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Kentucky Basketball: Can't Get Enough of the Championship Celebration

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 02:  Head coach John Calipari and Kentucky President Eli Capilouto hold the trophy after the Wildcats defeat the Kansas Jayhawks 67-59 in the National Championship Game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on April 2, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Alex ThomasContributor IApril 5, 2012

Many sports fans have now grown tired and moved past the talk of the Kentucky Wildcats and their recently won NCAA Championship. However, if I know my Big Blue Nation like I think I do, none of us will ever tire of this conversation.

I don't anticipate that my happiness will plateau or that, when the words "National Champions" cross my lips, I will stop feeling a certain thrill throughout my being. This year will echo for lifetimes. 

Over the course of our 14 year title drought, I have had to make two brackets for the March Madness, one realistic and one unrealistic.

The first thing I do after printing out the piece of paper is write in "Kentucky" all the way to the line under which is typed National Champions. Then, I go back and fill in the rest. This used to be the realistic one.

But that all changed when we Wildcat fans painfully watched our program fade into the background. Rock bottom occurred in 2009 when we were invited to the NIT. This is not talked about often; when it is, the three letters escape with a shudder.  

In comes John Calipari, the coach who seamlessly slipped into Rupp Arena and brought renewed vigor into our beloved program. Despite the quick turnaround and rich talent, we still came up short in the tournament the past two years.

Take it as you will; a season isn't completely fulfilling in Kentucky unless it ends with a Championship banner. That's the way we do things, and that's what we expect. We expect "gr8ness" because we know we can achieve it. 

This season, I fell in love. I fell in love with Anthony Davis' unibrow and Wiltjer's innocent face as he drained threes to turn a game back to our favor. Lamb's goggles up, MKG's intensity and speed, Darius Miller's veteran and loyal contributions and Terrence Jones' temper also fueled the hype.

More than the individuals, they played like a team. Unselfish and poised, they remained focused on the end prize. And, in the end, there we were dribbling down the clock for the ultimate denouement. 

I would give anything to be in Kentucky for the celebration. Despite my distance, I still honked my horn unabashedly down several streets. This blissfulness will carry our state and fans across the nation for years. Or at least until next season.

Where I go to school, UK fans are few and far between and, not to be condescending, but they just don't get it. They don't understand how much this means to our Commonwealth and how we live for this moment. Kentucky Basketball isn't just a sport, it's a way of life. 

So to all of you Big Blue fans who are still finding and reading articles about the recent Championship, here's another one to add to your list. I love my team, I love my state and I love being back where we belong. Let the banners keep on raising in Rupp's rafters year after year.

Go Cats!  

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