By SARAH WHITE
My friends, family and acquaintances get excited the minute football starts. They love the fall, the hype, the commercials, the pregame, band, cheerleaders, fantasy football, tailgating, outside weather, and noises associated with football. Those folks are understandable; I have no criticism of their misplaced excitement.
But, for me, the announcement of football, smell of new pumpkin spice cupcakes, pumpkin lattes, and a new crispness in the air means only one thing – it won’t be long before I get my invite to the Women’s Clinic. I associate the smells of fall with the upcoming email for the Women’s Clinic that I have been awaiting since August. When it arrives, I have emailed my daughters, my new extended family, and made my reservations within 30 minutes.
Not only do I get to spend some time with my daughters, we get to meet the coaches and players and meet back up with our Clinic Family. Yes, we have a Clinic Family. For the first few years we picked up newcomers to the Clinic and took them with us. Since then, we meet every year and for one evening pretend we are “real” family.
I did not read the new information about the Clinic on Oct. 23 until one of my family members emailed me to ask what I thought about the move to Rupp Arena and the new “rules” on what can be signed. My family and I have been to the Women’s Clinic every year that Coach Cal has conducted it. It is one of the highlights of my year. There is no change that UK can make that will displease me. Remember, I’m the one who had my car towed (from a UK parking lot during the clinic), and I still left happy.
I assume since we are going to Rupp we will have many more folks in attendance. That is fine with me. I suspect there are many folks who have never been there, so they will be extremely pleased to visit. Unless I missed it, I think they have cut out our meal and are providing “refreshments” instead. That is okay as well. We will probably be starved since we will have gotten in line around 10 a.m., but we will survive this. The one thing I do like about being in Rupp is that we will not be out in the blazing sun as we stand in line.
I’m not sure about the thinking behind a picture with 10 people – knowing that at least 5 or 6 will be strangers. I am usually pretty positive so I will just hope I am not in a group with all skinny people. That will be a disaster with me. The fact that it will be downloadable for free will be great.
I am actually glad about part of the rules. The only problem will be that the rules are always made but never enforced. Those of us who follow the rules will buy the basketballs as asked. But about one-third of the group will bring their own basketballs and nothing will be said. And, actually being allowed three basketballs to sign will be more than we were allowed in the past. In the past few years, we were supposed to only bring one basketball and the lines moved quickly.
Prior to that we had seen women bring 10-15 basketballs to sign. One girl told me she resold them and made enough to pay one semester of her college. Making money for your educational expenses is great; however doing something that puts others participants to shame is irritating.
The funniest thing that happens every year (and all of us old folks moan as it happens) is that the coaches will ask for a volunteer. Every single coach picks one (or maybe two) particular women every year for every class. I bet it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that they come in with normal clothing and once inside suspiciously have a change of clothes that allows them to put on shorts – really short shorts – and a skimpy top. Ironically, each coach having a seminar “picks” this woman. (Okay, maybe a little sour grapes from an ornery old lady.)
I will not like the fact that I have to take a check or cash to buy basketballs because I carry neither. So, before I make the four-hour drive (from Nashville), I will have to remember to be prepared to load up on cash or find my checkbook.
For women who have never attended, I would tell you that this is the BEST $100 you will ever pay. The players are kind and patient; the coaches all seem excited to see us; and regardless of any rules, we will come home with a lifetime of memories and a signed basketball.
Yes, I love fall! And, I love basketball!!