He was up since 4:45 a.m., got off work late and did not want to miss his son's first basketball experience.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on October 25, 2022. It has since been updated.
Fathers often do anything in their power to bring a smile to their children's faces. They try to provide for everything as well as be present on any and every occasion their child needs them. They are superheroes in the true sense. A staunch example of this was on display at the Kentucky Wildcats' annual "blue-white scrimmage" game. Head Basketball Coach John Calipari saw that a coal miner was sitting there with coal dust still on his face beside his son at the game. Calipari clicked a photo of the father-son duo and wrote on Twitter, "My family’s American dream started in a Clarksburg, WV coal mine, so this picture hits home. From what I’ve been told, after his shift, he raced to be with his son & watch our team." The sight of the father, who was most likely fatigued and fresh off his shift, sitting there with his son prompted Coach Calipari to offer them VIP tickets to a future game.
People on the internet rallied together and the father was soon recognized as Michael McGuire and his kid, Easton, from Kentucky. According to his wife Mollie McGuire, the father had been awake since 4:45 a.m. before hurrying home from work to attend the basketball game with his family. A Twitter user shared her comment which reads, "We are truly blessed with such an amazing man, and beyond thankful! We love our coal miner." According to Statista, coal-mining employment has reduced over the years but there are still about 4,000 people working in coal mines in Kentucky. It still remains a major source of income for many households in the area and McGuire's family is one of them.
A Twitter user and son of another coal miner shared in the comments, "My dad almost lost his life around a coal mine when I was only 3 months old. I’m from Wheelwright, just over the mountain from where this game was played. Thanks for sharing this picture." Another added, "Son of a Coal Trucker, my dad missed many high school and college games but he made sure I never missed anything. This is a true Eastern KY dad and it's very cool Cal recognized it..well deserved." A third user shared, "My dad used to come to my games like this, but covered in dirt and dust instead of coal dust and mud from running a strip mine. Thanks for doing this."
No leaving early in the energy sector and I bet he worked a long and grueling shift and didn’t have time to get out of his FRs so he could make his boy’s dream come true. He’s a hero. (I went from Due Process Stable to the natural gas fields of Clarksburg)— Happy (@vagabondgolfpro) October 24, 2022
McGuire spoke to WKYT about the attention he has gotten after his picture went viral. He stated that he had around 45 minutes to travel from work to the game and did not want to miss any of his son, Easton's, first basketball game experience. He added, "It was either go straight there, or miss half the game to go home and take a shower and everything." He didn't realize that he had gone viral on social media until after he got service on his phone after the game. He said, "it went crazy...I couldn’t believe that it was real."
"It’s mind-blowing that everybody came together like that," he added. McGuire stated that he spoke with Calipari Monday evening, who informed him of the VIP experience he wishes to provide the family. They haven't decided which game they will attend in Lexington, but they are looking forward to seeing the Cats play at Rupp.