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Bouncing Forward

As Coach Cal himself has reminded us, we bounce back, bounce forward, and bounce forever...

John Calipari UK Athletics

As each day of the calendar slips away we are charging toward one of the most anticipated basketball seasons in the history of the University of Kentucky Wildcats.

By now, most Cat fans know the ups and mostly downs of the previous season. The high expectations and the less than satisfactory results. There was of course the empty arenas, the lack of contact with the team, the endless Zoom press conferences, and the never ending pandemic that we all still are trying to navigate. When it was all over with we took a collective sigh and began to get ready for the new season.

As March came and went, we were left with John Calipari’s promise that the Cats would bounce back. The summer has been loaded with changes, moves, and an incredible mix of new players and the most experienced Wildcat veterans that we have seen for a long time. Once again, the anticipation is through the roof and that is what we have all come to expect from Coach Cal and the Cats.

However, it is good to note, that as a coach and leader, John Calipari has written the book on how to come back. Seriously, that is the name of a book he wrote – Bounce Back (2009, Free Press – Simon and Schuster, New York, NY) where he closes out the book with the line – “Let’s all bounce back, bounce forward, and bounce forever.”

That line is a powerful reminder that life is always a series of overcoming setbacks, learning from the miscues of the past, and bouncing into the future to become the best version of ourselves. So as we anticipate the new season we go to the source to check in and see if the author of Bounce Back has followed his own advice and checked the right boxes during the summer. We thought it might be a good time to revisit some of these concepts again (we dug into a few of them earlier in the off-season) as we begin the new school year.

Here are a few of the PractiCal Points of a bounce back….

Your trigger event will impact others around you, so you need to be strong for them
(Cal did not duck or hide from the year that was and plowed forward into making changes this season)

Let the emotions run their course and then focus on starting the bounce back with a positive attitude
(As the summer sessions ended, we have seen some impressive work, some great talent, and a willingness to embrace the past and move into the future with this new Cat team)

Develop a regular routine to keep you grounded and looking forward
(Unlike the previous year, the Wildcats got the chance to spend time together, get in the summer work and most importantly get out in the community to learn their role in the bluegrass. The season is going to be fun to watch)

Dream big and don’t let anyone tell you that your dreams are unrealistic
(We all expect the usual start to the season. There will be ups and downs as Cal has loaded up the schedule again with opponents that will test this team. Coach Calipari will take the heat when it doesn’t go as well as he might have hoped but at the same time, will remind us that he likes his team and to hang on, they will get it)

Realize you have been to the mountaintop before and that you can get there again
(This is an experienced team at UK this year, which is unusual. That blend allows for a quicker maturity and toughness through the rigors of a long season. If the team peaks at the right time, these Cats will be in the hunt on the right mountain range at the end of the year)

Tinker and experiment to bring about incredible results – just be sure to proceed with caution
(The bounce back coach has always been willing to experiment and try new things. We have platooned, we have played big, we have played small, but the goal was to use the exceptional talent in exceptional ways. This season we may see the new AirCal unit, we might see a team that becomes backboard breakers underneath, and loaded with heart and hustle. He will find the right combo and the right way to get it done)

At the heart of the book Bounce Back is the reminder that with every knock you get the chance to reevaluate and reinvent. It appears that the boxes have been checked and we are positioned for a season that we will never forget. Let the Big Blue Madness and the Bounce Back begin!

PractiCal Points found in the pages of - Bounce Back: Overcoming Setbacks to Succeed in Business and in Life- John Calipari, Free Press (Simon and Schuster-New York, NY 2009)