Off The Record: UK fans snooze through 'Final Bore'

April 05, 2004|HERB BROCK

Notes, observations, illuminations and other nonsensical stuff, written on the back of a wadded-up NCAA Final Four program:

A CAT-LESS FINAL FOUR... A manx is a breed of cat that has no tail. This year's men's NCAA Final Four is the finale of a tournament that has no Cat - as in the University of Kentucky Wildcats, as in the No. 1 seed in the entire tourney that lost to Who?-AB way back in the second round.

We Cat fans were not expecting to begin our annual withdrawal from roundball so early. We were expecting to be rooting our Cats on to victories, not turning our attention to spring football or baseball. We were expecting to be on the edge of our recliners tonight watching UK win its eighth national title, not asleep on the couch dreaming of the 2005 Final Four with Tubby and team hugging the trophy.

Well, some other coach and team will be doing the trophy hugging thing tonight. With our Cats long gone from the competition, the climax of what college basketball junkies call the "greatest show on earth" will be not the Final Four but the Final Bore.


Sure, there are many basketball afficianados among the populace of Big Blue nation, and they have continued to follow the tournament since UK's Cat-astrophic loss to Who?-AB. But many of us are not true basketball fans. We're UK fans.

We couldn't tell a pick-and-roll from a pump fake or a 1-3-1 zone from a 2-2-1 zone. When we hear a TV color analyst talking about some player rubbing off a screen, we wonder how that player has the time to clean a screen when he's supposed to be shooting shots and playing defense. We only know three things: when a UK player shoots the ball and it goes in the basket, that's good; when a player from the other side shoots the ball and it goes in the basket, that's bad; and when UK ends up with more points than the other team - at least 20 more - that's a very good thing.

Oh, there's a fourth thing we know: when it's the first Monday in April and UK is not playing basketball, that's a boring as well as bad thing.

IS BOYLE THE REAL BARREN COUNTY?... A check of a Kentucky atlas will show there already is a county named Barren. But perhaps that name would have been more appropriately used if it had been given to the county that was named Boyle.

In the wake of action a couple of weeks ago by Danville City Commission, it might appear that the city's leaders believe Boyle County is barren.

The commission voted to spend about $2,500 on hanging baskets and other flowers as part of the annual floral beautification project downtown. The commission decided to buy said baskets and flowers from a Nicholasville concern.

While the commission had a sound reason for giving its flower business to the Nicholasville concern - it submitted the lowest and best bid - more than a few residents have burned up my phone line and bent my ear. They can't believe the commission has to leave town, even the area, to find its flowers. As one said, "You would think there weren't any nurseries or garden centers around here." As another said, "It's like you can't grow anything here. You have to go all the way to Nicholasville to find flowers?"

I think the commission's decision was the right one. It followed the proper bidding process and protocol, one which ends with the city essentially obligated to take the lowest bids on city business. But perhaps next year, the commission should call on the many green thumbs in this town and have them donate the hanging baskets. It would accomplish three things: get the community involved in a project; cut the annual flower bill to nothing; and prove Boyle County isn't barren after all.

ONE STATE EMPLOYEE'S LOSS IS ANOTHER'S GAIN?... In all the understandable wringing of hands over making sure there are as few cuts as possible to education in the state budget, there has been little mention of one of the ways Gov. Ernie Fletcher employed to find money for our schools.

Sen. Tom Buford, R-Nicholasville, who represents Boyle County in the Senate, has said that $20 million of the more than $80 million the governor found to restore funds previously cut from education came from salaries that had been budgeted for other state employees.

Most of the $20 million came from the salaries of state workers who had left or retired from positions that subsequently were not filled and from the salaries of state workers who essentially were made part-time under a program where they were constantly furloughed for weeks at a time. But some of the money came from the salaries of state employees who were laid off.

So, in a way, the state has been robbing Peter - in this case, other state employees and agencies - to pay Paul - in this case, teachers and the Department of Education.

Education arguably is the state's most important agency and deserves the lion's share of the state budget it gets, but there are other important agencies and employees whose work is also important.

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