In March 28 IssueRussell County NewsBy Debbie Bell, Columnist
What with the AIG bonuses, the state of our healthcare and the economy, one would think that I would have a multitude of things I could expound on this week.
But what I’ve been pondering most this week (and I.m sure a great deal of Kentuckians have) is “What is wrong with the Kentucky Wildcats and what are we going to do about?”
March usually finds me hibernating for two weeks, watching wall to wall non-stop basketball.
But, not this year. My hear just isn’t in it. This is the first time in many years (except probation) that I can remember a UK team not making the Big Dance.
I’m not one of those fair weather fans that believes Kentucky has to win it all every year. Nor am I one of those rabid fans that after every loss screams “fire the coach.”
Besides bourbon and horses, Kentucky is known for its basketball. We have a tradition to uphold and this year something was seriously worng.
I’ve listened to Uk basketball since before I could talk. “Wildcat” was probably the first word I ever spoke. That or “Elvis.”
My whole family (aunts, uncles and cousins included) would gather around the radio to hear Cawood Ledford call the games. I could never sit still, my brother was the ultimate coach (he still thinks he knows everything) and my dad would get so upset and angry during a game that there were times I could swear his eyes got red and he foamed at the mouth.
I can remember as a very young girl going to visit relatives who didn’t listen to UK games. In the dead of winter, with two feet of snow on the ground, I would slip outside and sit in my dad’s lime green 1957 Chevy with two cardboard windows and listen to the entire ballgame.
There was absolutely no way I would miss one.
My very favorite UK team of all time was the “Unforgettables.” Pelphrey, Feldhaus, Farmer and Woods. They were not expected to do much or to win many games.
They were not big name recruits, nor were they supposed to be that talented or athletic but they came together as a team, they played with their hearts and they excelled way beyond expectation.
Most importantly though, they were Kentuckians, born and bred.
Many little boys in Kentucky grow up dreaming of being a UK Wildcat. They “bleed blue.”
They understand what the tradition of Kentucky basketball is and what has been lacking for years and as much as I like Billy Gillispie personally, I don’t think he can comprehend what it means to coach a Kentucky team.
You can’t win games with a two-man team (Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson).
The only statistic we’ve led this year is turnovers, and we have not come together as a team.
If Gillispie does not start recruiting some home-grown Kentucky boys, I don’t think he’ll be around much longer. After the last couple of years I, for one, am missing Coach Tubby Smith.
I have never been a University of Louisville fan. I’m one of those that believe you loves Kentucky and hate Louisville, or vice versa.
I’ll go even further and suggest that we annex Louisville and call it the “Indiana Purchase.”
Then, there is Coach Rick Pitino. I loved him while he was in Lexington but when he began coaching Louisville I considered him a traitor.
I am so going to try to be bipartisan and root for Louisville this year (even if it kills me). Oh well, like they always say: “There is always next year.”
Til’ next time, Forward ho.