The day has finally arrived: the long-awaited matchup between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Kansas Jayhawks. Other than the Duke game in November, today’s game has been perhaps the most-anticipated event on the BBN’s calendar. While UK stumbled a few times in the opening half of the season, dropping games against UCLA, Ohio State, LSU and Auburn, the young Cats have seemingly been coming together as a team in recent games. Conversely, Kansas had been fairly consistent but the past 5 games have resulted in 3 losses. The game will be played in the legendary Allen Fieldhouse, which would seem to make Kansas a heavy favorite. History however, would favor the Wildcats. But in the end, none of that matters. All that matters is the players on these teams this year and how they play today.
Nonetheless, we have a significant number of fans that have been worrying about this game for weeks, if not months. They have conjured up every worst-case scenario, imagining every way possible the Cats can lose this game. Every where they turn, they find yet another negative factor for UK, and nothing but positives for the Jayhawks. Those who didn’t know better might be convinced that Kentucky is actually playing the Golden State Warriors today. So they fret and worry and wring their hands, constantly pondering what lasting ramifications the Cats will suffer when they lose this game. With all this gloom and doom, I wonder how these fans ever get any enjoyment out of the season.
I understand not wanting to feel too confident (as if this somehow translates to the players being cocky instead of determined). I can empathize with those trying to soften the blow of a loss by being prepared for it. But here’s the thing: expected or not, any loss is going to hurt. I’ve never had one hurt less because I “prepared” myself for that result. The only thing I get out of that approach is feeling miserable both before and after the game. So today, I ask that you have a selective memory. For instance:
If you need additional motivation to get you excited for tonight’s contest, why not check out this memorable game:
Or perhaps you’d like to take a trip down memory lane to last season’s drubbing:
Thankfully, tip-off is edging ever closer and all of the over-analysis, hype and pre-game trash talk will come to an end. At 7 pm, Joe B’s mastery over the Jayhawks will not matter. Cal’s perfect record versus KU will have no impact. The 55-point drubbing the Cats suffered in 1989 will mean nothing. All of the worrying and doomsday prepping will not change anything: a win will be huge, a loss will be painful.
For me, I shall choose to use my selective memory until tonight’s game is played. I will think only of the positive outcomes and the promise our team has shown in recent games. When the final buzzer sounds, I am hopeful I will have yet another positive addition to add to my selective catalog of Kentucky-Kansas games. Here’s hoping that when the night is over, we will hear chants of “Go Big Blue” and that the KU cheer is replaced with “Rock Chalk, Take a Walk.”
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