COLUMN: Does it ever get tiring to be a Wildcat?

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By Shannon Brock

As giddy as a school girl.

That’s how I described my mood after having my picture taken with University of Kentucky men’s basketball player Ramon Harris at Friday’s DARE graduation. And I know I wasn’t the only one.

“That’s Harris! That’s him right there!” I heard one DARE graduate shout in disbelief while standing about 10 feet in front of the senior Wildcat who graduated last weekend.

“I’ll never wash my hand again,” said another after getting a high-five.

I have to say, Harris proved to be a good speaker. He kept the children’s attention with his words as much as he did his stature, both figuratively and literally.

When the ceremony was over, school officials, parents and students rushed Harris’ direction. I did, too, to get more pictures for the paper, of course. It was strictly professional. (Please, sense the sarcasm.)

But even in my celebrity-induced stupor, I had to ask myself, “I wonder if that gets tiring?”

Being bombarded with media, cameras, fans. Parents dragging their children toward you for a chance to take that photo. Whispers behind your back when you go out in public — “Is that him? Maybe. I can’t tell.” I don’t think I could handle it. Maybe that’s why I’m behind the camera.

I almost turned down my opportunity to take a photo with Harris because deep down I was thinking that was just another time the camera had to flash, another second he’d be held up.

I just wonder if it ever gets tiring. Now, from what I can tell about Harris — from his graciousness Friday to articles I’ve read about him to following him on Twitter — I bet he’s the type not to complain. And that makes him all the more admirable.

One might argue that these young men “ask” for this kind of treatment when they sign on to play for UK. But they sign on to play basketball and to get an education, not necessarily to be hounded every time they step out the door.

And I’d say I have to agree with those who say the positives outweigh the negatives in most of their situations. And I’m sure that 90 percent of the time you would ask, they’d say they’re thankful for all the opportunities they’ve been given.

But I just wonder if, the other 10 percent of the time, they’re just really tired.

After receiving a copy of my photo with Harris earlier this week, I have to say the smile on his face doesn’t look so tired. He looks like a thankful young man who was happy to be afforded the chance to speak at a DARE graduation.

And me? Well, I look as giddy as a school girl.

Follow Shannon Brock at Twitter.com/ANewsSBrock.