Monday, October 18, 2010

Confessions of a Wildcat

Alright, alright.

I admit it: it isn't normal that this video should make me cry. I shouldn't sit and weep while watching it or clap when I see shots made that I've screened six thousand times.

But I can't help it. This clip gets my big blue blood pumping, prompting tears of pride for the past and anticipation for the future. I think of every Wildcat (except Rob Lock) who's worn the blue in pursuit of perfection. I think of me as a 10 year old living in South Carolina, teaching myself the words to UK's fight song just to feel closer to my Bluegrass roots. I think of how proud I am to be a graduate of the University of Kentucky and how much it would've meant to my Mayme that her granddaughter, once defected from the state, came back - if more for the student tickets than for the Masters in Theatre. I think of how excited I was to hear that my 10 year-old nephew bought his dog a UK neckerchief, and I remember how my heart swelled when his brother, then five, asked a random guy in a Houston Rockets jersey, "Hey. Do you know Chuck Hayes?"

As you can probably tell, Kentuckians take their basketball a little more seriously than most. In fact, the state motto should probably be changed. "United we stand, divided we fall" doesn't mean nearly as much to the Commonwealth common man as something centered on the roundball would. I'm thinking "While we breathe, basketball" or, better yet, "Why we breathe? Basketball."

This video could serve as our commercial in that campaign-for-change:

Yep. It was a good weekend to be a Wildcat. Big Blue Madness, our basketball team's first practice of the season (and the reason that this video piece was put together), typically heralds the proverbial "end" of football season. This year, though, it was only the beginning.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Leslie, do NOT read past this point. Seriously. DO.NOT.)

Speaking of "things that make me cry," how about this picture of our quarterback Mike Hartline? On the weekend when the Big Blue Nation's collective focus typically shifts from the field to the court, the football 'Cats (or maybe it was just Randall Cobb?) shouted, "Hey, y'all. We ain't done yet!" when they pulled out the upset win over #10 South Carolina.

Sadly, I was in Nebraska when it all went down. While the 'huskers in the hotel lobby drowned their sorrowful loss to the Texas Longhorns, I was up in my room, shouting profanities, leaping for joy, and wishing like you cannot imagine that I hadn't left Lexington earlier that morning. I guess it's true what Elizabeth Emerson Hancock wrote at the start of Trespassers Will be Baptized:

"For a true Kentucky girl, it is possible to baptize out the sin but not the Blue."

You got that right, Girl.

GO, CATS! (EDITOR'S NOTE: Camille, do NOT read past this point. Seriously. DO.NOT.) SIC THOSE 'DAWGS this Saturday!!!