There are a lot of things I’m thankful for this time of year but one is definitely basketball.
With so many things to disagree about these days, the one thing pretty much everyone in Kentucky can agree on is that basketball season is the best. Admittedly, I’ve struggled with getting as into basketball these past few years. There’s a few reasons why my obsession waned, mostly because of the passing of my biggest bball buddy, but also because it’s been tough to get into our state’s signature teams these last couple years. But this year, I’m back.
Most of that has to do with new bball buddy – D3. Watching him write out his favorite Louisville players, keep track of all their stats and encourage me to watch every single minute of basketball has reignited my passion for the game. The way he knows every players number and stats reminds me of when I was a kid and kept track of every single detail possible. Don’t even get me started on how much I love watching him fill-in all his brackets in March. It makes my heart swell.
His love of the Cards is one of the main reasons why I always root for them (except for that one game a year when it’s a lot harder for me). I like to joke with him sometimes but mostly, I enjoy sharing it with him. I feel like it’s my obligation to watch late games so I can fill him in on what happened in the morning. It reminds me of the relationship I had with my grandpa, just with a lot more nagging for him to put away his shoes and dirty clothes.
Case in point, this past weekend he persuaded me to go with him to the Louisville vs. Kentucky football game. Even after a less than stellar season, he was still amped to go. He’s never been to a UK vs. UofL game before – we usually use those tickets ourselves – and he was dead set on going. He talked about it ALL week and no matter how many times we tried to dissuade him, he was adamant about going. I offered to take him, knowing he’d have fun no matter what the outcome.
While we did end up having fun at the game, a chance run-in at the concession stand made the whole night worthwhile. While Drew ran to the bathroom, I beelined to grab a pretzel (duh, you know I gotta have a hot pretzel), when I recognized some familiar faces on some exceptionally tall guys. I was anxiously waiting in line hoping Drew would come back before they headed back to their seats. When he came back, I pointed out the players and encouraged him to go say hi. After a little bit of trepidation, he got the guts to go say hi to his favorite player – Jordan Nwora. Jordan got down on Drew’s level and talked to him for a couple minutes, even saying he remembered him from basketball camp (who knows if it was true but it made his day).
With some new confidence, he made his way over to the big group where he got to talk to Akoy Agau, Khwan Fore, Christian Cunningham and Steven Enoch. Each one of them took the time to say hey, ask his name, take a picture and in doing so, made him feel special. More than that though, they truly made his day/week/year… maybe longer. He’s been talking about it ever since. It’s something that, i’m sure, is such a regular occurrence for them but by taking a couple minutes for a kid, they’ve ensured this one is a fan for life. It was one of those moments that I know he’ll remember much longer than the score of the football game.
Can’t forget about the gear too. Since it’s the start of the season, I knew it was time to snag some new gear and this sherpa sweatshirt is my new game day uniform. It is, by far, the warmest sweatshirt ever. So so cozy. When I got it, even Drew commented, “Man that looks comfy.” I think he wants one in his size. I’m basically throwing it on game night with my pj’s but it’s just as good paired with jeans. It makes a great gift for the Louisville fans on your list (and it’s under $65). If you’re not a big Cards fan, I’m pretty sure this style is available for a ton of other teams. So just search for the name on your own team fan site.