OK, this update may be a bit sloppy because I am writing it in the bleachers while the crappy teams no one cares about take up time until UK plays. To the highlights:
-If you haven’t seen the pictures I am taking here, you really should. They are hilarious. My favorite is either the one with the open bar next to the entrance, or the one with the open bar behind the bleachers. Or maybe the one with the team warming up next to the open bar. So many Billy Clyde jokes to make:
— Why am I tired today? I blame Mr. Patterson. A bunch of us hung out at the hotel last night, with Mr. Patterson hanging out with us. He has a way of making people do what he wants. Ugh. I tried to explain to him that I was allergic to whiskey–which is true–but he just gave me one of his looks. I’d rather get hives than cross that man.
— The girl I was with can’t quite handle her liquor like a normal Kentucky fan should, and she threw up. ON THE BAR. You should have seen the look all the people gave me. It was that combination of revulsion and condescension that UK fans give to fans from lesser SEC teams when they try to talk about basketball. For a brief and awful second, I felt like a Vandy fan.
— And by the way–even though we are both adults and I know Patrick Patterson’s father has a first name, I won’t refer to him like that. He is huge and intimidating and a force of nature, so he’s Mr. Patterson to me.
Screw you, sitting on your couch judging me about this–you’d call him that to his face also, I guarantee.
— At EVERY game today, the UK fans outnumbered the fans from the other two teams. Combined. I kept a running fan count. This is the actual number of fans at each game–I counted them:
Rider: 12 fans
FAMU: 5 fans
Stanford: 42 fans
Virginia: 25 fans
Oral Roberts: 24 fans
Sam Houston State: 6 fans
Cleveland State: 8 fans (they’re all staying at a different resort, hence no fan packages sold)
Kentucky: ~1000 (I didn’t actually count all of our fans, come on, but we filled every bleacher and there’s an open bar ten feet away from me)
— I wouldn’t have believed this if I hadn’t seen it myself: All the players on the other teams treat John Wall like he’s a celebrity. I don’t think they’d admit they do it, but when you watch them, they all break their necks staring at him when he walks by and the open practice was filled with players from the other teams–even the ones we aren’t playing–watching him. I keep expecting one of them to ask him for an autograph.
— At the end of the first half of the FAMU/Rider game, a FAMU player took a half court shot, and he came really close to hitting one of the chandeliers. I think he may have done that on purpose though. I wonder what the call would be if a player did that?
— The only good thing about the facilities being so crappy is that you really are RIGHT on top of the game. It’s much more intense that seeing the game on TV, or even at most arenas. It reminds me of when I played Dirt Bowl at Shillito Park growing up.
-There is a guy on Oral Roberts named “Beloved Rogers.” That’s his real name. And yeah, the Oral Roberts coach is Scott Sutton. Eddie’s son.
-I was talking to one of the players about the girls here, he says the same thing I do: “Yeah, there is NOTHING here. At the pool yesterday every girl we talked to turned out to be in high school. Cuz got so freaked out by it he went back to his room.” Good to know our boys have standards.
— When Cleveland State took the floor, I started laughing. Openly laughing at them. I don’t care what the press guide says, no one on that team is taller than 6′8″. They had no chance.
—- Cal is seriously intense on the sidelines. He is yelling all the time. But it’s not angry yell. It’s intense. There is a difference. You can tell, it’s never about being pissed, it’s just that he cares so much and is so focused.
I don’t lknow if I am explaining it correctly. I’ve had a-hole screamers coaches, and teacher screamer coaches, and he is a teacher screamer.
— He took Bledsoe out in the first half because of all his turnovers, and told him to “go to the end of the bench.” You could tell Bledsoe was pouting; he pulled his jersey out and sat literally at the end of the bench. Then Cal yelled at him because he was sitting off the floor. It was pretty funny; like a dad dealing with a child almost.
— Darius Miller passed up an open shot, and Cal got upset, took him out and yelled at him, “Why wont you shoot?!?” Darius does seem very tentative about putting up shots. I don’t know why, but it’s clear he still has some mental growing to do to become a legit college player.
— Dodson sits at the end of the bench. Like, he sits literally at the very end, next to Delk and Padgett. I don’t know what he did, but it must have been pretty bad to put our best shooter not only on the bench, but at the END of it. Liggins sits right in the middle with everyone else.
— Except for Darius passing up shots, Cal subs for mistakes on defense only. He gets PISSED when guys screw up defensive rotations or effort. But again–it’s a loving angry, not a demeaning angry.
— With about 3 minutes left in the first half, that sick move John Wall made on the fast break and then missed the free throw. Yeah, Cal was pissed. His exact quote from the sideline to Wall, “NO MORE SHOW TIME JOHN!!”
— All in all, it was an awesome game and a good win. I felt like we played kinda slow and boring, but we still cruised to a 20+ point victory. It was almost like a practice at the end, Cal was coaching so much.
— I am totally and completely serious about this: I have been recognized in Cancun multiple times, but NOT because I wrote a best-selling book that has sold a million copies–because I wrote a post yesterday on THIS website. I swear to god, I would NOT say this if it weren’t true, because the last thing Matt Jones needs is more of an ego boost. I thought the only people who’d read this would be BTI, Beisner, and a few other scattered fools. But apparently A LOT of Kentucky fans actually read this site, even on vacation. Who knew?
— In that same vein, the boys from Crittenden County would like everyone in Big Blue Nation to know that they are here supporting our Cats. And they would also like everyone to know that they are trying to break the open bar.
— I just read through this post and I know it kinda sounds like I am name-dropping about getting to talk to the players or the families or whatever, but I’m really not. The thing is, I am not getting any special treatment–Matt Jones may be a star in Middlesboro, but he doesn’t even have enough pull to get me press credentials down here. My access to the players and other people is no different than anyone else. This thing is so different than any other sporting event I’ve ever been to. You really are this close to the coaches, players and events. If you ever get a chance to go to one of these things, as a fan, I would recommend it. You see a side of the game and the people you don’t see anywhere else.