By default, the girls are Kentucky basketball fans. They didn’t have a choice. There are certain things they’ll have the freedom to choose, but this isn’t one of them. Fortunately, they’ve been good sports and have accepted this responsibility with open arms.
They’ve rooted for the Cats every time they were on TV (which is even funnier cause they know nothing about basketball) and constantly asked when they were going to get to go to a game. While I totally appreciated their enthusiasm, there was no way I was taking them to a game until they could somewhat appreciate it.
Since Aunt Selma has season tickets and has graciously allowed me to go to several games over the years, the girls were always jealous and hoped their turn would come up soon. After two season’s of them asking to go, the time seemed right, so I finally asked Aunt Selma if she could get us some tickets. She of course obliged, and even managed to score us passes into the hospitality area so we could all hang out together before the game.
Understanding how the girls are, I decided not to tell them about it until the last minute, knowing they’d ask me every 30 minutes, “when are we going to the game?” I let Aunt Selma ask them that morning if they wanted to come to the game that afternoon and they were so happy. Luckily it was only a few hours before we had to go, so their excitement/annoying questions were contained to a few hours.
One of the best parts of the day was the group that was going to the game – The girls, Annie, Nana, Pops, Aunt Selma, Uncle Chris and myself. Having that collection of people there with us to take in the girls first game made the day that much more special. Getting to see their excitement in the hospitality room as they ate up about everything they could before moving on to the free boxes of popcorn, was just the beginning.
As an adult, or even for an older kid, walking into Rupp Arena as a UK fan is somewhat of a cathartic moment. It’s one of the most storied buildings in all of college basketball and you can just feel how impressive it is. For 6 year olds with free popcorn, I’m guessing it looked like a giant playground with a bunch of people in it.
Our seats were pretty amazing, although somewhat short lived, because of a little ticket snafu which resulted in the girls moving down and sitting with my folks and Aunt Selma. In hindsight it was the best thing that could have happened because it put them that much closer to the action and kept them from driving me nuts cause they couldn’t sit still and asking for ice-cream. It also allowed them to enjoy (or not so much if you’re Huds) the coolest part of their day…the Wildcat.
After all the times of having to tell the girls, “we’ll go soon” and slowly building their anticipation of actually getting to go to a Kentucky game, I wasn’t sure if the experience could quite live up to the hype. But it did. It was bigger, better and more amazing than I could have hoped. And it wasn’t just the Wildcat picking up Elle that made it so awesome. It was the people that were there to share in the moment. Thank you to my folks, Uncle Chris, Annie and especially Aunt Selma for making their first trip to Rupp, better than I could have hoped.