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Vaught’s note: Jim Boyers is a vaughtsviews.com regular and someone I got to spend time with in New Orleans at the Final Four. He’s even driven from northern Kentucky to sit in on my radio show. He’s a die-hard UK fan, and I think you will be able to tell that by the experience he had this week.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Until today, I didn’t think this UK sports year could get any better for me, as a fan. I have never experienced a greater sports-related 12 month period than the middle of October 2011 thru today, the 10th of October 2012.
I failed to get tickets for 2011’s Big Blue Madness, but that didn’t dampen my enthusiasm or anticipation of what I was sure was going to be an amazing season. We watched the festivities on TV and the season was underway. My family and I attended the Blue/White Scrimmage and finally got to see our newest set of outstanding players in person. As the season progressed, it became more and more apparent that we were witnessing a team for the ages. My first trip of the season to Rupp, for a “real” game, was the Tennessee match-up. If you remember, this was the game where UK rolled out in their Nike Elite uniforms. It was an honor to be at the unveiling of that special attire. Added to that, I got to sit in the lower arena for the first time (not counting B/W Scrimmages, which don’t really count) and I also saw a monumental beatdown put on UT. I attended all the remaining home games, with the exception of the Vandy game. StubHub tickets were just a little too high for that one.
The regular season ended, UK got booted in the SEC championship game and Selection Sunday evening finally arrived. The Cats got their well deserved #1 overall seed and the anticipation of an eighth banner reached a fever pitch. I watched every second of every UK tourney game and, when they made the Final Four, I knew that I wanted to be there.
I booked a hotel, grabbed some upper-deck tickets from StubHub and headed for Nawlins’. We all know how that turned out and the season ended, with every expectation and hope, of this fan, met in full. Add to that the individual accolades bestowed on the greatest freshman player ever and I was as happy as I have ever been as a fan.
Summertime was the usual (under Cal) onslaught of good news about recruit after recruit visiting UK and showing intense interest in being a part of the parade of #1 recruiting classes. There were NBA stars and basketball dignitaries galore on the UK campus. The Kentucky Effect was in full swing.
The end of September came and 2012 Big Blue Madness tickets went on sale. I was on my computer at 7 a.m. that morning and entered the online fray, as soon as the page was available. Unfortunately, once again, I failed to get tickets. I was bummed because I also would not be able to attend the Blue/White Scrimmage, due to a prior commitment. It would be the first time, under Cal, that I hadn’t attended one or both.
Then, a few days ago, a friend, who knew how much I wanted to attend Big Blue Madness, gave me two tickets, as a gift. I was stunned and incredibly grateful. The seats are in Section 230, row KK, which is the very top row of Rupp. My friend actually apologized that they were such bad seats. I quickly explained that there is no such thing as a bad seat in the arena. There really isn’t.
In fact, that last row is probably one of the best places to be, if you have to sit up that high. You don’t have anyone behind you, accidentally kicking or kneeing you in the back and you can put your programs, drinks, etc. behind you, without fear of them being stepped on or spilled.
Life, as a fan, was as good as it could get, or so I thought, until today. I was sitting, holding my grandson, when my cellphone rang. It was a number I didn’t recognize. I answered the call and a young man asked if I was James Boyers. When I confirmed that I was, he informed me that he was calling from the UK Athletic Association and I had been chosen to be a season ticket holder. I was so stunned, the rest of the call was a blur. My son said that I just had a totally dumbfounded look on my face.
I had entered my name, during the summer, but never really expected to get the opportunity to receive tickets. A while ago, I had called the UKAA offices and asked how many season tickets usually become available each year. The lady had informed me that they have a turnover of less than one percent. One percent!!! That’s only about 200 tickets, or 100 people (you get 2 tickets each).
I had just unwrapped the Wonka bar and found the golden ticket. I was ecstatic. Then the young man informed me that my tickets would be in Section 230, row KK. THE SAME LOCATION AS MY BBM TICKETS!! How unlikely and amazing is that?
I am flying so high right now. Words really can’t describe it. Yes, I am in the top of the arena, as far from the floor as you can get, but it just doesn’t matter. Like I stated before; there are no bad seats in Rupp. Just being in the arena is what it’s all about. Having a permanent ticket for the “worst” seat in Rupp is like dating the “least good looking” girl in a Playboy calendar…It’s still over-the-top awesome.
I have waited my whole life for this opportunity. I have a place for every game, in Rupp Arena, for as long as I want. No more wondering if I can get a ticket for a game. No more combing through StubHub and other outlets to find tickets I can afford. It just keeps thrilling me every time I think about it.
I am now a UK season ticket holder.
I am anxiously awaiting Big Blue Madness and the regular season.
I am in the top row.
I am on top of the world.