I keep telling myself to cheer up. After all, nobody died, right? That’s the thing—every time my Kentucky Wildcats are eliminated from the NCAA tournament, I feel as if there really is a death in the family. A season that started out with so much hope and promise suddenly ends in a last-second ash heap of disappointment on the hardwood of FedExForum. I know that middle-aged men shouldn’t have their emotional state tied into the athletic prowess of 18-year-old basketball prodigies, but I grew up in Kentucky and that’s how we roll in our state. We all live and die with our Cats.
Only four times in my lifetime have the Wildcats gone on to win the title, so I’ve been through this funk many times before. The season unexpectedly ends and you’re faced with the reality of entering the real world again. No more weekends on the road, cheering your team to tournament wins. No more heartbreaking buzzer beaters or post-game press conferences. No more stories to write or deadlines to meet. No more survive and advance. It’s suddenly over and you’re back to your normal life–paying your bills, walking your dog, and mowing your lawn.
How great would it be if I could just keep living in a fantasy world for a little bit longer? What if after the final buzzer, I just escaped to some Caribbean island to watch sunsets and sip Coronas? What if I could sequester myself away from any sort of post-season basketball analysis–completely isolated from the perils of sports talk radio, newspaper headlines, and the twitter feed? It’d be like a Big Blue detox while supine in the sand, soaking up the sun, and swimming in the surf.
What’s keeping me from doing that? Absolutely nothing. I’m packed with airline tickets and passport in hand. My skin is pasty pale from the lack of winter sun. I’ve got a pot belly, love handles, and boobs to match. Too much bad food at media buffets over the course of a long season has turned me into my brother. I know I’ll stand out like a British tourist on the Costa del Sol, but I don’t care. I’ll do anything to avoid watching Carolina win it all.
So where am I headed? Turks and Caicos! Their tourism website tells me it’s the home of “breathtaking hues from inviting waters, and legendary diving, snorkeling and fishing.” It’s also TripAdvisor’s latest pick for the world’s top island. I’ll be staying on Grace Bay Beach, voted as the 2016 best beach in the world. The skeptic in me can’t wait to find out what that’s all about, hehe.
But it’s not all about going to “the best” to escape “the worst.” I really picked Turks and Caicos because I’m meeting my daughter Katie and her boyfriend there. You remember Nick, the deejay, from my previous post?
He’s playing a musical set on the beach at the five-star Shore Club resort on Saturday night, and I’ve been invited along as a VIP guest. The timing’s perfect. Just as Carolina takes the court, I’ll be busting out my moves on the dance floor, cutting a rug, getting my groove on as the ignominious memories of a Luke Maye buzzer beater fade into the glorious Caribbean sunset.