Last night I watched the debut of the ESPN Documentary about the 2008 SEC Tournament in Atlanta, one of the more bizarre sporting events that I can ever remember. It was only the second that KSR ever covered, but I am not sure that we will ever have an odder one. That event, disrupted by a tornado, moved to Georgia Tech, played in a mostly empty gymnasium, and then ended quickly for UK after a loss to Georgia (including the infamous “Gillispie ordering Perry Stevenson to block a free throw moment), may never be topped for absurdity in my lifetime.
However it was also an important moment for this website. While nearly every media outlet was online covering the story, this was before Twitter and many of the traditional media folks weren’t quite as quick in their online coverage. So we posted often trying to keep people up to date throughout the night. The scene inside the Georgia Dome was scary and for a lot of people outside the arena, KSR became a place to get info as to what was going on. We saw record traffic that night and it was one of the first times that I really got a notion of how we could best utilize the blog to cover the Cats. After watching the Documentary, I went back and pulled up a couple of the posts on KSR from that night. They are linked in the title, but excerpted below. A couple of things strike me…one, I can remember by my writing just how scary those first few moments were and how much we were amazed once we realized what a crisis had been averted. Second, it is also interesting to see how much the site has changed. Even that day, when we posted more than any day previously, there were still only 11 posts on the site and unlike now, the vast majority had no pictures. It was a different internet world back then. Take a read below and see what that night was like at the time and also, click on the titles and read the comment section back then. You will notice it was (a) full of less trolls in our significantly less popular days and (b) filled with Gillispie praise, which is hilarious right now. Also take a look at the game thread of the UK-Georgia game…reading it now is absolutely hilarious:
I cant express to you how scary the last five minutes here have been. The roof on the Georgia Dome began shaking and moving in a way I cant really explain. A small hole looks to have blown on one end of the court and for a few minutes a panic came through here that I simply cannot adequately express. People began running, grabbing their families and in a panic that I simply have not been through in my life. Unbelievable
UPDATE: Dont you hate when you are at a game and life breaks out? This has been a fairly unbelievable few minutes here. Mark Gottfried just came back from the back and went into the stands and got his family to have them go for safety. That is the sense here as people everywhere are trying to figure out what to do. As the game was going on, the roof began to rumble and one side of the Georgia Dome literally began to shake violently unlike anything I have ever seen before. People began to run…the players on the court, the media, the fans in the stands, in a scene that I wont soon forget. At this point everyone is milling around in disbelief. Truly amazing scene here….
UPDATE 2: Rumors swirling around here that this could get postponed….three bolts fell from the ceiling into Section 108 in the Arena…..absoutely surreal. Best story though comes from Brett Dawson of the Courier Journal who was standing with Coach Gillispie when it happened. He told me that Gillispie took it in stride and said, “I just thought it was the Kentucky fans coming in.” Still though, it is very unclear what has actually happened to the building….amazing stuff.
It is now 1 AM here in Atlanta and I still havent gotten to see Kentucky play a game yet. In a night that can only be described as bizarre, Mississippi State and Alabama were on the court in overtime, ready to decide who would get to be the willing victim in their game against Kentucky tomorrow. And all of a sudden, in a two-minute span that was as strange as anything I have ever seen in my life, everything changed. A loud rumble went through the arena and a part of the Georgia Dome’s roof began to violently shake and some of the hanging bars and scoreboards began to sway back and forth. People began to panic, as the players on the floor went sprinting off the court, followed by the fans in the stands running to the exits. Members of the Kentucky Sports Radio crew (and yes I mean you Macon Vol Fan), began pulling a “Costanza”, knocking down people on the way to the exits as the Georgia Dome went into a collective state of shock that was unreal. A hole blew into the roof, bolts from the ceiling fell and the night turned into something much different than how it began.
As of this moment, we still dont know what time Kentucky will play or what the schedule will be. But we do know that Atlanta has been hit by a tornado that caused heavy, heavy damage. The Cats still havent taken the floor and we are about to record a podcast that may end up being “Marshall County Hoopfest”-esque in its absurdity. Awww SEC Tournament, you never let me down….