A Day 100 Years in the Making - Transylvania vs. Kentucky!
Good Morning November 2, 2011. It is the day of the Transylvania University vs. University of Kentucky basketball game. And WOW what a day!! You know how I always blog during Kentucky Derby week and always mention how cool it is to wake up on Derby Day and roll out of bed to hit the great outdoors. On Derby Day, something just feels so different on that historic day. Everything feels so special. You feel like the grass has never been greener, the flowers have never been prettier and you take a deep breath and reflect on how great it is to be a Kentuckian! Today, pretty much feels the same way. After all, it is Kentucky, the land of bourbon, fast horses, and basketball. So I bet you are asking why a basketball game is so special after all? I can give you 100 reasons why today is a historic day –tonight marks the first time these schools have met to play ball in exactly 100 long years. And up the ante, the series is tied at 7-7 even. Tonight, it is all on the line!
My heart is torn and so is my wardrobe. As you know, I am a Transylvania University graduate, class of 2001. After graduation, I enjoyed working for several years in the Public Relations office at Transy. Had a blast and met so many wonderful people in our community and connected with many alumni of all decades. Funny side note, the day before classes began at Transy my freshman year, I was moving in and met Sarah Emmons, Director of Public Relations. We began chatting and I mentioned my cousin was Harry Stephenson. Harry was a Transy graduate and well basically, all everything at Transy from Athletic Director to Golf Coach etc. over his 70 plus year span at the University. Sarah and Harry were great buddies on campus and she knew his love for Transy ran deep. She then immediately told me that I couldn’t work with the basketball coaches and instead I should assist her and learn the Public Relations world with her. (I had contacted the basketball program at Transy before classes started and connected with them to help with the teams since I love basketball so much. (And here is a little plug for my class year, in 2001; we were ranked #1 in the nation). Needless to say, I had a blast with Sarah in Public Relations promoting a school I love so deeply. I still actually did end up also working with the basketball teams by broadcasting the play-by-play on our campus radio station. Definitely the best of both worlds and today, my love for Transy is on the scale of Cousin Harry’s.
(Transy Coach Brian Lane, KimSoper.com & Eugenia Harrison)
This morning as I was reflecting on the game, I thought I had been a Kentucky basketball fan for much longer than my years at Transy had even began. I grew up in the Paris Pike area so my parents and brother and I would just take a straight shot commute through downtown Lexington to attend the Kentucky games. I have been going since I was in diapers. As a little kid when we drove downtown to the Kentucky games, I remember seeing the Transy campus and my dad telling me my cousin was there. But then it hit me, hey, it’s true as much as I love Kentucky, my family ties to Transy started in 1936 long before I was even born. Cousin Harry enrolled that year as a student and in years later became the First athletics director west of the Allegheny Mountains. Since joining the faculty and staff in 1948, he has enjoyed an unbroken record of over 60 years of service as teacher, administrator, and coach that may be unprecedented in the school’s history. In 1951 Harry even hired C. M. Newton, former Transylvania men’s basketball coach for 14 seasons, then later Vanderbilt University Coach and now a consultant to the Southeastern Conference.
As a high school student, I researched Transy’s extensive history and learned that it was so deeply embedded in Kentucky and the nation, that Transy was the only school I applied too. So as I wrap up this blog and wonder if I should wear a Transy or Kentucky shirt to the game later today, it all becomes so clear. Families always stick together and today should be no different. Go Pioneers!
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