By now, just about everyone knows about the Kentucky Wildcat fan who offered to trade his wife for Final Four tickets, and the two codgers who got into a fistfight at the Georgetown dialysis center, in a dispute over UofL vs. UK. But lest foreign observers erroneously conclude that basketball insanity is limited to Kentucky’s lumpenproletariat, we remind readers that the Commonwealth’s political class is in no way immune to this odd affliction.
Kentucky’s senior senator, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, attempted today to overcome his divided loyalties and take a middle path. Mitch’s problem is that, after graduating from Louisville’s DuPont Manual High School, and earning a B.A. in political science at the University of Louisville, he strayed from the red and into the blue by getting a law degree from the University of Kentucky’s College of Law. Just imagine how conflicted he is going to be next Saturday!
Nevertheless, Sen. McConnell rose to the floor in the U.S. Senate today, and spoke eloquently about his dilemma:
“Something very special in the world of sports is happening in my home State of Kentucky. Kentucky is well known as the home to the Kentucky Derby… But this coming Saturday, March 31, we will witness one of the greatest moments in Kentucky’s sports history,” he said.
McConnell reminded his fellow senators that, “In my home State of Kentucky, the rivalry between fans of UofL and UK is a passionate one. From birth, it seems, Kentuckians are raised to root for one of two teams—you either wear red for the Louisville Cardinals, or blue for the Kentucky Wildcats… If the excitement and frenzy and turbulence that’s been stirred up in Kentucky this week could be harnessed, Mr. President, we could solve our energy crisis. Basketball fans from Kentucky have been waiting their whole lives for this game.”
Admitting that he is an alumnus of both schools, the senator concluded by striking a “political” position on the game: “So I don’t know who will win Saturday’s game. But I do know this: whoever the winner is, they will go on to defeat either Kansas or Ohio State and bring a national championship back home to Kentucky where it belongs.”
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Capitol Building, two of Kentucky’s Democratic representatives got into the act also:
“These fine universities have two of the richest traditions in college basketball, and we can all be proud of the achievements of these remarkable student athletes,” said Louisville’s Congressman John Yarmuth. “The teams are both so good, I’m sure that whoever prevails, it will be the experience of the teams’ seasoned upperclassmen that leads the way.”
“Even when you look back at our seven championship teams, I’m not sure anyone’s ever seen such an unbelievable display of talent at the college level as this one," Lexington’s Congressman Ben Chandler said. “I think it’s great that everyone in Kentucky can be a part of the Wildcats’ journey to another championship.”
“The Cards have been underdogs in the vast majority of their games in the post-season, and they continue to rise to the challenge, surprise people, and just find a way to win,” Congressman Yarmuth added.
Added Congressman Chandler: “While nobody is surprised by the way Coach Cal and the Cats have absolutely dominated the tournament.”
Yarmuth continued: “The Cats haven’t faced a defense like this one.”
Chandler responded: “How did your defense fare in December?”
Yarmuth: “At Rupp! Besides, these guys are playing at a whole other level now.”
Chandler: “We’ll see about that.”
Yarmuth: “It’s on!”
Chandler: “It is definitely on!”
Sen. McConnell comments on the Final Four
WKYT-TV talks with the UK/UofL combatants at the kidney dialysis center
Louisville.com's The Arena section features opinions from active participants in the city's politics. Their viewpoints are not those of Louisville.com (a website is an inanimate object and, as such, has no opinions). The Arena is read by more people in Louisville than in any other city in America. Art credit: Sara Lewis.