NCAA Final 4 2012
Kentucky is one of those states where—in close proximity—two excellent college sports programs compete head to head, season after season, sport after sport, in an intense rivalry to be #1. In our state, and in our office, we are blessed to have both the University of Louisville Cardinals and the University of Kentucky Wildcats represented.
The past few years have been pretty amazing for college sports in Kentucky, with both Athletic Departments mature and in prime swing. In particular, 2012 was the year for both basketball teams in Kentucky.
Most of our clients know that Travis and Kelly Terlau are Cardinals, U of L alums, and that Amy Lindroth is a loyal, steadfast UK Cats fan. Her West Virginia (Mountaineers) fanatic husband Brian got his architecture degree from UK, and if it’s a matchup between Big Red and Big Blue, Brian’s going Big Blue, baby.
Back in 2012, with a stroke of luck and a very tiny window in our calendars, we seized the opportunity for some team building for our Client Relations Department. We were witness to sports history in the making: the 2012 New Orleans Final Four. U of L battled UK in the Final Four game. University of Kentucky, the victors, headed into the Finals to compete against the Kansas Jayhawks, where the University of Kentucky became the 2012 National Champions.
But back to the beginning. We all loaded into Brian and Amy’s minivan, picked up an additional passenger, Stephanie (a UK fanatic) and hauled it through state after state, aimed for Dreamland BBQ, a BBQ joint Brian had heard “we had to go to.” After a long BBQ detour in Alabama, and with barely a night’s rest, we arrived late morning in NOLA, parked in a shaded area and went to work trolleying and strolling the city streets of New Orleans.
Amy and Brian are people that know someone everywhere they go. And as a group, we’re all pretty amiable—strangers to no one. We made new friends, ran into old ones and enjoyed the more nostalgic street vendors.
Because our adventure was very last minute, Amy had hopped on VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) and snatched us up the most adorable cottage in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, about a 45-minute drive from downtown New Orleans. (VRBO # 31324)
Our trip was very well organized, from where we stayed to where we parked and everywhere in between. Brian mapped out the perfect area to park in downtown NOLA, central to where the game was, and a block away from the expressway ramp. By avoiding the post-game crowds, we were able to go from excitement to serenity. It felt like two completely different short vacations packed into one excursion. We easily adopted the motto that hung on our front door.
Bay St. Louis, Mississippi is a beautiful coastal city, known for its quaint atmosphere, welcoming locals and antique shopping. In 2012, Bay St. Louis was still slowly rebuilding from 2005’s devastating hurricane, Katrina. The couple who rented Amy the house, Ronnie and Sandy Robért, stopped by to welcome us and to chat briefly.
They had bought the home to renovate as an income property, and they were almost completely done…when the storm struck. They’re only a few blocks from the beach which meant they took a hit from the swells. The appliances that had been delivered that morning, some still sitting on the front lawn ready to be installed, were swept away in the rising flood waters. Their beautiful home, painted, refinished and partially decorated, was still standing strong at the end of the flooding. But their family suffered a devastating loss that they were still recovering from when we arrived in 2012 for the big games. Their second round of renovations were wonderful, and the home was welcoming.
A five-minute leisurely walk away from our front door, through a quaint center of town, you arrive on the coast line, where we saw signs of survival and signs of rebuilding. Only a few trees survived the pounding storms of Katrina, and local artist Dayle Lewis had made his mark on a few of them. This tree has a family of herons carved into the right tree branch. The intricate detail of the center angel up close blends beautifully with the tree’s natural qualities- her wings spread high behind her.
As Dayle’s work progresses, he hand-builds the scaffolding beside each tree so that he can get to just the right angle and linger there as he carves.
There was a beautiful shaded area, with lush green grass. So close to the water’s edge that one wouldn’t have believed what storms it had endured until you got closer to see stone buildings, each with their own collection of rubble, hidden beneath the beauty.
We spent two mornings between games in Bay St. Louis, and each morning we dined at The Buttercup. Amy and I enjoyed the local neighborhoods and read. Travis and Brian took advantage of the local golf.
In the large empty lot on the cusp between downtown and the waterfront there was a large promotional banner, very cheerful in nature, from BP. This area’s wildlife and coastline apparently took quite a beating from oil spills due to storm conditions.
Each of our families wished our kids could have been with us to sit on the waterfront and watch the amazing systems of trains and pulleys, cargo, and materials…all slowly rebuilding the bridges and coastal infrastructures.
It’s absolutely amazing watching these feats of engineering unraveling at a long day’s end with these immense structures standing in the wake.
We ate on the top deck of Trapani’s Eatery, where we spied…
… a ’66 Chevy Convertible. Amy and Travis hauled it down to the curb to catch a picture before the sun completely set. That’s Amy taking a picture for her Dad. Amy is pretty savvy with cars. This ’66 Mustang is the same vehicle that Travis and his Dad had rebuilt when he was a teenager—their bonding project.
But back to basketball. After all, we were in NOLA for the National Championship Semi-Finals and Finals.
I think the Cardinal fans definitely supported the choice of red for all of the exterior signage.
Travis was a record-holding track athlete for the University of Louisville. His times in the 200m dash (from way back then) were quite good. Watching the 2012 Olympics, we saw athletes competing at Travis’s best time from the mid-1990s.
We are all proud to be from Kentucky, and this quick trip was a great way for our Client Relations Department to enjoy each other’s company and grow as a team.
This photo was taken during the final game, when the UK Wildcats played the Kansas Jayhawks. We had great seats—up a bit, but still center court—making the incredible athleticism easy to watch. Each basket was hard fought and both team’s defense was relentless.
We definitely were all UK fans in the Championship Finals. Courageously, Travis wore his U of L flip flops into the sea of blue.
There were so many incredible athletes on the court that we were blessed to see play the game. But one star rose above them all in 2012, Anthony Davis.
Even the UK Cat sported the now-famous unibrow.
The University of Kentucky Wildcats beat the Kansas Jayhawks 67 to 59. And what did we do? We hauled it outta there, to our awesome parking space right next to the highway, and hightailed it out of town to beat the crowds. On our long drive north, even the Cards fans were glad that this one time the cat got the bird.