Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a bit of a fair-weather fan, a bandwagon fan.
If the Cats are excellin’, I’m a’yellin’.
If they aren’t, my affections tend to wander.
The season may as well have started four games ago as far as I’m concerned, but after that series of scrappy wins, my heart couldn’t help but hope the Cardiac Cats would win it all—that mega-talented group of last year’s high school stars.
“They’re just babies,” I think I heard Cal say.
I paid little attention to the Cats all season. When Kentucky was picked number one in the country in pre-season polls, I thought, yeah, right. They’re just a bunch of freshmen.
I didn’t watch any games, but I heard some of the talk about how the Cats weren’t doing so well.
I caught wind of the complaints against Cal, and the speculation that maybe he wasn’t much of a coach after all.
There was a lot of talk about how selfish and immature the players were, about how they weren’t a team yet.
Somehow, though, they scraped together enough wins to make it into the NCAA tournament this year, even if they were a lowly eight seed.
Right off the bat, the Cats had to face an unbeaten team.
I didn’t really expect them to win, but I thought, wouldn’t it be fun if they did?
They did, and it was a pretty exciting thing to watch. I like rooting for the underdog.
Louisville was next, and the game was close. Kentucky surprised a few more people and won again.
I think that’s when the excitement for this team really began to take hold.
Drunken fans set Lexington on fire. Couches were burned and lamp posts climbed.
Talk turned from The Long Winter to the tournament.
Still, I didn’t allow myself to get too involved.
I busied myself around the house when Kentucky played Wisconsin and kept up with the score in passing.
I dozed off in the second half and woke to watch the last seven minutes or so of a very tight game.
That was long enough to see the Harrison twin sink that clutch shot—again.
Just like that, the Wildcats, the same team that was labeled as underachievers earlier in the season, suddenly became the Cardiac Cats and serious contenders for the NCAA title.
Last night, I busied myself getting ready for today’s deadline.
I determined not to get too caught up in the game. I almost felt superstitious about it, that if I started to care too much, I’d jinx them, and they’d tank.
True to the casual fan that I am though, I had to watch the last few minutes of the game.
The Harrison twin who made those three crucial threes couldn’t possibly make another clutch shot—could he?
I’m afraid not. And the Cats couldn’t hit their free throws. And the refs liked Uconn better.
The Big Blue Nation is pretty blue today, but a lot of couches were spared on State Street.
And it was too windy outside to burn mine anyway.