When we were kids in Hazard we all dreamed of Kentucky. No not the State, we dreamed of The University of Kentucky Wildcats. Any kid in Hazard that ever picked up a ball dreamed every night of playing basketball at the most famous University in the United States of America.
Bill Davis, Garland Townes and Johnnie Cox all made the big jump. Dick Mitchell made it to the football team.
I remember when Hazard finally got the big TV tower up on top of the hill. My Uncle, Sammy Burke, was an avid UK fan. He would sit in front of that little B&W TV to watch UK games which was mainly a lot of snow off and on. Occasionally the picture would clear up enough to watch the game and then it would fade away again and you could hear Uncle Sam cursing all the way downtown.
By that time I was living in Dayton, Ohio and enjoyed many seasons of UK basketball on TV. I have been fortunate enough to see games in person always during road games. I've seen them play at Vanderbilt in Nashville and Knoxville in Tennessee, Gainsville Florida and Notre Dame.
I had two good friends from Hazard, Don Grey and Bill Marcum, who went to school at UK. We could not get basketball tickets but during Football Season several Hazard friends and I drove down to Lexington on Saturday and met them at the Sigma Chi Fraternity House. We didn't have tickets but we had a plan. We went to the old stadium right there in downtown and Bill & Don used their student IDs to get inside. They went up to the second floor tossed the cards down to us and we used them to get ourselves in. A total of six got in that day on two cards. I remember Georgia Tech was there that day. Dick Mitchell was playing for the Cats. He was the kick returner. Being a small stadium it was packed. I had my 35mm camera with the telephoto lens so I eased down to the Georgia Tech bench and they squeezed up and gave me a seat on the end, thinking I was an official photographer. Of course UK lost. Georgia Tech was a powerhouse back then in 1953.
Over the years the Wildcats have furnished us with thousands of hours of entertainment. Anywhere we went and somebody mentioned basketball we held our heads high. And now it looks like the good days are coming back again. So now when the game comes on my new HD TV in Dayton, I'll be thinking of all you guys way back up there in the Eastern Kentucky Mountains glued to your own sets watching the Wildcats. Its a great game, ain't it?