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Five Things I Learned Covering My First Game from the Rupp Arena Floor


You Notice so Much More Next to the Court

I’d been in the Erruption Zone once, the lower bowl one other time, but never have I ever been like Jay-Z, “so close I can trip a referee.”  The nuances of the game become so much clearer, helping me remember why basketball was my first love.

It’s hard to understand how good Tyler Ulis is at being the “floor general” until you watch him effortlessly control the ball and communicate with his teammates.  Skal Labissiere’s arms are longer than Michael Jordan’s in Space Jam.  UK’s aggressiveness on the offensive glass is impossible to ignore when you’re sitting next to the goal.  There are 2-3 players’ heads above the rim, going for the ball after damn near every shot.

You also see all of the calls refs miss.  Sometimes they just can’t get there in time.  To watch the coaches rightfully lose their minds only makes it more entertaining.

The BBN Never Ceases to Amaze Me

Once the doors were open, fans flooded Rupp Arena immediately.  I couldn’t find an empty spot in the entire Arena before the National Anthem.

Yeah, those were kind of a given, but what happened afterward threw me a curveball.  Hundreds brought basketballs courtside for Calipari to sign during his postgame comments (he didn’t stop signing the entire time).  A fraction of them dispersed to take pictures with Sacha Killeya-Jones, with another fraction of young female fans sticking around to take pictures with the UK Dance Team.

It’s easy to take the little things for granted on a daily basis, but to see the enthusiasm from the kids truly did warm my heart.

Everything Happens So Much Faster

To everybody complaining about not having a LIVE Blog, you should commend Drew and Tyler for keeping up with it for as long as they did.  If we ever bring it back, I will not be involved because there is already WAY TOO MUCH going on to keep up.  Basketball is simply too up-and-down.  It can work for football, but not basketball.  Even though I tried to keep my eyes away from the computer screen, I still was upset when I missed a put-back dunk right in front of my face in the first half.  Simply put, it’s hard enough to watch the game as is, and impossible (I’d imagine) with a LIVE Blog to maintain too.

When Drew Franklin Gives an Endorsement, Listen

Drew provided me plenty of guidance beforehand, but the best advice was, “get the City BBQ nachos.”  Criticize him all you want, but the man knows his food and drink.  It not only helped me savor the flavor, but it gave me the energy to kickass through the rest of the night.  Drew, you’re the man.

There is No Better Feeling than Walking Out of the Tunnel for the First Time

I knew it was coming and it still hit me like a freight train.

As a kid I dreamed of running out the tunnel onto the hallowed floor.  Even through high school, I wanted to play on that court in the Sweet 16.  I thought the magical feelings would change when I never reached that goal, but when I saw the hardwood for the first time, I was overwhelmed with a nervous nostalgia, all the while experiencing serenity.  I was almost ashamed that a grown ass man could turn into such a giddy child so quickly, then I remembered that I’m a Kentucky Basketball fan.  When Coach Cal says, “You people are crazy,” he’s talking to me too.

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

3 Comments for Five Things I Learned Covering My First Game from the Rupp Arena Floor

  1. spookykim
    8:29 am November 26, 2015 Permalink

    Aww, awesome read! If Tyler & Drew don’t want to do the live blog anymore, that’s fine, but KSR doesn’t have some interns that will step up to the plate?!? Bring back the live blog!!!

  2. klassact32
    9:16 am November 26, 2015 Permalink

    What a neat article, thanks Nick. I have been to many UK games usually sitting above Big Bertha. I was able to get tickets on the lower level for a game, I would call them floor seats. We were able to hear everything Cal was screaming at his players. What tv will never do justice, no matter how many replays you see, are the size of the athletes. 6-10, 7-0, 6-8, those are some huge kids. Was a memory of UK basketball I will never forget..

  3. theWilkman
    10:35 am November 27, 2015 Permalink

    I echo the sentiments. I was given seats 4 rows behind the UK bench for the NJIT game, what an experience! I never wanted to leave. Even watching the warmups was a great experience.