Thank you to everybody for submitting stories this summer. This will be our last edition of the KSR Fan Summer Stories until next April after basketball season. We finish with an interesting story involving Shane Boyd:
This past weekend I was able to take my 11 year old son to his first Arizona Rattlers football game. Our family is usually too busy to attend many sporting events in the Phoenix area because one kid is playing football and baseball and the other who is nine I have coached in baseball since he was four years old. Unlike growing up in Kentucky where there are different seasons for different sports, kids usually choose a sport and play it year round in Arizona. To say we are stretched pretty thin at times is an understatement. However, this past weekend was light one before we start ratcheting things up and get into the meat of the seasons for their sports.
We were invited to attend the final home game for the Arizona Rattlers by a business partner and with nothing to do, I told him we would attend. As we sat in our seats my son is looking over the roster and asking if there is a way to get the players autograph. He noticed Shane Boyd’s name on the roster and immediately locked in that he played at Kentucky. When we do go to events, he has to be early in hopes of meeting the players. He has been pretty successful–he has a John Wall signed jersey and we were able to hang with Darius Miller near the locker room at halftime of a Pelicans game as he sat out with an injury.
As the game neared an end they announced the players would be available for autographs after the game. So he started working on me. “I need a football. Can I get Shane’s autograph? Can we stay?” Needless to say, off I went to buy a football for him to get signed. As the final explosion went off to signal the end of the game, he was standing in line at the entrance to make his way down to the field. We waited patiently for them to open the gates and make our way to the tables to meet each player. He was anxious and wondering if he would have the chance to meet Shane. When the gates opened he ran around trying to find Shane and his eyes locked in on him so he was off to the races. As I approached the table my son handed Shane the ball and said, “Can you sign my ball and put Go Cats on it?” Shane replied, “Whaaat? What do you know about Big Blue Nation? We are everywhere little man, thanks for coming to the game.” As we turned to walk away my son realized he did not get a picture so he turned back around and asked if we could take one. I snapped the picture and my son Scout said, “Thank you so much and good luck in the playoffs next week.” Shane replied, “Thanks little man and here you go (as he handed him his wristband). Go Cats!” I thought back to the commercial of my youth where Joe Green tosses his jersey to the kid in the tunnel and had to smile.
I believe my son got 13 of the 16 autographs available and walking out of the arena he looked up at me holding his football and wristband and said, “This is the greatest thing in the world.” I chuckled and said, “You sure about that? I am sure there are better things but that is pretty cool.” He replied, “Oh yeah, what player has ever given you anything? This is sooo cool.” He had a point. I remember attending games at Commonwealth with my grandfather who had not missed a home game in 30 years. We were the first fans in the stadium and we would stay until the final horn sounded, regardless of the score. I would beg him to make our way to the team tunnel and would lean over the edge screaming at the players to toss me their wristband, towels, pads, etc. It took me back to a time when I was his age and how excited I would get about the football and basketball players. Something simple that, like many in BBN, is passed down from generation to generation.
On a night where I did not expect much other than spending a little quality time with one of my kids, Shane Boyd made a lasting impression on a kid that knew very little about him other than noticing that he was a Wildcat when looking over the names of the players–and that was good enough for him. Shane was part of BBN so he was one of us, enough said. When we got home he ran into his room and put the ball and wristband among all of the memorabilia handed down by me and his grandfather. I thought that would be end of it but Sunday evening at a cook out and swimming at my sister-in-law’s house my son comes running in screaming, “He replied!!! He replied!!!” I laughed and said, “Who replied? What are you talking about?” Out of breath and trying to compose himself he says “Shane!!! He replied to my Tweet. I can’t believe he replied.” Not sure if I have ever been that excited about an autograph, wristband, towel, pads etc. but believe I likely acted in the same manner at the time. However, I can say with 100% certainty, since I don’t do the twitter thing, that I have never had a player reply to me and for that I thank Shane for making an 11 year feel like he is special and having a connection with an athlete.
With football season fast approaching I am excited about the direction of our team but more importantly about what UK athletics means to us as fans, our families, our kids and for the memories we build from our experiences year after year. I am forever grateful for a free night out with my son where our paths crossed with someone he could relate with as a part of BBN and for Shane Boyd for taking the time to reply on Twitter. It is the little things that matter in life and this is one that I will not soon forget. I can not thank my grandparents and my mother enough for teaching me life lessons through sports, for teaching me something to be proud of as well as believe in when they showed me how to love our Wildcats and I am appreciative for the opportunity to pass the same love for UK on to my kids. Thank you Shane for the experience and Go Cats!
P.S. BTI Sucks