Sunday was college education at its every-breath-you-take best.
Life isn’t always fair, but we buck up and move on. Bad things happen to good people (Patrick Patterson) and his family (teammates) press on, learn from setback, discover a collective pain tolerance level and, when things look bleak, see what courage can achieve.
Long after basketballs stop bouncing, Sunday’s experience will pay dividends. Meanwhile, its manifestation is Ramel Bradley.
Tennessee’s superior skilled Vols swaggered in fueled by adrenaline for revenge. Oops. Without sustained execution and poise, revenge can be a trip to trap. Almost was.
Kentucky circled its wagons and did what modestly talented teams do. Dig in, cowboy up, execute for 40 minutes. See what happens.
Tennessee rock and rolled to a 20-5 lead and went to cruise control. Kentucky, minus Patterson, did not whine, wilt or back off. Instead, Billy Clyde Gillispie directed this orchestra.
Result? Most exciting game in the SEC this season.
And, as it should be, the home crowd went home happy.
The visiting team went home better educated for another day.
Kentucky’s prize freshman hobbled away from a press conference and the Wildcats’ postseason prospects went with him. (we hope there is no NIT date, but suspect there will be).
Silver linings? Kentucky losing its most charismatic big man since Rick Robey (’78) has these:
1. UK medical people discovered Patterson’s injury early, protecting his future.
2. Time wearing a boot excuses Patterson to step back, embrace the precious present, experience true worth of golden college days.
3. Stress fracture caused by gruelling practices and 37 minutes a game confirms what Patterson already knows. If his 18 year-old feet have difficulty with 30 college games, they’re not ready for 85-plus nights a year, Boston to Seattle.
4. Recruiting. Billy Clyde Gillispie can spin Patterson’s demise into an asset with, say a 6-9, 240-pound prospect. Re: “See kid, athletes at Kentucky get the best free health care available before career-ending injury happens. Sign with us and you enjoy teevee prime time playing alongside a genuine five-star team guy who will make your game better.”
Last week an internet site offered a Top Ten of Everything, (Watchmojo.com).
From depths of oceans and seas to 10 cleanest countries in the world, countries with highest suicide rates and most common causes of accidental death. Fascinating lists.
The last two were attentiongetters. Top Ten biggest (name) athletes of the 20th century; and Top Ten most intriguing characters in profession sports.
Top athlete: Michael Jordan.
Watchmojo’s 10 most intriguing list, designed to cause a buzz, did.
Man who picked these guys must have just come out of a coma.
1. Charles Barkley, 2. John McEnroe, 3. Magic Johnson, 4. Dennis Rodman, 5. George Foreman, 6. John Daly, 7. Lance Armstrong, 8. Bo Jackson, 9. Pete Rose, 10. Andre Agassi.
First, the most intriguing characters in 20th century sports included no women? Then, what could be less intriguing than two loud-mouths, a cross-dressing idiot, a drunk, and two alleged cheaters. You figure out who is who.
Those even remotely intriguing are Magic Johnson and Bo Jackson.
Since one list begets another, here is one man’s list Most Intriguing Characters in 20th century sports.
Dr. James Naismith, Ted Williams, Nadia Comaneci, Wilt Chamberlain, Sir Edmund Hilary, Nadia Comaneci, Jesse Owens, Vince Lombardi, Bobby Jones or Johnny Weismueller.
What sports personalities would be on your list?
Write to bob Watkins, Sprtsinky@aol.com
Dis ‘N Data
– Bad form. During Vanderbilt’s spirited win over Tennessee last week, ESPN’s Jimmy Dykes said Vandy coach Kevin Stallings would be a good candidate for the Indiana job.
– Vandy’s Stallings suggested last week Tennessee could be mentioned with North Carolina and Indiana as a hotbed of basketball. Really. Says here the State of Hotbed is Kentucky where UK and Louisville own nine NCAA championships, Western is among all-time winningest programs, D-2 kingpin Kentucky Wesleyan has eight national titles, and this year’s NAIA No. 1 team is unbeaten Georgetown College (30-0).
– Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gym is renown for coach complaints about having team benches in the end zones. Suggestion: Don’t change a thing.
Bob Knight will work the NCAA Tournament for ESPN. We will be anxious to see the usually uh-uh-uh meandering General limit his analysis to equal time with Dick Vitale and Digger Phelps. How long before Knight says, “Shut up!”?
And so it goes.