I don't come around here that much anymore, though once upon a time I was all there was here. Yes, I'll admit that in those early days I wasn't above posting a comment on my own blog under a pseudonym. In the online world that's akin to giving yourself plastic surgery, but I was in desperation mode, you see.
Back then, there were only two camps of Kentucky basketball fans: pro-Tubby or Anti-Tubby. You weren’t allowed to be Ambiva-Tubby. So I created Bogans’ Heroes, a blogspot blog where I could rant for 3,000 words a pop knowing that there would be no one to call me a homer, a Tubby lover (What a slur!) or some other even less interesting slag some anonymous hero could come up with. I created Bogans’ Heroes solely to make a place where folks who disagreed or agreed could do so with intelligent discussion, insight and even vitriol, so long as it was directed not at other posters and grammatically on target.
Eventually, my little piece of the blogosphere got noticed by the nice folks at Sports Blog Nation who were looking for new voices for college fan bases. I was tapped to be the Kentucky guy. I hemmed and hawed originally, worried that I was signing something my arse couldn’t cash, but it turned out to be a great decision. Despite those lonely early days, slowly and with ever-surer footing, A Sea of Blue came to live and breathe.
Thanks in large part to Glenn, we grew the old fashioned way, as the old commercial used to say, we earned it. Readers who tired of flame wars and trolling and all those lovely things that come along with traditional message board life found a home here, and with every voice that came aboard, the conversation grew in depth and in breadth.
Why do I stroll down memory lane today? Because it illustrates just what a colossally long time it’s been since we last found ourselves here, united, with a third weekend of basketball to look forward to. Years and years, to be precise. And the Tubby War raged and waned, the Billy War came and went, too. But A Sea of Blue stayed true to its purpose and never wavered.
The irony here, and I’m sure I’m not the first to note it, is that this group of Kentucky Wildcats is one either Tubby Smith or Billy Clyde would have been proud to call his own. DeAndre Liggins is straight from the Chuck Hayes school; Knight a Fitch with press clippings and Jones a rich man’s Erik Daniels. Yes, there are some problems with this analogy, but the gist is true. This edition of the Kentucky cagers plays hard, works hard, wills itself in the same tradition as those great Tubby teams of the early 2000s. As much as we like to forget what we loved so much then, there was nothing wrong with those teams until they didn’t win the big game. Then they were garbage, at least to to many.
Even during the brutal Billy Clyde years we saw kids working harder than they should have, playing above their station. That first Gillispie season Ramel Bradley and Joe Crawford showed fans something we Kentucky fans all appreciate and always have: heart. So, too, does this team. Only this team has reserves of talent and guile that those Gillispie teams and most of the Tubby Smith teams simply didn’t have available. So when that last rebound was needed, there was nothing. When that one more stop was essential, it didn’t happen. It wasn’t for lack of trying, it was for lack.
So I humbly submit that for us thoughtful fans, the ones who broke away from the pattern of blame and anger that so plagues the most diehard of fan bases across all sports, let’s tip a glass to our fallen seasons. Let’s not simply revel in what is ahead, but think back more fondly on what passed in frustration, because in forgiveness is salvation. And if John Calipari is our program savior, let’s do all of Big Blue Nation a favor and move on, too.
I’m sorry I don’t come around as much as I should. I read, but time only permits me so much posting and commenting. But I am immensely proud that this place exists, and that it exists without me. That was always the goal. Best to you all as we return to our rightful place in college basketball, and Go Big Blue.