Big Blue Nation proud of its Cats
I have never been more proud to be from Kentucky. Congratulations to Coach John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats as the 2011-12 NCAA champions.
I am retired Air Force, now residing in San Antonio. The entire game Monday night against Kansas, I was on pins and needles. I kept calling my parents in Princeton, Ky. Great game.
Universal City, Texas
To Coach Cal and the UK basketball team, from the lonely Big Blue Nation outpost in far, far west Texas.
Gentlemen, good job. Dang good job.
A hearty congratulation on your victory.
Go Big Blue.
El Paso, Texas
Wonder if they knew, when he was young, that little boy whose brow was one would grow to be a star, a champ — future Hall of Fame. When at basketball camp he'd meet a man they call Coach Cal, who'd bring him the fame, what we call "the brow." He'd join a team of talent and heart to dance the dance and master the part.
We may never live this dream again. They came here boys but played like men.
Giving back to the great Big Blue Nation. No. 8, what a sensation.
Congratulations on a wonderful season.
Show the joy, Coach Cal
Yes, we are national champs again, but does this feel a little bittersweet after Coach John Calipari's news conference? Where's the joy, man? It's OK to feel happy for yourself, we want you to feel happy for yourself. We all feel happy for ourselves, even if we had nothing to do with the win (we actually did because of our support).
Without you, coach, we would be nothing. You say it's about the players, but c'mon, it's just as much about you. Your players seemed almost afraid to express joy at the news conference because they were taking your example.
Be happy, and we can all revel in the joy of a national championship. If you don't, then you don't understand what it is to bleed blue, and your humility comes off as false and condescending. Don't patronize the Big Blue Nation, that will get you fired in Lexington. Just ask Billy Gillispie.
Rupp came from Kansas
Some readers may be unaware of the truly historic tradition of the Kentucky-Kansas basketball rivalry:
■ Canadian James W. Naismith invented the sport of basketball in 1891.
■ Naismith founded the University of Kansas basketball program in 1898.
■ One of the players Naismith coached at Kansas was Forrest "Phog" Allen, who was later named Kansas head basketball coach and is now known as the father of basketball coaching.
■ In the early 1920s, Allen and Naismith mentored a young Kansas player named Adolph Rupp.
■ Rupp was named UK coach in 1930.
Coaches Naismith, Allen and Rupp are probably looking down with amazement at all the hoopla their game of hoops generated.
Put effort into education
It's fine to celebrate athletic prowess, and I'm sure the basketball team's victory was well-deserved.
As a native Lexingtonian and a UK alum, I feel compelled to say, however, that I will be happy when Kentucky substantially improves its education system — elementary through college — and when it puts more resources into reducing the state's high rates of heart disease, lung disease, obesity and poverty, all of which depend on better education.
These things can happen, and all it takes is for legislators to feel enough heat from their constituents.
Tipton deserves praise
Over the weekend, I browsed the New York Times sports pages to catch up on the imminent start of the baseball season and the NCAA basketball tournament. A long article by Greg Bishop caught my attention.
Its approach to March Madness was to profile Jerry Tipton, who has covered Wildcat basketball for over 30 years for the Lexington Herald-Leader. It described the issues of covering basketball in an environment as intense, and occasionally over-the-top, as the Herald-Leader's readership.
It described Tipton as a class act, a writer who has written with integrity and insight for decades. I was delighted to see Tipton's writing recognized by his own peers, the sportswriters for The New York Times. They know good writing when they see it.
Thomas M. Dicken
Drugs at the track
The Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 should definitely be amended. In actuality, the entire sport, especially in the world capital of Thoroughbreds, needs a reality check.
You show a picture of Keeneland with the comment "is one of the safest U.S. tracks, according to a New York Times analysis." That analysis had absolutely nothing to do with the drugging of horses on race day. Plus, designer drugs are given to a number of Thoroughbreds, standardbreds and quarter horses at every track in the United States, for one reason and one reason only — money.
I believe there are some 39 independent jurisdictions overseeing the Thoroughbred industry in this country. And probably none of them nor any track, trainer, supplier, etc., wants to change anything but their own bottom line.
Let's just clean up our own home first.
Good money after bad
Do the people know that there are programs in the prisons that are funded by state and federal government? Our state is in financial trouble and most of these programs help no one. Some of them, with the kind of questions asked, may even hinder the offender from getting better. Then there are those inmates that if they don't want to get rehabilitated, won't be, no matter what program they take. But if they take the useless programs, they are automatically considered rehabilitated and can get out.
Couldn't this money be better used to help the elderly or children, or organizations that really will help people? This really should be looked into and consideration seriously given to the better use of this money.