By Sarah Rose
GLASGOW DAILY TIMES (GLASGOW, Ky.)
GLASGOW, Ky. —
As the Kentucky Wildcats prepare for their 16th Final Four appearance this weekend, they’ve reawakened the passions of fans across the country, including one woman who watches every game on TV, even though she can’t clearly see the players’ faces.
Most of the time, especially when UK is in the NCAA tournament, family members sit with 92-year-old Marie Jones during games to tell her what she’s missing visually. She sits a couple of feet away from the television during the game.
“I can hear it (the games) pretty well,” said Jones, a Glasgow native. “I have to strain my ears sometimes but I do pretty well with it.”
After UK held on to beat Michigan in last weekend’s Midwest Regional Final, Jones rocked back and forth in her chair excitedly, clapping her hands and shedding tears of joy.
“She was so happy,” said her daughter, Debby Browning, “They are naming the team the ‘Cardiac Cats’ this year in the tournament. And mom said, ‘Well, that sure is true.’”
During the games, Jones often fields calls from various family members wanting to know what she thinks of the action, her daughter said.
“She may have four or five phone calls during the ballgame and all of them are commenting on the ballgame to her,” Browning said. “I say, ‘Mom, how do you stand it?’ She has a grandson who calls her, my brother calls her, her son-in-law calls her. They are all calling her to get her comments. She talks to all of them.”
Jones owns a variety of Wildcat-themed clothing. During a recent interview, she was wearing a Wildcats turtleneck, a Wildcats sweater, a Wildcats pin, blue socks, blue pants and blue earrings. Her daughter said she has been wearing items like that almost every day since the tournament began.
“She also wears UK pajamas,” Browning said, “She probably has 10 to 12 tops.”
She even has a UK-themed Christmas tree.
“The Christmas a year ago, she was in a nursing home because she broke her hip,” Browning said. “We took her Christmas tree out there and set it up. It has blue beads and blue ornaments and blue bow and UK ornaments. I think everybody in the nursing home went to come see her tree.”
Jones said after her husband died 30 years ago, she started watching games with her family.
“My husband never cared for sports and we never watched it when he was living ... ,” she said. “Years ago, I wouldn’t have thought I would get so into a ballgame.”