On March 16, 2010, I began reliving my trip to the 2010 SEC Tournament in Nashville. As I told you yesterday, I will be reposting all four parts of the saga beginning now until Sunday. If you are heading south and come back with a story to tell, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org Enjoy!
My trip to Nashville started last Wednesday after work. An uneventful trip down the BG parkway and I-65 landed us at our hotel for only one night. We would be moving to the Sheraton Suites Downtown on Thursday afternoon. We have had reservations there since last June or July. Being the tourney veterans, we know you have to plan way ahead, so get your rooms for the ATL now if you are going.
My brother and I were a little anxious and decided on a late night cruise to Broadway and 2nd Ave. after we arrived in the city. Although it was not a completely ‘blued’ out scene, it was obvious UK fans were starting to make their move into the city limits. A few ‘C.A.T.S! chants could be heard murmuring from the numerous watering holes, the invasion was happening and it was going to happen fast.
Thursday morning of the SEC Tournament is a very cool day to be an SEC basketball fan. No one has played yet, no one has lost yet, and everyone has plenty of spirit and hope for the upcoming weekend. Vandy fans even take time to look up from their encyclopedia’s for a brief moment to enjoy what is happening. The colors, the sounds, and the pageantry are something that all UK and SEC fans should try to experience at least once.
After a short stop at the nearest liquor store, the TGR train pulled into its final destination Thursday afternoon. It did not take long to discover that we were staying at the Mississippi State fan and team headquarters. We saw more than 8 of their fans early, so it had to mean this was where they are all staying, because there are not more than 10 MSU fans in existence (Due to a rude MSU fan on an elevator, I will no longer ever be a fan of or cheer for the bulldogs, more about that later). When we got to our 9th floor room, it became clearer that it was MSU’s hotel, when we saw the entire MSU team chillin’ on their balconies one floor above ours. I never saw them contending for the tournament title, so I did not take the time or effort to heckle them like I had done the UT Vols the year before, not worth it.
The TGR family started to assemble soon after we arrived. The planes and vehicles all arrived safely in Music City and moved toward our downtown home.
Our SEC Tournament started the same as it had the year before, with a tequila shot for my mother, this time minus the iced tea. Legend’s Corner Bar was the official TGR gang hang out for the weekend. It is located on the opposite corner as the Bridgestone Arena, its location is butter for UK fans while attending the tourney. It has a wonderful combination of country music and extremely cold beer that makes it hard for me to pass up. The band was “just OK”, he seemed to think he was Tim McGraw. It was kinda weird actually that someone would try to immolate someone that much. He had the hat, the look, and the wiggling hips (my wife noticed that, not me). Cold beer makes any music good though, and it was handy in this situation.
I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how to get SEC tickets, if you don’t have any, from scalpers. Wear a neutral color or the color of a losing team, etc… My brother did not have tickets and took this advice. He went in the afternoon and night sessions searching for tickets for the cats Friday after noon tilt. He was unsuccessful, not only were tickets hard to come by, the ones that were available were extremely overpriced. Scalping is legal in Nashville, if you have an ID from the local chamber of Commerce, so there was no real limit on ticket prices folks could ask for. A ticket to UK’s first game is being described from some as the “toughest ticket in SEC tournament history”. Prices ranged from $1,200.00 for upper level to $2,000.00 a ticket for lower level seating, quite a bit out of the league of most UK fans.
Several hours after we arrived at Legend’s Bar, we were still there. It was only after about 5 or 6 hours that we took our group elsewhere. By this time most , if not all, of us were feeling no pain, to say the least. My wife was no exception, and the moment she saw UK Head coach Joker Phillips walking down the street, it was on. So, here goes…
Dear Joker, I am sorry for my wifes behavior Thursday night. She knew the next morning that you probably did not care about her going to the women’s football camp last year. She also knew that you probably could not understand much else she said. She was just very excited and happy to see her fav new football coach, and she can’t wait until next year. She is very sorry for harassing you.
Our stroll down Music Row went in and out of some of Nashville’s best honky tonks. It was a perfect atmosphere for UK’s ballgame eve. A couple of cold snacks later, I found myself tucked into my cozy hotel bed.
A few of the TGR crew did not do as I did, instead they took to the hotel bar on the lower level. Cat fans have a lot of things in common, one being that it is never too late, or too early to get a big loud ‘C.A.T.S!’ cheer going. Our hotel had an open area in the middle of the hotel, so all of the hotel balconies were on the inside. Whenever there is the slightest sound in the bottom of the hotel, it echoes up all 20+ floors. That might have been why
the hotel manager, followed by one of Nashville’s finest had to tell the TGR crew to shut up. When one of the TGR was told to stop chanting he told the cop that he would stop, but the 9 year old in the bar had to also. The late 20 something and the 9 year old were asked to leave the bar area.
Friday was game day for the Cats, more on that later…Go cats!