Hope is a powerful thing. As we’ve finished the seasons in both football and basketball, it’s fair to ask, has this been the worst 365 days in modern Kentucky sports?
Eliminate any foresight; say you could only see twenty minutes into the future (in other words, pretend you’re Dan Gilbert). This would be the worst time ever to be a Kentucky fan, right? Our football team failed to meet even our low-ish expectations, and the basketball team forsook its usual dominance for a brief spot in the NIT. Joker was fired, Nerlens got hurt, and even the Triple Crown got our hopes up before letting us all down with a bout of tendonitis. Even years where one of our sports struggled, the other has done okay. When BCG missed the NCAA Tournament in 2008-09, at least the football team won a bowl game under Rich Brooks. And almost every other year, when football has missed a postseason, basketball has been there to give us a reason to celebrate. This year was the first in a long time where neither season gave us a postseason to look forward to.
Even worse, in the mire of all our disappointment, Louisville’s had the best year ever. Don’t worry, this isn’t a post about Louisville, but it’s easy to look at our year, and look at theirs, and get a little sad. It’s okay; you don’t have to feel bad about that. They had a great year, and we didn’t. It’s just salt in the wound.
So why, with every reason to pout, are people around Lexington still in such good spirits? Like I said, hope is a powerful thing. I hate the “wait til next year” retort, but it’s never been more appropriate. Go ahead and take off your Dan Gilbert glasses (sometimes called “Beer Goggles” because they only focus on what action you can get in the next third of an hour), and that’s easy to understand. The week after the basketball season was over, there are two images that convey that almost perfectly:
Hope is a powerful thing. It’s taken what should have been the worst time to be a UK fan, and turned it into a tiny blip on the Big Blue Nation’s calendar. In spite of last season, it’s a great time to be a Kentucky fan. And don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.