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By LINDA SINCLAIR
My friend Christy Barger and I went to the Alumni Game together. She got to our seats before I did. TShe asked where the seat and row was when she was at the top of Rupp. I was talking to a man too young to be wearing a blue coat and was telling him if he could wear a blue coat so could I, he agreed. I want my BLUE COAT! I asked him where the seats where, he said all the way down in front. I said how far down, he said all the way down. I said where? He said you see that concrete and the walkway, I said yes, he said that row of seats, the first row.
I thought I was going to give birth to the next 5 Five star recruits right there on the spot! FIRST ROW, ALMOST UNDER THE BASKET, RUPP ARENA…I GOT DOWN ON MY KNEES WHEN I GOT DOWN THERE AND THANKED THE BASKETBALL GODS, BUDDHA, EVERY SUPREME BEING I COULD THINK OF, SAINTS, ANGELS, SERAPHIM’S, ARCHANGELS, COACH RUPP, NAISMITH and even my dearly departed.
Can you imagine? It was only the Alumni Game, but holy moly, I, Linda Sinclair, little old lady from Lexington West was sitting in the first row at Rupp Arena. OK, it was not center court, but boy oh boy. It can’t get much better than this. I have met my idols, Mickey Mantle and Ali. I met Pete Rose, got kissed by the Lettermen, made Bill Medley blush, left Robic and Kenny Payne speechless. I made Matt Jones night a couple years ago. I also made Mickey Mantle smile. BUT to have front row seats in Rupp Arena, to see AD, Josh ‘Never Keeps His Promises’ Harrellson, PPat, MKG, TJ, Ramon, Jared, John ‘The 23 Yr Old $80 Million Man’ Wall, etc up close and almost personal…someone pinch me please.
I think I have died and gone to heaven, my Blue Heaven! Christy and I both looked at each other when I finally sat down and said the same thing at the same time, “Can you believe this?” She was so nervous she could not hold her hand still to take a picture. I was so elated I could not sit still in my seat…oh wait, that is me all the time!
I talked to MKG’s mother and thanked her for her son and for the fine young man he is. She said she didn’t do it for anyone other than for him. Well, I still thanked her any way, we need more like her, Mrs. Patterson, Mrs. Knight, Mrs. Davis, Mrs. Bledsoe and all the wonderful mothers who raise wonderful children.
I wish I could calculate how much money was on that floor tonight but I do not think it was anything close to the amount of pride if you could have measured the pride in Cal’s face. I know how proud I am of all my boys and I can only imagine what he must feel. I doubt if there are any words at all to describe it. Some of the pictures I got of him I think reflect what he was feeling.
This game and evening may be a great recruiting tool, but to me, it is a great memory to carry with me when I’m rockin’ in the rocking chair at the nursing home and can’t remember much else.
I didn’t have to worry about losing, no matter the outcome, it was a win/win situation. Yes, in my heart I know it was not a ‘real’ game but you will not be able to tell me that tomorrow, next week or the week after or the week after. It was John Wall, it was AD, it was TJ, it was MKG, it was Brandon Knight, it was Patrick Patterson, it was so much more than those names. It was my boys wearing blue and white, running up and down the court at Rupp Arena again, enjoying themselves, feeling the love amongst themselves, feeling the love of the BBN, seeing the pride on Cal’s face and knowing that they had once played in the Cathedral of College Basketball, knowing they were still welcomed, still loved and still brothers. Most were only there for one spectacular year, a few for more than that. Some were there before Cal and Cal has embraced them and made them feel a part of this program again. He has invited them back home on more than one occasion. Doesn’t that just bring tears to your eye, it does to mine and I hope I will not bore you with another story about last night again too soon. I sure hope some of y’all start posting again. I think I am all used up right now! LOL Isn’t there some kind of game coming up this weekend?
I don’t want to forget, I don’t want the ‘glow’ to wear off for a long time. They mean so much to all of us. There were so many of them in one place at one time, so many in the Cathedral of Basketball entertaining the Emperor and his subjects. We think we will never have another group like we have in the present year and Cal brings in a new group and what do you know, we have more special young men. Some of these young men Cal never got to coach but can you imagine if he had?
I think Jay is having a bro affair with Cal now. I know he is having a love affair with Kentucky and the BBN. Cal is a genius, he invites Jay to his home and Jay is mesmerized by him and his personality. Cal works his magic gives him some good old Kentucky cooking and bourbon and Jay is a fan for life. He got to see the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Cal has the biggest heart of anyone. He truly cares; sometimes I wonder how he finds time to do all he does and still have time to breathe.
BTW, Got to meet and talk with Tod Lanter. Very nice young man and he had a smile on his face from ear to ear and he was very pleasant and kind to this old woman.
Thank you Coach Cal and thank you Coach Rupp.