Johnny Knoxville’s famous tomfoolery wasn’t tolerated when he was part of the Boys and Girls Club as a 9-year-old.
“They really taught you about being a young man,” he said Tuesday night before a “Jackass 3D” benefit screening at the Regal Riviera downtown, which he offered as a silent auction item to help the group. “If you acted up at all while on a Boys team, you were strongly reprimanded.”
Knoxville, who was born PJ Clapp and is a native of South Knoxville, attended the Boys Club, as it was known in those days, until age 13. He said the group taught him many things, including respect for others.
That kept his practical joker side in check, he said. He had “too much respect” for Boys Club baseball coach Michael Capps “to try anything.”
Of the organization, Knoxville said, “It’s such a good, positive thing. It gives you a place to go after school (so) you don’t get in trouble and (it gives you) things to do.”
It was at the Boys Club where he developed his love for playing baseball. “My first year at (age) 9, I struck out every time at bat,” he recalled. So every day he practiced. “By the last game of the season, I got two hits,” he said.
Years later and miles apart, Knoxville is still friends with many of the guys he met through the club.
Terry Morrow may be reached at 865-342-6445.