Bonus points to all of you who correctly recognized the musical allusion I used for the title. If your formative years were spent in the Lexington/Richmond college scene, you may remember Larry Redmon. And you may remember the song on his “South Into The Wind” album. It seemed appropriate today.
Because as lifelong Cats football fans, we have all seen that movie, we have all read that book. As much as we have tried to pretend we haven’t, we have. As UK was sitting 1st and goal from the UT six down only 4 points, the old scenes began to run through my mind. I am guessing they did yours too.
Mark Higgs stopped short on 4th and goal at the goal line in what really began the long losing streak to UT.
Chase Harp, Billy Jack Haskins, Andre Woodson, and so on and so on and so on….
Saturday’s devastating loss is yet another in a long string of tough losses to the Volunteers. And unlike the long list of losses to Georgia or Florida, each of these sting. A lot.
I grew up on the Tennessee line basically. I have always rivaled with big orange more than any other school. I want to beat them in football, basketball, checkers, chess, roly-hole marbles. Anything Kentucky vs. Tennessee I want to win.
I like Bluegrass over Nashville Country. I like Kentucky bourbon over Tennessee whiskey. I like Wildcat Blue over that puke ugly pastel orange. Give me Kentucky any day and every day in every circumstance over our neighbors to the south.
When I go on a long trip I try to avoid the state entirely if I can. If I can’t I refuse to stop and buy gas there unless I absolutely have to. (Stole that idea from Bo Schembechler or Woody Hayes, I forget…). It’s not that I don’t like the people there. It is just that I feel the way I do.
And it is why I (and many of you) take losing to Tennessee so personally.
…the sun came up on Sunday. And again this morning. The kids in blue played extremely hard. The coaching staff devised a plan that put the team in position to win. Long gone are the days when a beating was inevitable. I don’t blame any of them.
Sure, one can second guess from now til the cows come in. But, I don’t want to go down that road. In general, what these losses say is that the program has closed the gap. It is competitive. Now it has to go further. If it can. Recruiting has closed the talent gap significantly. But it still trails the big boys every year. And so our Cats still have to be nearly perfect to win these type games.
Regardless, I still bleed blue. I will show up to watch the rest of the year. And next year, I will be perched in front of my TV to watch them play UT. Even though I have already seen that movie so many times, I will watch it again. Maybe next year, we will get the ending we so rarely do. Stephen Johnson shows that it can. And maybe it will…