Saturday, January 29, 2011


Mary Poppins isn't the only thing that I love.

Last week, a friend forwarded me an incredible article about another of my great loves. Chuck Hayes is my all-time favorite Kentucky Wildcat.

I first noticed him his freshman year. My family and I had followed the Cats to Athens, and this newbie initially caught my attention for the "44" on his jersey. Since childhood, I had HATED Kentucky 44s. I'm sorry, Dan Issel. Forgive me, Cotton Nash. You fellas were fantastic, but to my generation, the most immediate associations with "44" were Gimel "Scissorhands" Martinez and, God save us all, Rob Lock. I was 10 years old when Lock first put on his jersey. That was 23 years ago, and I still seethe with disdain when I think about him and his disgusting propensity to foul - early and often.

Then came Chuck Hayes. Like Lock, he hails from sunny CA. Thankfully, though, the similarities end there. In that first outing in Athens, Chuck was everywhere you'd want him to be - pulling down rebounds, chasing after loose balls, scoring the odd Whitaker Bank Shot. He did it all, and I took notice.

"Daddy," I said. "No more will I hate 44! That kid's gonna redeem his number!"

And did he ever.

In four years at UK, Chuck became everybody's favorite. He also became the player who had the highest win percentage in college basketball.

Now a Houston Rocket (alongside fellow Cat Patrick Patterson), Chuck is doing big things in the NBA. By "big things," I mean backing up Yao Ming and holding Blake Griffin (John Wall's stiffest competition for Rookie of the Year) to 5 for 16 from the field. Sean Pendergast wrote a great post about this feat:

"Stingy defense," he wrote, "tireless effort, relentless rebounding...what kind of NBA player are you, Chuck? Please, on behalf of those of us who are still too shallow to fully appreciate the things that you do, stop trying so damn hard, Chuck Hayes."

In both the Richard Justice posting and in Pendergast's more recent rant "against" my Sweet Baby Hayes, the Houston press is waking up to what us Kentuckians have known about Chuck for a long time:

"All he does is win."


  1. oh my sweet blogging friend!!!

    i'm sitting here watching the ole miss/kentucky game and ya'll are up 69 - 68. and i'm a nervous wreck. so i get online to take my mind off of the game and what do i decide to do? go to your blog. and then remind myself that you are a large and in charge wildcats fan.

    so much for getting my mind off of the game, huh?


  2. How it pains me to say it, Suzanne, but congrats on the big win last nite:)

    Luckily, I was out for most of the evening, so I missed the stress of the whole game ... I got home, though, just in time to see us blow it with that buzzer shot. One of these years, I'm gonna quit caring so much.


    Congrats again!

    Hope you're doing great!