(If you only have 5 minutes, please skip to the last paragraph and video at the bottom of this post)
It feels strange, this year, to be so satisfied with looking down at an NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament bracket, finding the name "Kentucky" and seeing next to it the number 1... followed by another 1.
We are an 11 seed,
and I'm perfectly okay with that.
The truth is, as most of you I'm sure are aware, it has been doubtful that we would even receive our invitation to this dance ever since, oh I don't know, the last time I was on ESPN.
I can remember the drive home from Rupp Arena that day. It was the second most miserable one that I can remember (the first being the time we ate at B-Dubs right before the game and had to leave at halftime...if you know what I mean). Hopes had been so high for the one called Billy Clyde. Now we were falling to the likes of San Diego and Gardner-Webb. It was almost enough to make a Big Blue faithful find himself wishing for football season (what?)...
Anyway, that was then; this is now. In less than three days, we will be facing a tough Marquette team in the greatest show in sports. And even though we are missing our best player; in spite of one of the rockiest non-conference seasons I can remember; despite coming up short in our first SEC tournament game, we have a chance. Clearly, one of the most beautiful things about looking at those 64 converging little lines is that they represent, above all else, the simple notion of chaos. "Anything can happen."
All that is to say, I think that my 11-year old self would be ashamed to see how relieved I am with the current state of affairs. A true Wildcat should never be content with anything less than a 1 seed, maybe a 2. A lot of people here (read "Indiana") don't really understand why UK fans seem to hold their team - players and coaches alike - to such a high standard. I will resist the temptation to insert here the obligatory Kelvin Sampson joke - you know, the one about including "high standards" for coaching and the state of Indiana in the same sentence. I digress.
The point is, if you don't understand why it is SO frustrating to see the University of Kentucky Wildcats Men's Basketball program performing at such a "low" level, you didn't grow up in Central Kentucky during the mid-1990s. It's a fact. If the following series doesn't make your heart beat a little faster - Delk, McCarty, Walker, Epps, Mercer, Anderson, Edwards, Padgett, Sheppard, Turner, Evans, Mohammed, Magloire, Mills - you don't get it.
Well, get it...