I can only imagine what Kentucky Wildcats Basketball coach John Calipari is going to hear a ton of the next three days:
“Merry Christmas Coach … oh and beat Louisville”
“Happy Holidays and beat Louisville”
“Beat Louisville … and oh yea. Merry Christmas”
In a weird scheduling/calendar quirk, the Kentucky/Louisville basketball game is as close to Christmas as it has been since 2003. That year the game was on 12/27 and the #20th ranked Cardinals invaded Rupp and upset the #2 Wildcats 65-56. If that game seems historical, it kind of it. It was the first time that Rick Pitino had come back to his Camelot and beaten the Cats. And it cause a Big Blue freakout as Pitino took a 2-1 lead in the series.
A decade later, the stakes are just as high. Thanks to John Calipari’s 4-1 mark against Pitino, The Cats are 8-5 since Rick became the traitor. But the Cardinals stroll into town wearing the National Title belt. And if it Calipari’s job to take it away from Pitino and if possible, meet the bloodlust Kentucky fans have and win by 35.
Merry Christmas, coach. And stomp the Cards.
As much as I despise the Dirty Birds, I love the rivalry. And no offense to the folks in the state of North Carolina, but this is the best rivalry in college basketball.
But first things first.
Christmas is coming. Or whatever holiday you may celebrate. It’s important to realize that the holiday and family comes first before trolling the Dirty Birds. Remember, they have families too that probably love them … so let’s have a truce during the actual holidays.
Let’s not get crazy and fight at dialysis centers, bus stops, parking lots, malls, or wherever UK and UL fans will congregate this next few days.
I know that I think of John Calipari as just a basketball coach but he offered a brief insight into his personal life at the end of his press conference the other day. In case you did not know, Calipari’s son, Brad tore his ACL in a high school game Friday night. And on Saturday, Calipari shared how he manges that whole basketball coach/father balance:
Again, guys, have a great holiday. Hope you get to spend it with your family. My whole family is in. I’m not doing radio today, I’m going to go race back. My son tore his ACL yesterday in a high school game and I had to go to the hospital last night. Tough deal. He’s worked so hard and done great stuff, and he’s out six months, so I’m dealing with that right now, my own son, and kind of similar to I remember sitting down with Nerlens (Noel) and having him cry and then telling him why he was okay. I had the same scene last night. I literally did not want to tell him what I knew, and the doc said he probably knows, you need to tell him, because I didn’t want to deal with it. And then I told him, and same response what you would expect from a 17‑year‑old. But he’s going to be fine, and this is all part of life. This is all part of growing. This is adversity that’s thrown at every kid in every family, so I’m going to spend a little time with him to try to keep him thinking the right way.
For some reason, that really affected me. There are other things more important the next few days. Like family.
So let’s enjoy them while we can. Take a break from this whole rivalry and focus on what is important. UK and UL will be there on Thursday morning. But let’s try not to get too crazy this week. Take a deep breath and relax and enjoy life away worrying about the Dirty Birds.
Happy Holidays All. And then beat Louisville.