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The Adventures of the Disco Winnebago&
Blocked Punts…Fond and Foggy Memories from the Early Days of Knights’ Athletics
(From message board posts on UCFSports.com between October 2000 - August 2001)
By Hoops McKnight
A Celebration of Buddies, Blondes, Beer, Bee Gees, Blowouts (ALL Kinds)… and Knights Basketball...
Greetings fellow Knight fans!! In an effort to contribute to the civility and literary content of this board, I’ve been encouraged by CK and BiB to discuss my Top 10 Knight basketball memories, in posts spread between MidKnight Madness and the tip-off of the new season. Not simply a list, but a portrayal of the incredible games that started my love for all UCF sports as a student, and now as an alum. A couple of them even made my Gator wife a fan (mixed marriages CAN work!). Some of the stories aren’t really about the games themselves, but instead about the atmosphere and fans surrounding them. More than one is actually about a loss. And if, in the span of the last 25 years, some of the facts have become, shall we say embellished or romanticized, well that’s just how legend and lore are formed (Babe Ruth really didn’t call his shot - did he?).
Sometimes these boards can be reduced to bickering among our own fans over facilities, administration, students, alumni, coaches, players, conferences, recruiting, merchandizing, media coverage, announcers, government officials, and even fellow posters (have I left ANYTHING out?). It seems to me that a positive look at where we’ve been (and how far we’ve come) can be fun, informative, hopefully entertaining and (oh, by the way) a demonstration how becoming an enthusiastic fan as a student becomes a life-long love. Most of them aren’t short, but there’s precedence for that. You can read ‘em, like ‘em, hate ‘em, respond to ‘em, or ignore ‘em - that’s OK. If nothing else, I’ll be dusting off some skills from Freshman Composition 1001 some 25+ years ago.
And with that preamble, in tribute to my Class of ’75’s 25th Reunion next weekend and with a tip of the hat to my cyber-hero BagBoyKnight (and thanks to BiB and CK for helping me oil a few rusty synapses), be sure to look for the 1st installment tomorrow:
The Adventures of the Disco Winnebago
Blocked PuntsA Look Back at UCF’s First Few Weeks of Football
With the Usual Amount of Fun, Fans, Fermented Beverages, Frivolity, Foibles… And Even a Little Football Thrown In
But I really don’t know as much about the game as I do basketball. My basic problem is that I follow the ball too much, and as a result I couldn’t tell you things like why a play breaks down, or whether the secondary is lined up in a zone or a man-to-man. Then there’s that little matter of not being able to judge whether that 6’5” 340 lb man-mountain in a helmet is a stud OL, or just another uniformed fat guy.
The real reason is that a few short years after Dr. Colbourn started the football program, matrimony, mortgages, moneymaking, munchkins and (gasp!) maturity began to insidiously and inexorably (that’s treacherously and relentlessly for you accounting majors) suck every last ounce of mirth and adventure from the bold personality of my college youth. Working with engineers 40+ hours a week for over 20 years exacerbated (made it worse, CPAs) that process, too.
So the sad truth is I don’t HAVE any football stories!! Today I’m content relaxing late at night (9:30pm) Miller Lite in hand, sitting in the rocker that’s in front of the ol’ Compaq, just living my excitement vicariously through your tales of adventure. And that’s the real point - most of you guys are products of the football era at UCF. There’s just not a whole lot more that I can add to what you already know about UCF football.
About the Author
A bright-eyed, innocent lad upon his arrival to Florida Technological University as a Fall Quarter 1971 freshman, McKnight almost succumbed to the usual baser elements of college life - women, foosball, streaking, The Snack Bar, differential calculus and Tom’s Hideaway. It was The House and his love of Knights’ athletics that righted his academic ship, but (alas) his dreams of becoming a sports broadcaster were dashed when Hoops’ faculty advisor told him that he had a face for radio, and a voice for print media. Settling for a 1975 degree in journalism, he was appalled to learn that his part-time job at Sears Credit Central paid him more than a full-time cub reporter’s salary would and besides, there just wasn’t much demand for a 2-finger typist in a manual typewriter world.
Re-entering academia, Hoops received his finance degree in 1978 and was actually the first person to receive a diploma from the newly re-named University of Central Florida. He misread the commencement instructions and arrived 2 hours early, so university administrators decided to put him to good use - “Yeah kid, go stand over there behind McKnight!” He followed up that honor by obtaining his MBA, and in the process attended classes in 12 consecutive fall terms at FTU/UCF between 1971-83.
Hoops has worked as a business manager at Orlando’s Largest Single Concentration of Slide Rules and Pocket Protectors for over 20 years, and has a night & weekends job taxiing the 3 McKnight lads around town to karate, basketball practice and games, part time jobs, school functions, parties, golf driving ranges and sleep-overs. He simultaneously anticipates and dreads his onrushing parental role as a driving instructor. It still amazes him that Mrs. McKnight agreed to marry him, and can’t believe that it’ll be anniversary number 20 this spring.
McKnight’s basset hound likes Mrs. McKnight far more than it likes him.