I love that you are honest, kind and helpful to me and my family. You are a good husband, son, and brother-in-law.
I love that you maintain friendships and relationships outside our own. It makes my heart happy. I love that we appreciate many of the same things--creating a home together, spending time together after work, listening to good music, traveling, loving on our dogs and making special meals together.
I love that you know me so well. I can talk to you about anything ad complain about school and you're always sympathetic. It's amazing that you know when I'm tired, hungry or sickly before I ever say so. I don't know any other husband that can mind-read!
I love that you play Jeopardy every night after work (and keep score) and that the real reason you love playing trivia on Thursdays is for the actual trivia questions.
I love how passionate you are about Kentucky football--even during a less than stellar season.
Yesterday was Lynn's birthday. We went to a great dinner at a la lucie* and then to the Appalachian Voices tour, featuring Jim James, Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore. We had a great time.
Since I work downtown, I walked to the restaurant and had a drink while I waited for Lynn. During that time, I had occasion to think about what makes someone who they are. In High Fidelity, John Cusak's character says that we can be defined by what we like. While that may be part of it, I think that alone will give you an incomplete and shifting picture. For example, I used to listen to Phish constantly--had a bunch of bootlegs, went to several nights' worth of shows in a row, that kind of stuff. Now, I can't remember the last time I listened to them. Anyway, while thinking about this, I could only think of two things about me I hope remain constant til the day I'm on my deathbed. Those are (in no particular order):
1. A University of Kentucky football season ticket holder; and 2. Lynn's husband.
Happy birthday, Lynn! I think July 22 should be a national holiday.
Patterson, Wall, Cousins, and the rest of the team gave us a season to smile about--even if it did end a little too early. I agree with Ben that basketball is exciting to watch again. The only change I would make to Ben's previous post:
Come on, babe. How can you end any sincere "go cats" with a period?
*You may see a post on Ben's foul language in the future. I'm pretty sure God has a hard time answering my prayers when He notices I'm sitting next to the Devil.
Last night, the West Virginia Mountaineers beat the Kentucky Wildcats in the Elite Eight, ending our run and our dream season.1 I thought I would have been a lot more upset about it than I am.2 Lynn and I talked about it last night while slogging through another terrible episode of Saturday Night Live.3 This season has been so great and so much fun that it's really hard to get mad about losing this one game. I wanted to write something before I started to read all the breakdowns and commentary from around the internets so my opinion wouldn't be colored by anything anyone else had to say, so here goes.
As for the game itself, WVU is by far the best team we played this year.4 I had a bad feeling about the game for that reason, and Kentucky message boards and blogs weren't helping me out. Leading up to our other two losses, I had noticed an extremely high amount of fan hubris on those sites, and it was the same going into this game. Why our fan base would choose to get cocky going into a game with the best two-seed in the tournament when the same fan base had really sweated Cornell is beyond me. You can only read "ZOMG their point guard broke his foot GO CATS" and "Billy Gillispie beat this team last year, they must suck LOL" so many times before you start to worry that the universe is going to have its revenge.
Anyway, I think Bob Huggins knew there was only one way he was going to beat UK--hit threes early. They did. The announcers talked at length about WVU not being a three point shooting team, but they shot over 33% for the year--not great, but not too shabby either. UK simply could not hit threes--once we began hitting, we were too far in the hole to come back and because time was running low, we had to put them on the free throw line every time down the court for the last two point five minutes.
Their ability to hit big shots, and our inability to do same, is not the whole story. I think the two coaches' perimeter defensive plans were the same--let them shoot, and if they beat you from beyond the line, they beat you from beyond the line. Last night, that worked out for WVU and not for us. Beyond that, Huggins outcoached Calipari. Because we couldn't hit threes, used a 1-3-1 zone to pack players in the interior while still keeping them in position to challenge threes. And during the second half, Huggins took great advantage of our wariness of letting them have the outside shot to run a lot of great cuts and screens to get his guys to the basket for easy shots. Our inability to hit free throws didn't help either.
So, that's likely the last time Patrick Patterson, John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins put on UK uniforms.5 And that sucks. Patterson has been the backbone of this team for three years. He's been here through thick and thin. And I will hate to see him go. I was wary we would get OJ Mayo, Jr., with Wall and/or Cousins--a foul-tempered ballhog on the take who, for all his individual greatness, cannot lead a team to an excellent season. To me, Wall and Cousins defied every stereotype of the "one and done" player--they were selfless on the court and very involved with the school off it. It's been particularly special to watch Cousins' evolution over the year. He's gone from potential team-wrecker--John Carlson told me before the season to watch out because Cousins had physically fought a high school coach--to a fan favorite. After reading about all the things Cousins had to go through in high school (admittedly some of which were self-created) to see him evolve into a great basketball player and a good kid off the court has been great. Maybe all these guys will pull a Florida 2005 and decide to return. I doubt it, but it will be nice to think about.
The four years preceeding this season were rough. I watched every game I could, but I was never excited about it. That all changed this year. Even though we lost this game, I am proud to be a fan of this team.
More to come at some point, but thinking about all this has kind of mentally worn me out. Go Cats.
1I freely use the pronouns "we" and "our" when referring to University of Kentucky sports. That bothers some people, but I find it convenient. For some reason, though, I hate it when people say "my" when referring to their preferred team, i.e., "my Wildcats."
2That doesn't mean my language during the game wasn't foul. It was. Lynn has said more than once that she thinks God is going to jinx UK because of my bad language during games, that it counteracts all the praying for our team that she does.
3If Don friggin Draper can't make your show worth a damn, it never will be.
4We tried to schedule good teams--UNC, UCONN, Louisville--but they all ended up having off seasons, so with the exception of UT and Vanderbilt, we didn't play any teams that ended up in the top 25 at the end of the regular season.
5Apparently some experts have Eric Bledsoe and, of all people, Daniel Orton going lottery to late first round in the NBA draft. I really think both of these guys, and especially Orton, could benefit from one more year.
1. Did our vast readership see the Tim and Pam Tebow commercial for Focus on the Family during the Super Bowl last night? I thought the media hype surrounding it was probably going to be much ado about nothing, and that seems to be the case--at least with the ad's pro-life leanings. I at first thought, "Wow. Focus on the Family is so media-savvy that they proposed to CBS an innocuous commercial urging viewers to visit their website, with not so much as a whiff of pro-lifery, knowing that the media would run with it and tear it apart, then they could step back and criticize the 'liberal out-of-touch elite media'," but then I realized I just saw Tim Tebow form-tackling his mother like he was Bill Goldberg. That was a blind side Sandra Bullock would've been proud of (ZING get it topical Oscar humor). I still can't imagine Focus on the Family, of all groups, would cave to pressure not to air an explicitly pro-life commercial, but that smacked of something hastily added for extra padding because something had been lopped off at the end. Given that no news reports about the commercial mentioned this in the run-up to the game, this seems more likely. Maybe CBS demanded they change it up. Anyway, long story short--abortion is bad, matricide is good. Or something. We still had one supremely in-bad-taste Tebow abortion joke at our gathering last night, though. So, in a weird way, they got their message across without out even saying the word.
2. Why is everyone so shocked this morning that the Saints won? They were one of the two best teams in the NFL this year. Their defense was dominant early in the season. Drew Brees has been the statistically greatest quarterback of the last three years. Even so, people are still saying the Colts--a team that almost got beat by the friggin Jets--choked the game away. The Colts come back from a substantial deficit to win, they're the greatest team in NFL history; the Saints do the same thing, they got lucky. I think this just proves that most sportswriters are fools and/or that I put too much time and energy into thinking about what sportswriters think.