I’ll admit the drive home from Kansas City on Sunday night was not the most enjoyable journey I’ve ever taken. As a matter of fact, the first half of the trip was somewhat sad. So many “what ifs” were bouncing around in my mind. What if we’d had one less turnover in regulation? What if we’d made the front-end of a 1-and-1 free throw? What if we’d made just one more 3-pointer?
But “what ifs” don’t solve anything and they don’t really do much to soothe the heartache when you watch your team fall just short of their 18th Final Four. What did help, however, was reflecting on the season that was and how many joyous moments we experienced. For the first time in my life, I had covered both the first and the last games of the season. Both ended unpleasantly, but there was much to celebrate in between.
As I made my way past St. Louis, little snapshots of the season flowed through my mind:
Yes, we always want to win a National Championship. We always want to go to the Final Four. But coming up short of those goals should not diminish the enjoyment of the ride that is the season. We got to enjoy a lot of shining moments throughout the year even if they weren’t that one Shining Moment.
In a few weeks, we’ll learn of the decisions each player makes about their futures. There will be fans who will feel it is their obligation to tell them if they should stay or if they should move on to the NBA Draft (by the way, it is not your obligation to weigh in with your opinion). What we know for sure is we will not see this exact team take the floor again and that, even more than missing the Final Four, is what makes me sad.
So, thank you Cats for so many wonderful memories. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to our basketball program and for always representing Kentucky with style and class. Best wishes with whatever you choose to do next.
As for me, I’m ready to enjoy another ride next season!
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