Every Friday from now until football season, I give this post up to you. You give me your favorite, most memorable, funniest, saddest, whatever story related to UK athletics. It doesn’t have to be any minimum length although the person who send me a 1-sentence post probably will not make it. But I just want the story that you always tell your friends or means the most to you. You don’t have to use your name. Just send it to me at [email protected]
In the summer of 1988, I answered a phone call at our home in Spencer County, Kentucky.
“Is this…Brian Jeffiers?” a halting, elderly voice asked me.
Ever the McGruff-wise youth, I dodged. “Who’s speaking?” I said.
“This is Happy Chandler,” the voice replied.
I laughed. “Who is this really?” I said.
Insistently, the voice replied, “This is Happy Chandler. Is this Brian Jeffiers?”
“Yes,” I replied, figuring that even if revealing my identity got me kidnapped, I’d at least know if it really had been Happy Chandler.
“Well,” Happy said, “I heard that you’re a tall young man, and I wanted to talk to you about playing basketball at the…University of Kentucky.”
Now it was getting really goofy. I was 14 years old, a hair over 6 feet tall, but weighed just 160 pounds if I had a good supply of change in my pocket. I had played on our school’s basketball team in 7th grade but hadn’t even made the basketball team my 8th grade year–mainly because I stunk. As a farm boy, I would have considered it far more likely that I’d get a call from a competitive bovine obstetrics team than from any sports team.
But Happy never acknowledged any other identity, despite my pleadings through the rest of the call. After we hung up–cordially, of course; the man was once governor, after all–I racked my brain trying to figure out who had pranked me. But I never came up with a credible idea, and since this was in the days before caller ID, I had nothing to go on.
I can only conclude that it really was him, and that I missed my chance to wear the blue. Oh, well. Competitive bovine obstetrics is no shame either.
I have many, so this is the first. My friend John L. and I would spend winter Sunday mornings sitting out around Memorial for lottery numbers for the prime seats back in the day (think, Pitino’s good years). The process was pretty brutal, but worth it for lower seats in section 31. Yes, that’s mid-court. After the admins drew the number and the trading was over (you 40 year olds know what I mean), we got our tickets and snuck down to Memorial’s floor. The line for tickets strung around the middle level, coming from the concourse into the coliseum and, going around, then back out. So, a few hundred students were up there at the time. There was a rack of balls so we decided to shoot on the hallowed ground until we got kicked off. John was more of a three point shooter and when he shot, a few kids yelled “THREEEEE,” as per Pitino’s instructions to the crowd at the time. After a few shots, everyone was yelling it and when he hit one, they all went crazy. Then, someone yelled “dunk it,” and I gave it a shot. I guess it was the adrenaline, but I finally snuck one in (my first and last ever) and got a great reaction from the crowd. We both decided our basketball careers had peaked at this point so we left to a little applause from our fellow fans. I can’t imagine ever actually playing there, or Rupp, in front of a real crowd. Pretty awesome stuff.
Steve C. in Simpsonville, SC