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September 30, 2013
It's playtime for Cats at Picadome charity stop
A little girl in pink cowboy boots waited for the ball to roll in.
She kicked it, as hard as she could.
Her boot flew off.
Before she ran to first base, she decided she must first have her boot back. So she went and picked it up, struggled to slide her foot back inside and then proceeded to run to the large mat in the Picadome Elementary School gym.
Kentucky point guard Andrew Harrison fell to the floor laughing.
"Just giving them memories," Johnson said.
The Wildcats gave them plenty. They flagged down some kicks in the air. They let others roll between their legs, feigning an inspired dive. They chased kids to home plate.
At first, Johnson figured the players would come in and "take it light." Then things got competitive.
"We could have won it, but those little guys, they took it serious and beat us," Johnson said.
Result aside, Johnson was happy to show the elementary school audience another side to him.
"They just see us on the basketball court," Johnson said. "But we're great people off the court."
Hood -- a veteran of such trips -- was glad the freshmen got to see just how much influence their status as UK players gives them.
"I don't know how long each of them will be here," Hood said, "but I'm glad we got to get them out here."
Hood said he enjoyed being able to interact with the children in an engaging way.
And he, as the oldest -- "been here since the Rupp days," Johnson muttered as Hood was introduced -- was tabbed to give a quick talk to the children.
"Don't just put all of your time into one thing," Hood told the kids. "Spread it all out. But most importantly, keep everything fun. That's all I have to tell you. Keep everything fun, and everything will work itself out."
He wants his teammates to remember the same message.
"You don't have fun with stuff, you don't give back to people, you don't spend time with young kids," Hood said, "Then they don't understand what it means -- to be not just a person who can affect someone's life but a person in society nowadays."