Earlier this week, Nik Wallenda made headlines for crossing the Grand Canyon (a distance of about a quarter mile) on a tightrope, wavering precariously on a wire 1,500 feet above the canyon’s bottom. If your memory can stretch back to around this time last year, however, you’ll recall that Wallenda also walked on a tightrope directly over Niagra Falls last year- a feat first made popular by Charles Blond. Blondin was the first person to ever walk across Niagra Falls on a tightrope on June 30, 1859, and he went on to traverse the distance many more times afterwards. But don’t go thinking he just casually strolled across the Falls each time he attempted the feat- that would have been way too boring for Blondin, who began practicing tightrope in his backyard at age five. No, instead, Blondin always gave a little twist to his signature routine. Once he crossed while pushing a wheelbarrow; another time he carried a manager on his back (how the manager agreed to do that, I have no idea). He crossed the falls on stilts. He balanced a chair on the rope and stood on that. Just in case blind people weren’t impressed, he crossed with a piece of cloth tied over his eyes. One time Blondin balanced a stove on his back and cooked an omelet in the middle of the rope- AND THEN ATE IT. All while For his death-defying heroics, he earned $500 an appearance. Nik, good on ya, but I’ve gotta go Mikayla Maroney here- not impressed. At least not until you make some flapjacks in the middle of the canyon. Tonight’s News and Views are in honor of The Great Blondin. Kids, don’t try this at home.
-You know it’s a slow news day when we’re all tweeting about Coach Cal at the Kentucky speedway. As ridiculous as his jacket looks, I can’t help but hope that he’ll be inspired to bring back starter jackets for the team this year. The big guy was set to have himself a great time, driving the pace car at 45 mph- but unfortunately the event was postponed until noon Sunday because of rain. Calipari will just have to wait to be a role model for all of us who didn’t get to go to Safety City as second graders in Kentucky.
-As always, Coach Cal brought the sound bites. Regarding Nerlens Noel’s slip in the draft, Calipari added some perspective by saying “I wish he would have gone number one, but number six is fine. He’s going to have to prove himself anyway.” Cal also said he was in contact with Wiltjer via text to keep up with his transfer plans.
-Have you heard the rumblings of a potential 2010 vs 2012 matchup in the UK men’s basketball alumni game? Yes? Another player is thinking about joining- Daniel Orton. It would be his first return to Lexington since he was drafted. Hey, the more, the merrier.
-As for the future of Kentucky basketball, point guard Josh Perkins will announce August 25th after visiting Kentucky and UConn, according to Zags Blog. Perkins is the #28 player according to Rivals in the class of 2014; an offer has yet to come from Kentucky, but his father says “It’s a kid’s dream to play for Coach Calipari and play for Kentucky. However, if or when the offer comes, he won’t make a decision until the dust settles.” Perkins is also considering UConn, Minnesota, Gonzaga, UCLA, and USC.
-How is Kentucky’s athletic department keeping busy this summer? By interviewing various coaches on the football team, of course. Check out Erik Korem (Director of High Performance- not a tightrope reference, I asked) and Vince Marrow (Tight End Coach and Head Poobah of Ohio Recruiting).
-5Dimes, an online sports book, isn’t chugging the Mark Stoops Kool-Aid yet. The site released their predicted win totals for all college football teams today, and Kentucky’s over/under was set at 3.5. All of the team predictions can be found here. As always, bet responsibly, and draw the line when you find yourself putting your toddler’s Barbie playhouse at stake.
-A former Kentucky football commitment chose the Cardinals today. James Hearns, a four star linebacker, announced today that he will play at Louisville. He had originally committed to Florida, then Kentucky after Stoops was hired; however, academic concerns prevented him from signing with the Cats.
-Speaking of commitments, Nigel Bethel, a three star cornerback from Miami in the class of 2014, will be announcing his college decision on July 8th. His top six are Florida State, Miami, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Texas Tech. Come play Yahtzee, Nigel.
-It’s no secret that Kentucky football has been racking up some great PR lately, but the athletics department is taking that one step further by purchasing ads in Sports Illustrated, The Week, and Time.
Yeah, those “#YAHTZEE!” calls read like an alarm clock to me too.
-If you enjoy the feeling of your head spinning, or love watching grown men fight over twenty-something athletes, then you may enjoy these NBA trade rumors: the Dallas Mavericks are reportedly interested in Rajon Rondo, while the Toronto Raptors are throwing their hat in the ring for Eric Bledsoe. Just a couple things to keep an eye on. When all is said in done, will Boston have ANY players besides Big Baby and Kelly Olynyk?
-In troubling SEC news, four Vanderbilt football players have been kicked off the team and banned from campus in the aftermath of a Metro police sex crimes investigation. Details of what exactly the police are investigating are still unclear, but this is sure to be headline news across the country.
-Did you wake up this morning thinking, “Self, I wonder when Rick Pitino is going to write another book? I’d really love a behind-the-scenes take on his first tattoo!” If so, you’re in luck! Rick is tentatively set to write a book commemorating his epic year by this October. The working title? “The One-Day Contract: How to Add Value to Every Minute of Your Life.”
I can think of one minute of his life that cost him a LOT of value.