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TALKING TO MYSELF 7 April 2014 After I re-posted my essay, "Go Big Blue" on Saturday http://www.owentonnewsherald.com/content/go-big-blue I heard from my longtime friend and University of Kentucky graduate, Carroll L. Wood. He, too, saw Vernon Hatton make that legendary 47 foot shot in the December 7, 1957, UK win over Temple. His memory of that night is vivid. With his permission, I share his words with you.
The Temple game of December, 1957 is forever etched in what is left of my 78 year memory. Of course there are parts I can't recall like the name of Temple's great All American guard that fouled out very late in the second OT or early in the third. Some felt that was why we won but I'll have none of it, IMO Hatton clearly was not going to let us lose. ... Entering UK in the fall of 1953 I missed few of the home games. It was a matter of standing in line to get in the free student section. The bigger the game the longer the line yadayada. Fast forward to December, 1957. At THE Temple game I was near the front of the line to insure seeing their great player and IMO our greater 'CATS up close and personal. The wait escapes me now, suffice to say it was quite long. Important here to reveal that I acted alone as my young bride of 4 months was not inclined to grasp the shear necessity of the supreme effort. . . My plan worked perfectly, once through the ---show your ID card--area, a dead run up the ramp and down to the best seat paid off. The first 6 rows were folding chairs reserved for the mucks of some standing and the permanent seats began right behind the iron rail. I got a seat on row 7 even with the center stripe. All this to say that when Hatten took THE SHOT he was on my line of vision to the basket. I remember the ball taking at least the rest of December to reach the basket all the while knowing it was dead on line with the only question being distance. I like all others came down screaming some time later that night. Whew, what a moment."
As for Dr. McConnell's BIRGing theory, Mr. Wood has this to say: "I have lived and "nearly" died with Wildcat success or lack thereof since 1948 at the tender age of 13, as "millions" of Ky fans have. That year "our" team represented the US in the Olympics along with some of the Phillips Oilers, a semi-pro team of that day. My recall of the outcome has gone the way of dust after a summer shower. . . I didn't know anything about a name like BIRGing [or that it] had anything to do with something as important as sharing pure joy and/or agony with thousands and thousands of other sometimes and otherwise sane souls. So, call it what you will, for me I call it--lets see--it starts with F and ends with N and all you have to do is put U (you) in it."
So my Kentucky friends far and near, let's remember that sometimes the long shots fall our way and sometimes they don't. Either way, let's have F (YOU)N tonight.
©Copyright Georgia Green Stamper