TAMPA, Fla. — Now that Uncle Mel has become a victim of the 2014 flu season, it feels good to get back into the saddle and back to work, just like the University of South Florida basketball team.
Tonight the task at hand will be a giant test because stepping onto the court inside the Sun Dome, the defending 2013 NCAA basketball championship-the University of Louisville.
The Cardinals never looked back and defeated the University of South Florida 86-47, in front of the largest crowd of the season inside the Sun Dome.
Before the game started, while the Cardinals were walking out onto the court, just hanging out and shooting the ball, standing in the passage way with cold beverage in his hand, he looked over the rim of the glass, his eyebrow raised and a figure that he remembered appeared from the shadow of the past.
University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino lowered the glass and then switched hands with glass as he stuck out his hand to shake the hand of a friend from a long time ago.
A hand shake just would not do, you have to hug your old Uncle Mel!
Pitino wanted to know where has old Uncle Mel been and how come you don’t send an email or something to let a friend know that you are still alive.
A greeting and scolding too!
When Uncle Mel was a young and inspiring journalist, he went to work at a local newspaper as an intern.
Working in a city that is nestled and is creased by the water of the mighty Mississippi River. A city that requires no second name. A southern city with a tremendous amount of history and it share of heart-breaking tragedy but a town that sure knows how and appreciates a winning team.
At a table inside the famous B.B King’s Restaurant with a famous rack of ribs, on Beale Street your Uncle Mel listen to the lecture from a man that was sweeter than the blues being sung. This man was not singing the blues and he did not mind talking about the future of the University of Memphis basketball. He did not mind talking and sharing his idea of just how important a college education is to a student athlete.
The picture of Pitino that the world sees, is a man who will win at any cost but he is a coach and a competitor for sure but he is also a teacher and he enjoys that part of the game.
He also understands and he tried to educate Uncle Mel, that this game is also a business and winning is just a by-product of the hard work by the players and by the sacrifices made by the assistant coaches.
The circus ride during last season’s tournament is a goal that every team in every conference is trying to get a ticket for and you know what, it does not matter if it is Cinderella team or a tradition rich programs like the University of Louisville, every team wants that banner raised and hanging from the rafters inside their home court.
A program has to have talent and a team must have an anchor to stable a program.
Heath is a solid coach and he does have undying passion for the Bulls and the program and as a coach he does like the feeling of winning but he also takes the loses hard.
The Bulls are a young team and they will get better by having confidence in the ability to take and make a shot, the ability to read the floor but tonight they are learning a valuable lesson.
The lesson tonight for the Bulls-simply how to just forget a bad game.
Pitino said that he expected to see your old Uncle Mel at the big dance in March and what Uncle Mel witness tonight at the Sun Dome, the ticket should be all ready purchased to see the excitement of another championship.
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.