“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller
Now that I’m getting closer to 40, I find myself often thinking back to the good old days, when things were much better than they are today. While it may seem a little ridiculous for someone south of 40 to become nostalgic, it’s one of the byproducts of the world in which we live. Today, we’re always looking forward to tomorrow. When ESPN poses the question, “Who’s next?” we are always eagerly awaiting the answer. And such it is with Kentucky basketball. With all the talent currently in Lexington, a majority of the Big Blue Nation keeps looking ahead, either to games later into the season or to even recruits signing for the 2014 and 2015 classes. The key to life, and to basketball, is to enjoy the moment.
With the way head coach John Calipari constructs his roster, time is of the essence. Kentucky fans don’t have the luxury of watching players grow from one year to the next. Gone are the days of watching guys like Walter McCarty and Tony Delk contribute to the Miracle at Mardi Gras one year, fall short of the Final Four the next and then win a title. The shelf life for these current UK teams is just one year. It’s just a small window of time to appreciate these guys for what they are individually and collectively. Soon enough, the guys will move forward to other things and the cycle will start anew. Enjoy these guys while you can.
Sometimes, it’s only in retrospect that we fully appreciate the greatness that we’ve been privileged to witness. As the older fans wax poetic on the championship teams and great players that Adolph Rupp coached, we’ll tell stories of just how great defensively both Anthony Davis and Nerlens Noel were. We’ll recall how no one played harder or had a bigger smile than Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Or how Brandon Knight calmly hit one of the biggest shots in Kentucky history against Ohio State. Or how much fun that Wall, Cousins and Bledsoe had bringing Kentucky back to it’s rightful place at the top of college basketball. When we continually look ahead, we can’t fully recognize what we’re seeing.
For now, let the recruiting for next year fall off your radar. Because, honestly, there are more useful things to worry about that Calipari and recruiting. Really, there are. Trust me. Just sit back and enjoy watching these guys play from game to game. Yes, the ultimate goal is to win national title number 9, but the real joy is in the pursuit. This season is going to produce a lot of memories. Make sure you’re paying attention to them.