Natural as daffodils dancing on a sun bank to a southerly breeze, Big Blue Nation flags flutter across 120-county Kentucky this week. Wildcats back in the Final Four. Au naturel.
What is supernatural is, to borrow from baseball, the perfecto still intact into extra innings hasn’t happened …. until 38-0. A new UK notch whittled into the NCAA archives.
For these high marks across Commonwealth we call home, I am most pleased for blue collar Big Blue fans old enough to know and appreciate roots. Ones who … v Still hear Claude and Cawood, and Happy Chandler’s enchanting “My Old Kentucky Home”. v Know Fabulous Five was born here and there is no other. v Remember John Crigler defending Elgin Baylor … Tubby Smith outfoxing Mike Krzyzewski in ‘98 … stayed up late to see LSU lead by 31 in 1994, and lose to UK. … And, Rick Pitino’s time in Mecca. v Need a single word to kindle that exquisite heritage made by Cliff and Cotton, Casey and Calipari; Fiddlers, Runts, Unforgettables and, of course, Adolph. Man who chiseled the base on which this much trophy-ed monolith stands. v And this: Recognize they saw Pat Riley incarnate last weekend. The unrelenting Runt running around in a green shirt, number backwards, 24 instead of 42. Announcers kept calling Riley … Pat Connaughton.
In the Final Four again. National prominence for the Bluegrass State alongside Lincoln, Clay, Cooper and coal.
To Big Blue Nation, tribute.