Last week I promised you a story about our beloved John Calipari that even Cal himself is unaware of. The only thing I told you about the story is that it had something to do with the university’s women’s basketball camp and since tonight is Cal’s 2nd edition of that camp, it is only fitting I break the story out today. My wife, mother, and my mother –in-law are all going to be in attendance tonight as my wife and mother were last year. The girls in my life love the women’s clinics at UK and I am sure tonight will be another great experience for them. Plus, I am guaranteed 3 nice Nike balls signed by the entire team just like the one I have from last year, it is a no lose situation for everyone! The story I am about to share was told to me by my wife and mother and may not mean much to anyone else, but it is pretty cool in my eyes.
At the beginning of last year’s camp, all of the women and girls assembled in the stands of memorial Coliseum. Cal introduced himself, his staff, and his team to all of the lovely ladies. After welcoming all of them, the women were separated into groups for the duration of the camp and for a special photograph they would be taking with the new head coach, Mr. Calipari. After a majority of the groups had had their picture taken with the head coach, one particular young woman could be seen edging closer and closer to the area where the pictures were being taken. She was in one of the final groups that would get their chance to be seated close to Cal for what would be a memorable moment for all of those involved. The reason she was sneaking closer and closer to the photo area was because when her group was finally called, she wanted one of the prize positions directly beside Cal. Some of you men that are reading this might giggle at such nonsense, but I would wager that at least 60% of you would do the same thing. The other 40% wouldn’t’ do it only because your friends would laugh at you. Finally, the young woman’s group was called and it was a mad dash to get that coveted seat nearest Cal for the photograph. As she ran for the seat she wanted so badly, she caught a glimpse of a young girl out of her periphery running hard towards the same seat. The fact the young woman had been scoping the scene and knew the most direct line to get to the chair closest for Cal for the past 30 minutes enabled her to overtake the young girl to get the seat she had wanted so badly. So, there she was, right beside her newest UK hero, John Calipari, she could have not been happier about her decision to attend the camp at that point. Then, the young woman noticed the young girl who she had beaten in a foot race had taken the seat beside her and looked very disappointed she was not going to get to sit next to the coach. After a little thought, the young woman (an elementary school teacher) decided to forgo her prime spot to the young, 13 year old girl. A smile immediately spread across the young girl’s face, as well as Coach Cal’s. Cal told the young woman how nice it was for her to perform such a gesture, and spread his arm around the young girl and over to the young woman’s shoulder for the picture.
After the group photograph, all of the girls began their camp experience, touring the practice facility, weight rooms, Wildcat Lodge, and various other areas. They were able to meet all of the 2009 Wildcats as well as get pictures and autographs from all of them. All of the ladies that I know had a great time and could not tell me enough about how wonderful everyone on Coach Cal’s staff was to them. After all of the tours and activities concluded, the women and girls met back up in Memorial Coliseum for the closing ceremonies. Coach Cal had a raffle for the campers where he gave out wine, madness tickets, and his book, Bounce Back to raffle winners. Towards the end of the presentation, Cal announced that he also wanted to give a special prize to someone who had done something really nice by giving up their seat to a young girl for the pictures. He instructed one of his managers to go up to his office and bring back the audio book of Bounce Back he had on his desk. Once the manager returned from getting the prize, he asked the young woman to raise her hand and he took the audio book to her and thanked her for being so nice. Of course, the young woman was overjoyed and could not wait to go home and tell her husband about what had just happened to her. The camp ended and all of the campers went home to tell the men in their life how cool they were and how they knew more about the “dribble Drive Offense” then they did.
That would have been a sweet story in itself, but there is obviously more. This is the part Coach Cal doesn’t even know about. From all of the reports I received after that night, the audio book Cal gave to the young lady for her good deed was the only audio book of Bounce Back he gave out that night. He gave out plenty of books in print, but that was the only book on tape he had to give away. The reason this is significant is because they young lady who cal gave that audio book to actually had a reason for needing an audio book. Unbeknownst to Calipari, the young woman’s husband is legally blind and is unable to read a printed book. I am not sure of how many ladies in those stands were or are married to blind guys, but I would have to think the odds of Cal finding one of them to give an audio book to are fairly large. The young lady and her wonderful husband have talked about this story over and over again over the past year and I am happy to be able to share it with you folks this afternoon. As some of you might have guessed by now, the young lady, Jessica, is my wife. Thanks Coach Cal. Have a great time tonight girls! Go cats!