington who spoke to us during a break in an outdoor dice game. “I stood to pocket $150 tops if the Tigers knocked down those foul shots – we’re talking two fill-ups and a carton of cigarettes with maybe change for the tolls. It’s not like it’s a big deal. But man, this guy is a real downer. What a loser.”

Bobby Knight, a studio analyst for ESPN, surprised his colleagues and viewing audience when he sided with Douglas-Roberts. “The number one job of a college coach is communicating with your players. Particularly after a loss like that. Of course not everyone communicates the exact same way. I liked to keep my comments brief and to the point, and added a bit of physicality to make sure it was sinking in. But if Calipari thinks he needs to console people who gambled good money on his team, he needs to begin by consoling me – I lost a bundle on those punks and if I ever get my hands on the kids who missed those damn foul shots, I’ll show Calipari the meaning of communication.” With that, a red-faced Knight drop-kicked a production assistant and stormed out of the studio, presumably looking for someone, anyone, to emotionally abuse.

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