Sunday, January 8, 2012

#BIAHRoadTrip The Diary, Part IV: A night on the town with KSR, "Always Strapped when I go to Rupp", and a Playboy interview?

3:00 pm Day 4
Hyatt Regency
Lexington, KY
Total Miles: 872

Road Trip Part-I
Road Trip Part-II
Road Trip Part-III

Remember how I said that I could live in Nashville?

I could never live in Lexington.

And that's a compliment, because if I moved to Lexi, I don't think I'd survive a year with Matt Jones, Drew Franklin and the rest of Team KSR only a tweet away. A Saturday night on the town with those rabble-rousers is something that I barely remember but will never forget. We ended up at Lexington Tin Roof, which I'm sure was fun given the way I felt this morning.

The craziest part about hanging out with Team KSR is seeing the reaction of Kentucky fans. Matt Jones is legitimately a celebrity in Kentucky. Bars pay him appearance fees to show up for the night like he's Kim Kardashian. He would walk down the street and people would come out of the woodwork to shake his hand. He must have posed for 15 pictures during the night. And of course, I was the guy that would walk up to them after the picture and say "Matt Jones is a terrible person that hates puppies and shops at Krogers."

The ironic part?

Drew Franklin is the one with all the talent at KSR.

All kidding aside, many thanks go out to both Matt and Drew for showing us a good time in Lexington.


I'm from Connecticut and I live in DC. Those aren't exactly the most gun-friendly places in the country -- I've never shot anything more deadly than a paintball gun -- so its relatively shocking to me to see and meet people that actually own firearms.

So you can probably imagine my reaction when I saw this walking down the street in the middle of downtown Lexington:

That is a man carrying an AK-47 AR-15 (my bad) down the street.

That picture is taken not 300 yards from Rupp Arena.

I know Kentucky fans took their hoops seriously, but this isn't a soccer match between Israel and Palestine. This is a basketball game between Kentucky and South Carolina. Its not like the Gamecocks are actually that good this year.

Thankfully, there was a perfectly valid explanation for this. You see, Rupp Arena is part of a much bigger building that includes a restaurant, a mall, a hotel and a convention center, and apparently this weekend that convention center happened to play host to a gun show. So there was actually a reason this guy was walking down the street armed with enough firepower to take down a Mexican drug cartel.

My only question: he doesn't need a case for that thing? You can just have it out in the open like that?


Eventually, we safely made our way into Rupp Arena. And I have to tell you -- the environment at the game was not quite what I expected. Yes, the place was packed. Yes, there were thousands of members of the Big Blue Nation milling around three hours before and three hours after the game. Yes, everyone was extremely friendly and happy and cheerful.

But I thought there would be more energy.

To be honest, it felt like I was at an NBA game. The crowd would clap and cheer at made baskets and nice hustle plays. The folks sitting behind us let out the occasional "come on, now" or "Oh no". When Kentucky made a push at the end of the first half to open up a 14 point lead, the place got really loud. But there wasn't the constant buzz or the perpetual noise that you usually see at a college game.

Yes, I know, it was South Carolina. Its hard to get up for a game like that when you are just seven days removed from smoking your in-state rivals, and Kentucky didn't help matters by playing like they were half-asleep for the first 18 minutes. The fact that there were more than 24,000 fans at the game is incredible, but the sense that I got was that attending this game was more about fulfilling their social agenda than coming to the game to help carry Kentucky to a win.

The next time I come to Rupp, its going to be for Louisville, North Carolina, Indiana or Florida. I want to see those 24,000 people go crazy.


This is the part of the story where we effed up.

You see, both Troy and I were up very early on Saturday morning. We had some work to finish up before we made the three hour trek from Nashville to Lexington and wanted to get on the road early enough that we would a) be able to find a place to stay and b) get to the arena early enough that we could meet and greet a couple of UK fans.

This was successful. The guy below is known as Bearded Guy. He was sitting about five feet from Referee Guy. There is also a fan known as Dancing Guy, who slides down the rail in between sections 19 and 20 and dances -- very inappropriately, I'm told -- while "Mony, Mony" is played during the first TV timeout of the second half. Unfortunately, this didn't happen during this game as UK celebrated one of their traditions by spelling out Kentucky during the timeout. They have a celebrity come out for the Y when they do this, and on Saturday that celebrity was former Kentucky coach Joe B. Hall:

The only thing more epic (epicer?) than that beard is this sign:

The reason I showed you Bearded Guy is that he was the one selected to take a half court shot for $10,000 from Kroger's. But he worked for Kroger's at one point, which means that he was ineligible for the contest. So he chose Referee Guy to take the shot. And what do you know, Referee Guy made it!

Is foot was on the half court line, however, and that initially made Kroger's say they weren't going to pay. But UK fans rode for Referee Guy -- whose real name is Vincent Swope -- getting #OccupyKroger to trend on twitter and going as far as taking pictures in front of the supermarket chain:

Where were Troy and I during all of this? Getting some caffeine. Are we allowed to cross this off of the checklist?


Remember this chick?

She supports the #BIAHRoadTrip:

After the game, when the players came out for interviews, there wasn't a single person that wanted to interview Kyle Wiltjer, so this girl -- whose name is Megan Dills -- went over to interview him. The conversation went like this:

Dills: "My name is Megan, I guess I'll interview you. What do you like to do besides basketball?"

Wiltjer: "I don't know. Hang out with friends."

Dills: "Do you have a girlfriend?"

Wiltjer: "No. I'm done."

As he walked out, one of UK's SIDs said to Wiltjer "you better hurry up."


After the game, Troy and I headed over to Lexington Catholic High School where Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress, both Kentucky commits, were playing. We were curious to see how many UK fans showed up, and we weren't disappointed. The gym was packed.

The best part was when the Kentucky team showed up. They had a spot above the court sectioned off for them to watch the game:

We only stayed at the gym for about 30 minutes, but it was long enough for us to here one fan bellow out "KYLE WILTJER" when the 6'9" freshman showed up at the gym.


After getting back to our hotel from the high school game, we met up with Josh Capers of and the legendary @FakeGimel to try out some real Kentucky bourbon. We gave Four Roses a try, and it was just as good as expected. I definitely have a pallet for bourbon, yet another reason Lexington and I would have an incredibly rocky relationship.

(Troy's Interjection)

I'll try to divulge a bit more information than Rob, without revealing too many Big Blue Nation secrets. We started off at Horse & Barrel Pub in downtown Lexington for the aforementioned bourbon, which, I have to admit, was disgusting. This is no knock on Kentucky bourbon. All bourbon is disgusting. Gin is disgusting, whiskey is disgusting. I'm not saying I won't/don't drink it, I just think it tastes like vinegar.

We then hit up Goodfella's Pizza, which was the best pizza we've had on this trip. Once we left Goodfella's we met up with the KSR crew, and that's when things got hazy.

But this is what I will say about the events that took place. See, I'm from the Mid-Atlantic and had the misfortune of attending an inner-city catholic school, a New England Prep School, and small liberal arts college in Central Pennsylvania.

I'm not used to seeing the type of women that frequent Lexington. Ever. I'm talking nothing by 8s, 9s, and 10s. Before the night was through, I pledged to attend graduate school at Kentucky no less than 11 times. My neck was sore the next morning because of the amount of 'double-takes" I did throughout the course of the night. I did not want to leave. Sunday morning was one of the worst hangovers I've ever had, and it wasn't even because I was drunk.

Also, Matt Jones and Drew Franklin are legitimately two of the funniest people I've ever met. Matt's story-telling abilities are like nothing I've ever seen before, and Drew, well, he's just the type of guy who will make every boring scenario or situation infinitely more funny. I had to think long and hard about not swapping Rob out for Drew before I headed to Cincinnati.


Sunday is a day dedicated to recuperation and catching up on some work. We will be heading up to Cincinnati on Monday morning with a quick stopover in Highland Heights to check out Northern Kentucky University.



Anonymous said...

You must have followed the Journalist's Guide to Firearms Identification ( when writing this post....

For the record, that is an AR-15 and open-carry is not illegal.

Glad you enjoyed your time in Lexington!

Anonymous said...

Agreed, how can you confuse an AK with an AR? Sad that this is considered weird, I carry all the time....

Dan Forcella said...

it's Kroger. Not Kroger's.

Anonymous said...

And it's "Who's ready", not "Whose ready".

Anonymous said...

I would expect to more proper grammar and spelling in this. Guess that's what you get for hanging out with the dummy Matt Jones

Anonymous said...

You do know that people have died from Skyline chilli don't you.

Anonymous said...

Bwahahahaha. I can't stop laughing. You have a pallet for Bourbon and you think Four Roses is decent Bourbon? You're right though, you probably couldn't live in Lexington if you went around ordering Four Roses. Locals would know instantly how sophisticated your pallet really is. Sorry. Facts are facts.

Anonymous said...

BTW, Four Roses is very good bourbon, don't let that idiot tell you otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Four Roses is very good bourbon. Smooth.

Anonymous said...

Four Roses is a good bourbon. A bourbon doen't have to be expensive to be good.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for stopping by in Lex. I've been to about 40 games at Rupp over the last 3 years. The atmosphere you've identified is sadly the norm there. The crowd gets up for Tennessee as well as the teams you mentioned. It must be said, though, the energy lags significantly even during these kind of games unless they are truly big time (like UNC v. UK this year or UL always). If the IU game was played at Rupp this year it would've been half as loud as it was at IU. I don't know why Rupp is so quiet, but it is. More students stood the entire game at my undergraduate school (UC Davis) than do at UK games.