Although I played very few sports as a kid (outside of the typical tee ball, dance, a little co-ed softball, and a brief but passionate love affair with racquetball), I was always a very avid fan of sports. I was born in an area that some might consider the heart of college basketball (central KY) and I went away to a school in another great college basketball conference (ACC), and so I grew up watching a lot of the game – in high school, in college, on the floor of my living room. And even though I left my home state, my deep basketball roots, and cable television behind almost two decades ago – my access to good college hoops may be less, but my love for it still burns strong. I’ve grown in appreciation for other sports because I’ve lived through the glory years of a city with good football and great baseball, and because I sit on the sidelines most summer and fall weekends and watch my favorite soccer player run up and down the field. But to me, it doesn’t get any better than basketball – a game that can turn on a dime (and often does) – and the thrill of watching a match up that can grip you until the final few tenths of a second is about the greatest sports thrill there is. I’ve seen those fractions of seconds go both ways – and I don’t think I’ll ever be anything but amazed that a group of kids can make that kind of magic under the pressure of a clock and a bench and a million eyes on them.
It was fun to get back to that basketball epicenter for a brief visit this weekend, and even more fun to put four great-grandkids and a lot of UK blue around my grandfather who is a Louisville Cardinal fan through and through. If you live anywhere near those two teams then you understand the storied rivalry. Regardless of team affiliation, however, my grandfather loves those kids. A sea of blue doesn’t even phase him. (And besides – his team did better than ours this weekend!)
Got a favorite team in the big dance this month?