The RP: Why Kentucky Basketball Matters

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

What a night!  Or should I say what a morning?

The girls and I woke up at 3AM here in Florence, Italy to watch our beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats capture their eighth NCAA national basketball championship.

Sheer euphoria.

I’ve tried for a few years to put into words what the Wildcats mean to me, as well as their profound impact on my home state.  It really is more than a kids’ game — Kentucky basketball delivers sound public policy.

For my fellow members of the Big Blue Nation; for the uninitiated who don’t understand what the fuss is all about; and for the cynics who decry the professionalization of amateur sport, I offer my latest column for The Huffington Post: “Why Kentucky Basketball Matters.”  Enjoy:

An uninformed visitor to my old Kentucky home this week might conclude that they’d mistakenly walked onto the compound of a Prozac-fueled utopian cult.

An odd but euphoric delirium had descended upon the hills, hollers and hamlets of the Bluegrass State.  Men and women walking more upright, a bounce in their steps, a huge grin on their faces.  You couldn’t meet a stranger: In grocery stores and city parks and shopping malls, neighbors who months before felt nothing in common were now greeting each other with warm words, high fives, and fist bumps.

Weeks from now, we’ll return to our regional camps, our partisan corners.  But for now, we’re united; the sun’s shining just a bit brighter.

The Wildcats have once again won the national championship. Kentucky basketball matters.

Click here to read my full column in The Huffington Post.

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