clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

All Right, I'll Be The Guy

Look, I'll keep this short, and I'm pretty positive of the response this will get. But here goes.

Please know I preface this with all respect to the man and his life and his dedication to the team and school I love so dearly. This is in no way trying to belittle someone or besmirch a man's legacy.

But at some point, is the Bill Keightley memorial going over the top a little? According to the UK Athletics site:

The Mississippi Valley State game will serve as the culmination of the University’s tributes to Mr. Wildcat which includes: a permanent spot on arena floor in front of Mr. Wildcat’s seat on the bench, embellishments on the basketball uniform including black "K" of Kentucky and silk ribbon touting "Mr. Wildcat", Mr. Wildcat Catspy award presented annually to an individual reflecting Mr. Wildcat’s qualities; the Keightley Classic annual golf tournament; the Mr. Wildcat Bill Keightley scholarship fund awarding scholarship funds to UK men’s basketball managers. In addition, UK Athletics along with the UK President’s Office made financial contributions towards the William B. Keightley Oral History Project. The collection gives the public a unique opportunity to not only hear the legend, but to search his own words for topics and other key basketball figures he speaks about in the interviews.

Now before you rip me for being a heartless bastard -- and no, you would not be the first by a long stretch -- I'm merely talking about the fact that in my opinion, in general, honoring someone's life is a solemn and respectful thing. I thought that the heartfelt personal speeches and video tributes at the Keightley memorial were both appropriate and tasteful. I thought that the Black K's on the jerseys were OK, but maybe it made more sense to wear then one time on a special day or in his honor. But fine. Tributes are important, and clearly he was a huge part of the team and the players' lives.

But at what point does it start to border on the hagiographic? You're wearing his name and a symbolic gesture on your jersey for every single game.

Keightley’s family consisting of his widow Hazel, daughter Karen Marlowe and son-in-law Alden Marlowe, will be honored in a ceremony at halftime at which time his jersey will be retired a final time in Rupp Arena.

You've already retired his jersey once. I'm not really grasping why this is necessary, nor why it honors the memory of a, by all accounts, quiet, humble and earnestly dedicated man to make a garish scene in front of tens of thousands of fans.

I know, I know. I'm a total waste of a human being. I'm a worthless Cardinals fan Yankee who doesn't appreciate life. Trust me, I live in New York, this is not news.

But there's memorial and there's spectacle. And frankly, when you get to the point where you are encroaching on the very nature of the man's character -- here's a man who passed away on a BUS going to a Reds game in Cincinnati. Not driving his fancy car or getting flown there by any of the myriad millionaire coaches he has served so faithfully.

Folks are going to do what they are going to do, and 99% of people will see this and tear up and maybe I will to, I have no idea. And I'm not saying they shouldn't do the things that they are doing. But the William B. Keightley Oral History Project? Am I really the only one who finds this a bit ... much?

I apologize for my lack of a soul. But no one asked for my opinion and I'm giving it.