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Larry and Tina Cox in St. Louis prior to a UK NCAA Tournament game. (photo submitted)

Larry and Tina Cox in St. Louis prior to a UK NCAA Tournament game. (photo submitted)

By TINA COX

This past weekend was one of the best I have ever experienced.  It was a first for me.  I went to my first NCAA tournament as a Kentucky fan. For years I’ve wanted to but I took a “Leap of Faith” and bought tickets for Sundays game, made hotel reservations and my husband and I headed out Friday evening.  Logistics would not allow us to arrive in time for Fridays game.  I knew we would have to listen to the first half of the Kentucky/Kansas State game on the radio. If the CATS were to win we’d  be ready for Sunday, if they lost I’d be on the streets selling some really good tickets.

We watched the second half of the game at Maggie’s Pub surrounded by Wichita State and Kansas fans.  I’m all decked out in my Kentucky gear looking for some fellow CAT fans.  Finally a few wandered in after the game.  I soon learned that when you pass someone with CATS gear on you nod and say, “Go CATS.” Friday night was a success for a few reasons:  the CATS won and I did not argue with any Wichita State fans.  Those if you who know me realize the latter was a huge accomplishment.

As you walk around you know where everyone is from.  School colors dictate your wardrobe.  Wichita State fans were everywhere.  They were showing up by the bus loads and I was daring one of them to say something to me.  My husband was praying no one would.  You don’t talk about the the Wildcats in front of me. I was primed for a heated discussion.

After dining with my favorite sports journalist (Larry Vaught) we headed to Joe Bucks, the hang-out for the fans.  We went to take a seat at the bar and a guy grabbed my arm.  He informed me the CATS were going down.  I informed him they weren’t.  I told him we were used to being at the tournament and they weren’t therefore I would excuse his behavior.  Everyone at his table started laughing.  We ended up spending the rest of the evening together.  We discussed basketball, basketball and more basketball.

We arrived at Scott Trade Center in time to watch Kansas get beat.  Not a bad way to start off the afternoon.  We were lucky to have seats about 25 feet from the basket.  It was a dream come true for me.  Little did I know that I was going to experience a game Kentucky fans would never forget.  I won’t go into details of the game but I will tell you I have never experienced as many emotions in 40 minutes.  At the two minute mark my palms were sweating, handshaking and heart was beating so fast I thought I might pass out.  Visions of the Duke game danced through my head during the final time out.  The three-point attempt went up 25 feet from me and it seemed like it took forever for it to bounce off the rim.  I had tears of joy.  I was a part of something special.  I could not ask for more.

If you are ever afforded the opportunity to go to the NCAA tournament do not pass it up. Next year I will do the same.  Pack up your Kentucky gear and show your pride.  I discovered what swag was when I walked out the arena on Sunday and it felt good!!

Click on the photo above to view a video of Larry Vaught talking to UK cheerleader Dylan Smith.

Click on the photo above to view a video of Larry Vaught talking to UK cheerleader Dylan Smith.

Click on the photo above to watch the video of Juliet McCreary talking about the Cats' 20th National Championship recently.

Click on the photo above to watch the video of Juliet McCreary talking about the Cats’ 20th National Championship recently.

Click on the photo above to see the UK Dance Team, with Larry Vaught and Jamee Stephens, wish you a Merry Christmas.

Click on the photo above to see the UK Dance Team, with Larry Vaught and Jamee Stephens, wish you a Merry Christmas.

By LARRY VAUGHT

When I got home from visiting my two grandchildren in Nashville tonight, my Thanksgiving had the perfect ending thanks to this note from Bryan May. I hope you enjoy it, too.

“Happy Thanksgiving Larry. You’ve always been my information lifeline whenever I’m deployed. I’m fortunate to be with family this holiday season but I continue to read vaughtsviews for my UK updates. Thank you for all of the information you continue to provide us fans through vaughtsviews. I hope you and your family have a happy holidays.

A Kentucky fan stationed in Virginia.”

Wow. One of those protecting myself, Kentucky fans and everyone else taking time to wish me and my family a happy holidays. That’s what makes my job so fulfilling and enjoyable. Kentucky fans are the best and thanks Bryan for the kind words. But more than anything else, thanks for your service for all of us and hope you and yours truly had a blessed holiday.

Podcast for Larry Vaught’s Blue Zoom Radio Show for Nov. 26, 2013, with Larry Vaught and co-host David Hopewell, and former UK quarterback Freddie Maggard.

Podcast for Larry Vaught’s Blue Zoom Radio Show for Nov. 21, 2013, with Larry Vaught and co-host Tom Brown, father of UK offensive coordinator Neal Brown.

Oscar Combs and Larry Vaught remember Joe Dean Sr., Mr. String Music in the SEC, who passed away over the weekend.

Oscar Combs and Larry Vaught remember Joe Dean Sr., Mr. String Music in the SEC, who passed away over the weekend.

Podcast for Larry Vaught’s Blue Zoom Radio Show for Nov. 14, 2013, with Larry Vaught and co-host former UK player David Hopewell.

Podcast for Larry Vaught’s Blue Zoom Radio Show for Nov. 8, 2013, with Larry Vaught and co-host former UK player David Hopewell.

catalist

For IPhones/IPads, and new for Android devices, the Catalist app by Larry Vaught is the best way to keep up with UK basketball. It's free!

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