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The Good Ol’ Days

Progress is good, or so they say. But there are times when I long to a return of the good ol’ days. Perhaps this is a sign of me aging, though I don’t consider myself “old” by any means. I embrace new technology, I’m not yet on Medicare or Social Security though AARP sends me more than a few mailings each month. But while I can appreciate all the great conveniences that have come about in my lifetime, there are still days when I can’t help but think back to a simpler time, especially in the world of sports.

Grandpa, tell me ’bout the good old days
Sometimes it feels like this world’s gone crazy
And Grandpa, take me back to yesterday
When the line between right and wrong
Didn’t seem so hazy

While it’s certainly a nice bonus that pretty much every single game of the season can be found on television, I think it has made us take for granted the privilege of getting to watch a game in person. Fans now spurn the “no name” games and only want to show up for marquee matchups citing the fact they can watch the “lesser” games in the comfort of their homes. But when I was young, some of my fondest memories are of sitting either on my grandfather’s bed or on the living room floor next to my dad as we “watched” the game on the radio with the legendary Cawood Ledford providing the play-by-play action. We weren’t overwhelmed with a loud announcer telling us who to like and why to like them. We just heard about our Cats. Cawood was honest and didn’t shy away from pointing out mistakes, but he was always fair in his assessment.

There was no “one and done” era, nor could we even fathom such a thing. I can even recall a time when freshmen did not get to play with the varsity team, competing instead on an all-freshmen team (anyone remember the Kittens?). Later, when freshmen were included on varsity teams, fans were much more forgiving of their mistakes. “He’s just a freshman. He’ll learn and will be so much better in a year or two,” was the regular response when a freshman made a mistake in a game. Today, we hear more of “Why does he think he can ever be in the NBA? He needs to be benched now!” when a player has a mental lapse or fails to secure a rebound.

Speaking of the One and Done era, you hear increased grumbling from fans these days who are weary of having to get to know an entirely new team year after year. I certainly understand the complaints. We love our Wildcats and we love getting to know them and watching them grow and develop. Not all that long ago, Senior Night was such an emotional event. Boys we had watched for several years who grew into young men before our very eyes were playing their final game in the Blue. As they ran through the paper hoops with their pictures on them, tears were not just flowing from the eyes of the players and their families. Fans felt all of the bittersweet emotion on this night. But I also understand the super-talented players that want to move on to the NBA or other professional leagues after only 1 or 2 years at Kentucky. I would never pretend to know what is best for them or their families and I am always thankful for the time they spent playing for the Cats. Yes, it would be great if every player stayed 3-4 years, but I’m also proud when I see them “make the leap” and have great success.

Of course, there was no social media in the good ol’ days. Don’t get me wrong — I fully embrace those applications and appreciate the positives they have afforded me. Facebook has gotten me back in touch with many friends I had lost touch with over the years. And without Twitter, I most likely would never have met Cameron Mills and gotten this incredible opportunity to write for his website and get media credentials to cover so many UK sporting events.

But for others, social media has made them keyboard warriors. They love to be couch coaches and criticize all coaching decisions, not taking into account they have the benefit of hindsight. Oh, and they love to tell players exactly how they feel about how they play, talk, walk, and dress. The anonminity of the internet has allowed some people to say vile, insulting, and mean things to people that they’d never have the gumption to say to them to their face. I do believe the good outweighs the bad, but again some days you can’t help but think back to a time when this wasn’t even a possibility.

I also miss the old days of recruiting. There once was a time when a high school senior would simply announce his school of choice and that was it. There weren’t multiple social media posts announcing each and every offer the player had received. There were not “announcements of announcements” where players tweet out “on Tuesday, I will release my top 10 list”, followed by an announcement of when they are cutting their list to 5, then to 3, then finally, the day they will finally let the world know at which school they will enroll. There was no need for the “respect my decision, no interviews” tweets, either. And recruits were matter-of-fact about their decisions. Today, the trend seems to be “trolling” the schools they don’t choose, either by pretending they are going to don the cap of one school, then picking up another cap at the last minute. Some have even gone as far as posting the night before their public decision they are going to “school X” then choosing “school Y” instead.

Sometimes, I wish, if only for a week or two, we could return to the days of old and let the younger generation experience life as we lived it. Well, I’m ok if we skip the ultra-short shorts that basketball players wore back then, but the rest of it would be rather nice.

Yes, progress is good and change is inevitable, but if you ever want to hear more stories, I’ll be happy to be the “grandpa” (or, more accurately the “grandma”) and tell you all about the good ol’ days.

Follow me on Twitter @ForeverBigBlue

Michele Brown
Michele Brown
Writer at since Feb. 2015 Co-host of Big Blue Views podcast. Mom, Christian, sports junkie, golf addict and speed typist. I can cook your mama's food better than she can.

1 Comment

  1. Hank Webb says:

    That was a Judds tune, written by Jamie O’Hara. And no you can’t slip much by me.
    And now you know who’s reading your line.

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