Well, as anyone with a TV, computer, or newspaper can tell from the last few weeks, we have had as far as my memory can go the most exciting off-season in UK Basketball in a very long time. Combine that with the daily reaffirmation of John Calipari's vision for the Cats that seems to become more and more impressive every day ( sorry Dan Issel, I think the guy may turn out to be right), and more and more of our personnel once again being purloined to start their own visions for other schools, I feel as if we are branching out into new territory the likes of which we have not seen since the days when a much younger Rick Pitino drove himself and everyone around him like a freight train across the country. Relevance does not even begin to describe the "Calipari Effect" that Coach Cal has had on the bluegrass, UK, and the fan base in general.
For even as Richard III in his "Winter of Discontent" felt lost and abandoned, blanketed by a cloud of malevolence and brooding, John Calipari brings such a feeling of contentment with what is being said AND done at UK now, that I can scarcely remember the gloom and doom it seemed as though we were headed for in the past. And in spite of rumor and innuendo ( thank you New York Times), and the occasional slings and arrows of missing out on the occasional top recruit ( Harrison Barnes may not get what he thinks he is going to get at UNC), Calipari has placed before us a future so bright that Bvlgari, Oakley, Ray-Ban, or even Prada may not be able to protect our eyes from the light.
We are losing an assistant Coach or two, which will be replaced, or have already been replaced by even more talented personnel. Now our assistant AD in charge of basketball operations is headed to Oregon to try and revive their basketball program as well as keep their football program from losing the ground it has gained in the last decade or so, which would seem to give a stamp of approval to Mitch Barnhart's methods as well. Joker Phillips has set goals higher than ever before for UK's Football program, and I now begin to ponder, when will his disciples begin to take the UK program's approach out to the masses. Being raised on UK Basketball and Ohio State Football, I was spoiled by decades of winning traditions and yearly classics when each of their seasons would arrive. And now it seems, even the off seasons here at UK are no time to rest and recharge, because the ball seems to continue to roll. I know I will sleep when I am old, have to set alarm clocks to make sure I don't miss games or important events, but for now, I revel in the fact that I know that tomorrow, ( good Lord willing and the creek don't rise) there will be something else out there to grin about for UK athletics. As it is, I may need to get dental work so I am not embarrassed by this mile wide grin I seem to carry everywhere I go now.
Oh to have come so far, so fast, and under the microscope of today's media and every cell phone camera out there. It does the heart good. Doesn't hurt the image either.