[Editor's note: I promoted this from the FanPosts because it is just a great story. I hope you all enjoy (those who didn't read it in the author's earlier comment.]
Just wanted to say thanks to LyricSmith for helping me to recall this story - hope your first trip is a great one. This Fanpost is spot for everyone to relate their favorite experience with going to Rupp (or any UK game)... be it your first one, last one or any memorable one in between. This is my most memorable one. I'm not sure if the Smiths read ASOB, but if they do - I just wanted to say thank you one more time for an awesome experience.
My first trip actually started in Columbia S.C. My wife (at the time) and I had went to Columbia for the UK vs USC game. UK won handily and after the game we sat around and listened to the post-game radio show in the Coliseum. Then as we went to the parking lot the team bus was arriving so I hung around to get a few autographs. I collected Tayshauns and few more meanwhile my wife had taken up a conversation with a lady smoking a cigarette who turned out to be Donna Smith wife of Tubby Smith. I was thrilled to meet her.
After we were on the road home, my wife was telling me about her conversation with Donna and how she told her we were planning to go to Lexington (even without a ticket )since I had never been to Rupp and had always wanted to go. She tells me that Donna had offered to get us tickets to a game if we ever came to Lexington. I said “yeah right” … she said “no, she gave me her cell phone number” another “yeah right … ok”. So, the next week we headed to Lexington … Donna Smith ticket or not we were on our way.
On the drive up, my wife says “should I call her?” and I was thinking what have we got to lose might as well give it shot. So she dials the number and low and behold Donna Smith answers the phone …. hair stood right up on the back of my neck – I swear. She asked how long would it be before we got to Lexington and where were planning to stay since it was Friday. We really didn’t know where we would stay until she gave us the tip (see above) – stay at the Hyatt. She said she would get some tickets to us and to call her when we got to Lexington. From that point on, the trip was somewhat surreal. It gets better.
We called her when we got to the Hotel and she said she would have some tickets to the game sent over in the morning. (Hair standing up on my neck thing again). The next morning the phone rings in the hotel room and the lady says you have a guest in the lobby. We were expecting the tickets but we were not expecting Donna Smith to deliver them. She offered to buy us breakfast (which is where the other tip came from) . We had some good conversation and she presented us with two tickets for the game. It was a great trip already … then game time.
We walked through the lobby and into the arena. I located an usher to see where our seats were. He pointed down toward the floor. We followed down, down, down until we were about three rows from the floor and who was sitting there but Donna Smith. We were her guest for the game and our seats were right behind the bench. At half time we got to go back into the locker room. It was an awesome game (and win) against a tough Mississippi squad. After the game, there was a “bash” for the Tubby Smith Foundation … we got autographs from all of the players, Tubby and even some of the cheeerleaders ... it was an awesome time. Must of thanked Donna a hundred times. I have to say the Smith’s really embraced UK Basketball.
Hope you enjoy your first trip just as much ….. GO CATS!!