On Friday, the team leaves for the Bahamas, which means that on Sunday, Kentucky basketball will once again be back in our lives for real. This trip is the ultimate fix for the fan base that needs it the most, a treat so sweet just thinking about it gives me a toothache. Whether you’re watching at home or lucky enough to witness the games in person, here’s all you need to know about the Bahamas trip.
Let’s start off easy. Here is the schedule:
What about broadcast coverage?
It’s a little bit confusing, so I’m glad you asked. If you’re following the games on the radio, here’s the schedule you need to know for the weekdays:
10:00 – 11:30 a.m.: Matt and Drew live from the Atlantis
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Ryan Lemond and Jared Lorenzen take over
12:30 – 1:00 p.m.: Matt and Drew live from the arena
1:00 – 3:00 p.m.: Tom Leach and Mike Pratt call the game (ESPNU or SEC Network television coverage)
Approximately 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Matt’s postgame show live from the arena
For the weekend games, there will be a 30-minute pregame show and an hour postgame show. The postgame shows have potential for hilarity because Matt will be doing them by himself from the arena while the media (all six of us), players, and fans shuttle back to the Atlantis. Apparently the arena isn’t in the nicest area of Nassau, so hopefully Tom Jurich doesn’t know any Bahamian gangs…
This is where the games will be played
In fact, that’s the Ohio State team practicing today. Speaking of…
North Carolina, Ohio State, Pitt, Ole Miss, and Cincinnati will also be playing exhibition games in the Bahamas
However, they will be playing against local teams like the Commonwealth Giants, Bahama All-Stars, Street Legends All-Stars, Providence Storm, Atlantis All-Stars, and the PJ Stringers. North Carolina and Cincinnati are the only teams that will still be in the Bahamas while Kentucky is there. If you’re really interested, here are their game times:
Aug. 15: North Carolina vs. Providence Storm, 5 p.m.; Cincinnati vs. P.J. Stringers, 7 p.m;
Aug. 16: North Carolina vs. Bahamas All-Stars, 5 p.m.
Luckily for Ole Roy, there’s a Johnny Rockets in the Atlantis resort so he can get his milkshake fix.
For those going to the Bahamas…
Get ready to spend even more money
This trip is not cheap. It wasn’t cheap when you booked it, and it sure as hell won’t get any cheaper once you’re there. Everyone I’ve talked to who’s been to the Atlantis says they’ll charge you for EVERYTHING, so heads up. For instance, there’s an additional 15% gratuity charge on everything you purchase, from coffee to candy bars to souvenirs. Also, there’s a one-time $20 bellman fee that you can’t avoid. Also, don’t move stuff in the mini-fridges. The items are on sensors, so if you move that $4.50 bottle of water, it’s yours.
My advice? Bring packaged food for snacks/breakfast. My husband and I can only afford to go four days (Thursday-Sunday), and we’re planning on taking plenty of granola bars, protein bars, beef jerky, packaged snacks, etc. as we can fit in our suitcases. As long as it’s commercially packaged, it’s fine to get through customs. Word is there’s a small grocery store and liquor store across the street from the resort so you can stock up on stuff at a much cheaper price. We’re packing a soft-sided cooler in our bag so we can take drinks down to the pool or beach. Or rather, my husband can do that while I work.
However, I say all of this and I’m sure it will only go so far. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime trip, and at some point, you just have to stop worrying about penny pinching and enjoy yourself. If you’re going on this trip, you know it’s expensive, but you also know it’s worth it for the memories. (At least this is what we’ll tell ourselves when the credit card bill comes.)
Oh yeah, pack sunscreen too. Your skin and wallet will thank you for it.
Prepare for the hair braiders
If you are a female, prepare to have women come up to you on the beach and offer to braid your hair. No, this is not a fun sleepover-style bonding experience–they want you to pay them a good chunk of change to braid your hair Bahamian style. I will not be doing this.
Do the slide
Regardless of how you feel about water parks, the Atlantis has one of the best ones in the world. The main attraction is the “Leap of Faith” water slide, which is built like a Mayan Temple and drops riders 60 feet into a shark-filled lagoon. You’re inside a tube, of course, so the sharks can’t get you, but still, sharks. Back in 2008, a female reef shark apparently jumped out of its tank and landed on the slide, riding it down and dying in the chlorinated water. So, I guess it’s a little haunted, too.
I have a feeling we’ll see a video of the team going down this slide at some point, possibly with Willie wearing his beloved GoPro camera on the ride down. (Make it happen, KyWildcatsTV!)
Prepare for a line
Cruise ship passengers can buy a day pass to the water park, as can people staying at other hotels, so it will be busy. I read that if you go after the cruise shippers head back to their boats in the late afternoon, it’s not as bad, which is perfect, because we’ll be busy with basketball until then anyways.
For those watching at home…
Don’t forget to take your earphones to work
Every game starts at 1 p.m. ET, smack dab in the middle of the workday. For the three games during the week, plan on taking your earphones to listen to the radio coverage online, or if you are an expert at angling your monitors/arranging windows, watch it on WatchESPN.com. Don’t forget to keep a window open for the KSR Live Blog.
Plan lunches accordingly
It’s like March Madness all over again. Don’t worry, your boss will understand if your lunch runs late. Even if he/she doesn’t, whatever. It’s Kentucky basketball.
Clear off the DVR
If there’s no way you can see the games during the day, make sure you have space to record them on your DVR. This can understandably cause some angst. For instance, it’s safe to delete those old “Game of Thrones” episodes because they’re on HBOGO, but what about the tournament games from this past season and 2012? (Don’t roll your eyes, you know you have some of them saved too.) Delete responsibly, and for the love of God, cancel that season pass for “House Hunters.” It’s time.