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UK vs Duke Brings Out Silliness in Kentucky Senate Race

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Sometimes stories are so ridiculous that you cant even make them up. Case in point, the absurd way that US Senate Candidates are utilizing March Madness. Most of the time, when politicians try to become “men of the people”, they end up looking silly…think Dukakis in the tank, McCain using “Joe the Plumber” and John Kerry shooting geese. Be who you are, and chances are if you are running for office, you are neither (a) cool or (b) a man of the people. Its ok, embrace it.

Now we have this US Senate race in Kentucky in which both the Republican and Democratic Primary features a UK grad vs a Duke grad. So what do the politicians do…try to out “BLUE” each other and make clear that their opponent went to the other school. First came Trey Grayson, with this advertisement about his opponent Rand Paul, who went to Duke Medical School:

Not too bad…Grayson is a true UK fan and during our podcasts, he has shown to be the biggest Cat fan of the candidates. He makes not of Paul’s Duke ties and says, “hey folks, vote for the Cat.” Now one could argue that making light of Paul going to one of the best medical schools in America may seem strange, but whatever…its all in good fun.

So if you liked subtlety, then maybe something was in Grayson’s advertisement for you. But not from my fellow Democrats. Yes the boys in Blue, found a way to take what should have been a subtle slap and turn it into something ridiculous. Attorney General Jack Conway went to Duke and is running against Daniel Mongiardo, who went to Kentucky. Mongiardo wanted to have a “friendly wager” in which he would put up “hunting lessons in Western Kentucky” for Conway up against “golf lessons at a Louisville country club” if either’s alma mater went further in the tournament. Notice the subtle “I am country and he is elitist” theme, which is ridiculous since both men are rich and neither could hunt their way out of a paper bag. Conway rejected the idea, because he is a UK fan over Duke, and then Mongiardo sent out this press release:

Mongiardo campaign spokesperson, Kim Geveden said, “We are disappointed that Jack Conway could not get into the spirit of the NCAA Tournament shared by millions of Kentuckians. I guess the fact that Jack is trailing Daniel by 18 points in the latest Bluegrass Poll has removed any sense of humor Jack may have had. But he really should lighten up and take Coach Cal’s advice — ‘have fun.’”

“It’s too bad Conway is so sensitive about attending Duke that he cannot identify with the good natured fun of the NCAA. After all, even in these difficult economic times, a love for Wildcat basketball during March Madness is a common bond shared by Kentuckians of every political stripe and economic standing. It’s too bad Jack Conway doesn’t understand that,” Geveden added.

Geveden dismissed Conway’s claim to have picked Kentucky over Duke in his NCAA bracket saying, “Real Wildcat fans aren’t fooled by Jack’s claim to having picked Kentucky over Duke. While it is interesting to watch Jack flip-flop on his allegiance to his alma mater, we can’t help but wonder how Jack’s fellow Dukies will react when they learn that one of their own has apparently forsaken them and Duke Blue Devil fans everywhere.”

Mongiardo had wagered that if his Wildcats lost and Duke advanced farther in the NCAA tournament than U.K., Mongiardo would purchase a hunting license for Conway and serve as his personal hunting guide on a turkey hunt in western Kentucky. If Conway lost and Kentucky advanced farther, Conway would serve as Mongiardo’s personal golf instructor at Louisville’s Audubon Country Club, where Conway is a member.

That press release reads as if it was written by the lamest person who thinks they are cute in the state. Here is a little secret folks…I run the largest Kentucky blog on the internet and probably put more hours into following Kentucky basketball than any person that doesnt work at, or play for, the program. And you know what, I WENT TO DUKE. Why? Because it is a good school, even if it is full of the dorkiest, most annoying basketball fans in the world. And you know what else? I HATE THEIR BASKETBALL PROGRAM with a passion that isnt really matched by anything except for my dislike for Jay Leno, Skip Bayless and black olives. And you know what else? IF YOU ASKED ME TO BE FOR DUKE, I WOULD PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE. I hate them that much. Does that mean I am not a Kentuckian or that I couldnt name every UK player since the late 1940s when you wouldnt know what a Carlos Toomer was if he came and sat on your lap? I dont think so.

So no, Mongiardo you didnt score any political points…you looked like John Kerry shooting the geese…talking about something you dont know in a way that makes you look smug and ridiculous. I have no dog in the Senate fight and three of the four candidates (besides Paul) have been on our podcast and all seemed likeable. But folks, you are running for Senate, not for President of the UK Alumni Assocation. If going to Duke means you cant cheer for UK, then you come take Kentucky Sports Radio out of my cold, dead hands. Or at least debate Bryan the Intern…whichever you prefer.

Article written by Matt Jones