More Than A Game

Kentucky vs. Louisville in the Final Four.  It was more than a game today.  It was a state divided.  It was friends becoming enemies.  It was a fight to the finish.  It was all it was hyped to be and then some.  In the end, my beloved Kentucky Wildcats SURVIVED to advance to the national championship game on Monday night.

This was one of the hardest weeks of my life.  I wanted to be in New Orleans for the game in the worst way.  That was out of the question so the fallback plan would have been to go to Kentucky and watch the game with friends and get to experience the passion and the tension in person.  Thanks to mandatory training at work where people argued for 20 minutes about whether or not they wanted to have to wear hats WHEN HATS BEING OPTIONAL WAS AN OPTION, I had to stay in Chicago to witness history (sidebar…after 20 minutes, the f’n idiots that were vehemently arguing that they didn’t want to have to wear hats finally realized that voting for hats being optional meant they wouldn’t have to wear the hats but those of us that did want to wear hats could).  It was the longest week ever.  I spent days reading articles and begging for today to get here.  Then when it was time for the game, I was so damn nervous that I wished that the game wasn’t for another week!

Kentucky pretty much controlled the game from the beginning.  They used a quick spurt to jump out to around a 10 point lead for most of the first half.  Thanks to the refs calling more charges on Kentucky than I have ever seen called in one game before and only calling 3 fouls on Louisville in a half, Kentucky couldn’t shake the pesky Cardinals.  I could feel ulcers forming in my stomach because this was Louisville’s MO the entire tournament.  Smoke and mirrors to stay close and then a smothering defense down the stretch to steal the win.  The blueprint was working to perfection for the Cardinals. 

The second half was almost a mirror image of the first.  Kentucky shot back out to a big lead and then slowly saw Louisville refuse to go away.  The Cardinals kept chipping away and chipping away until they finally tied it about halfway thru the 2nd half.  My wife had to relocate to the kitchen for long periods of time because I couldn’t stop cussing at the TV.  The season was slipping through the Wildcats fingertips.  All the “they are too young and inexperienced to win a championship” critiques starting echoing in the air.  It looked like the Cardinals were about to steal another game.  However, Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist refused to let that happen.  MKG had done literally nothing all game until it was tied and then he rattled off 7 pts.  Darius Miller rose to the occasion and showed his senior leadership.  Miller was all over the court.  Steals.  Layups.  Dunks.  Three pointers.  I’m not sure that Kentucky wins this game without Miller and all that he brings to the team.

When the final horn sounded, I could finally breathe a sigh of relief.  I didn’t have to worry about my friends from Louisville calling to taunt me.  I could take great pride in knowing that the Wildcats showed great poise and advanced to the finals without playing anywhere near their best game.  Watching the end of Kansas vs. Ohio State made me feel even better.  Both teams made some inexcusable errors in the last minute including Ohio State just basically quitting in the last 3 seconds because they were unhappy with a call. 

Let the experts start talking about how Coach Cal will be having a rematch with Coach Self in the national championship game.  It will be an interesting night on Monday.  Lets hope it is even half as much fun as today was.


Let’s go Cats.  #GoBigBlue #BBN #8pril #KentuckyAlumni





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