LEXINGTON, Ky. — Uncle Mel arrived in the city that is the proclaimed Horse Capital of the World and walking the city streets of this town under a great Kentucky blue sky and sunshine, your old Uncle Mel arrived at the historical Adolph Rupp Arena located in the middle of blue grass country and the city of Lexington, Kentucky.
Uncle Mel expected to see a palace were basketball legends from the past live and breath.
Uncle Mel knows about little bit of tradition and a little bit about history but what Uncle Mel did not know or respect is that basketball in the commonwealth of Kentucky is a religion and the high church for the fans of the University of Kentucky basketball must make an excursion to that historical building that is located in the middle of the city to pay homage.
Nieces and nephews-it serious business!
The arena itself is not menacing looking from the outside but when you walk through the door it is like stepping into a time machine.
The atmosphere is drenched with tradition, the rafter are filled with retired jerseys and the history of past championship teams are on display for the world to gaze upon and see that the best of basketball is played with in the red brick walls of this place that the Wildcats call home.
Eastern Michigan University also has a rich basketball tradition too but not many Eagle fans would not beware of it because of the style of basketball being played from the past.
Now nieces and nephews the Eagles have a building too that is rich in basketball atmosphere but now it dose not do anything but sit all alone in the middle of campus.
Uncle Mel witnessed a lot of Eastern Michigan University basketball memories were made inside Bowen Fieldhouse.
Bowen had a personality on game night. The heat was always on and is was wonderfully dingy and hot but when the Eagles played the place was packed and the noise would be at level that it could be heard for days after the game because of the echo.
Now the one ingredient that is missing from the teams that now play and call the Convocation Center home- is winning!
Yes, winning is the cure for a lot of things at Eastern Michigan University that would be fixed.
The Convocation Center in comparing with Adolph Rupp Arena and Bowen Fieldhouse is like night and day because of the history and location.
The Convocation Center sits alone a long way from the center of campus and from the center of Ypsilanti.
The losing basketball that once fouled up the air like burnt microwave popcorn is slowly being replaced by Eastern Michigan University basketball coach Rob Murphy.
Eastern Michigan University lost for the first time at home this season against Oakland University 59-57 but the Eagles got back on track after defeating Siena Heights 87-49 but Uncle Mel is not so impressed with that as much as the 47-44 defeat of Purdue University.
Uncle Mel just wonder what the atmosphere would have been if Purdue University walked off of the court at Bowen Fieldhouse feeling the sting of defeat.
Rupp Arena has a feel to it, the noise is something to also feel, people arrive three hours early to come inside just to see the arena these people are not employed by the Lexington Center or by the arena.
At 6 p.m. Eastern Michigan University will walk into the Church of the Wildcats and they all can say that they walked onto the holy-wooded floor that University of Kentucky disciples Dan Issel, Louie Dampier and Sam Bowie have also stepped onto and played the style of basketball that leaves a lasting memory that Wildcat fans will talk about forever.
When the service is over and the last of the followers and members of the Church of the Wildcats go home the memory for Uncle Mel and for the Eastern Michigan University will last forever – just like Rupp Arena.
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation. I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.