• John McGary, Woodford Sun News Reporter

Here's Johnny

If the rest of your weekend (and much, if not all, of the following work week) is ruined when your favorite team loses a tough one … you might just be a UK fan. If you chip a gritted tooth while your favorite team’s guards are getting outplayed on both ends of the floor and your point guard is making more turnovers than a Vegas blackjack dealer … you might just be a UK fan. If you stop watching an NCAA tournament featuring one close game after another game when your favorite team exits … you might just be a UK fan. If you kick yourself for not wearing the same logoed t-shirt you wore the previous game and figure your wardrobe choice may be partly to blame for the loss of your favorite team … you might just be a UK fan. And if, after your favorite team gets knocked out of the aforementioned tourney, you swear never to watch another game again, forever and ever, then change your mind in October … you might just be a UK fan. The goal, of course, is not to be one of those UK fans. The Cats got beat Sunday by a better Auburn team, one that overcame a slow start and the loss of a top player the previous game and kept at it – and at the risk of inspiring the torch and pitchfork brigade to light up and begin marching towards the Sun, I think that’s okay. I hate to see what appears to be a great bunch of young men not have a chance to take home the school’s ninth national championship – but folks, it’s a game, and fans shouldn’t feel a tenth as badly as the players they’re mourning do. I have been following the Kentucky Wildcats since Adolph Rupp’s last season on the sidelines. Two years later, on Christmas Eve, I met the Baron, when Dad dropped by his Chevy Chase home for a signature on some sort of business. Coach Rupp insisted he bring the kids in, and the then-winningest college basketball coach of all time charmed the tube socks off us. I was having a pretty good year in the Dixie Junior Pro league in Lexington and looked forward to discussing the matter at great length, but the Man in Brown was more interested chatting about the imminent arrival of the Man in Red. That was just fine by me. So is, in a sense, UK’s tough loss Sunday against a team the Cats had already beaten twice during the regular season. The Cats made too many turnovers and missed too many free throws and only PJ Washington did much on offense, but let’s remember that except for Reid Travis, the average age of those who played meaningful minutes is, maybe, 19. As a character in an upcoming movie says in the film’s trailer, “Part of the journey is the end.” Just about every Kentuckian, here and transplanted, wishes this year’s journey lasted another game or two. At the risk of getting a little or a lot preachy, I believe there is much to celebrate over the latest edition of John Calipari’s Cats: P.J. Washington becoming one of the top college players in the country and coming back in the NCAA tournament when many considered him gone for the year; Reid Travis showing what experience, leadership, hustle and broad shoulders can do for a “young team;” Tyler Herro playing smarter than any freshman has a right to and living up to a great last name. It’s now 5:47 p.m. on Sunday. I’m okay and hope y’all are, too; soon if not already. Tomorrow is another day, and I have a paper to help get out. See ‘ya next year, fellow reasonable Big Blue fans. P.S. It’s now 8:03 p.m. on Sunday. Duke lost, too. Heh heh heh.


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