As part of our 5-year anniversary here at KSR, we are going to honor our first ever KSR Hall of Fame Class over the next 5 days. You voted in HUGE numbers, and selected 5 people and things that represent the growth and popularity of KSR more than anything. Each day this week during the 10AM post, one of the KSR writers will honor an inductee in whatever way they feel proper. Today we honor THE DOOR, an object on the University of Memphis’ campus that the UK fanbase became fixated on. Will the soon to be coach of Kentucky, John Calipari, walk through that door, was the question for a couple days. Looking back, it was totally worth it to watch an inanimate object for that period of time. Today, THE DOOR is honored by another KSR legend, the original Intern, John Wilkinson Wilkerson Wilkenston W., who honors our 2nd KSR Hall of Fame Inductee, THE DOOR:
What do we, as humans, want out of a door?
Open. Close. Slide. Latch. Lock. Let people in, let people out. Not too complicated, right?
But what about when a door opens you?
The month of March typically breeds anxious optimism in the Bluegrass; the air begins to thaw, the roosters roost, and the Cats embark on an annual chase for almighty tournament glory. But the March of 2009, however, was a tough pill to swallow for Big Blue fans, who traditionally have very little trouble ingesting pharmaceuticals. The NIT hit home, hard. Billy Gillispie’s tact had become, at best, elementary; his act, rudimentary; his results, uncustomary. He had devolved into the role of ‘creepy’–a clam-handed old man who at family functions no longer attempted to hide his unquenchable thirst for the buzz because he didn’t like anyone in his family anyway and if he went down in his own flames at least they were his flames, kiss my ass.
So Gillispie went down in flames, and for the second time in four years, Kentucky Basketball went back on the market. From the moment ol’ Tex finally took that last bus back to Abilene to the day John Calipari accepted his Big Blue throne was, for all Kentucky fans, a hysterical haze. Officially, it was a mere four days, but those days produced a lifetime of memories. And there is not a better memory I can think of than this, ehh, object here before us today. Door, you not only captivated a nationwide audience for an entire day, but you came to symbolize the weathered reverie of fan base who simply wanted to know what it was like to smile again.
We met you on the 30th of March, 2009. Rumors that their beloved coach was contemplating packing up his unprecedented recruiting prowess, firm handshake and silver tongue had the city of Memphis in a tizzy: riots spilled onto city streets, bullets wizzed about the muggy air, and residents were also angry about Kentucky poaching their basketball coach and did all they could to show their support for Mayor Calipari. As with any juicy nugget of information with a sweet rumor filling in this hyper age of instant information, facts were twisted and speculation ruled. With reports that Cal was in the University’s athletic offices discussing his future, the local Fox affiliate and the intrepid reporter Les Smith set up a live feed of what was then a rather inconspicuous side door at the unsurprisingly drab facility, with the hopes that eventually Cal, hell, someone with some answers, would eventually emerge.
So we watched. And watched. All of us, staring at this door and into the core of our existence. Work production in Kentucky and Memphis bottomed out sometime around lunch. Babies went without food, horses without water, Camrys without brakes and internet servers crashed like they were night racin’ at Dega. Thankfully, the feed included a chat log, so fans and onlookers could wax poetic with insightful quips like, “PENIS!!!!11!” and “open da doooor” and “OMG Im sooo high, lol.”
If Calipari had actually walked out Door I expected a newscaster to break onto the air with the stark earnestness of Walter Cronkite telling a nation its invincible leader had been assassinated.
Through it all–the round the clock coverage, the nationwide scrutiny, a cardboard OJ Mayo–Door remained the professional that it is, statuesque and composed as if it were guarding Buckingham Palace. I’m not sure there’s another door on this planet who could have done the same.
Critics, of course, say Door is merely an inanimate object, devoid of feeling and thought. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. I’m not trying to belittle history’s other notable doors. Rick Pitino’s “…that door” up in Boston had a good run, and I suppose if you like a little organ with your LSD, Jim Morrison may suffice. I certainly would never say a bad word about doors #1-3 on Nickelodeon’s What Would You Do?nor John Fogerty’s backdoor, but they could never withstand the tug and pull of a people desperate to retain their leader and a people starving for a return to glory…and five-star recruits.
Door, your simulcasted presence crashed KSR servers beyond recognition, probably got some people fired and made many of us rethink the direction of our lives, but I think I speak for all of us here in Big Blue Nation when I say, thank you and congratulations.
May we all be so lucky as to one day have you hit us in the ass on the way out.