Friendly wager benefits shelters in Lexington and Lawrence (Update)

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UPDATE – 2:00PM – Drew Franklin from Kentucky Sports Radio posted some pictures from the event. Of course they have  burger-sized “UK” cookie cutter molds. Only in Kentucky.)

Betting on sports can be a risky proposition. Just ask Sarah Phillips and/or Nilesh Prasad.

But every now and then wagers are made that both boost moral and benefit a good cause. It has become commonplace in the past half-decade or so for elected officials to make a friendly wager on the eve of a big game.

For example, the mayors of Boston and Baltimore put a bushel of their finest seafood exports (lobster and crab cakes) on the line for the AFC Championship game between the Ravens and the Patriots.

In advance of the 2012 National Championship game between the Jayhawks and the Wildcats, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear made a friendly wager on the game. Beshear put up some of the finest Kentucky ham against Brownback’s Kansas steak burgers. The losing mayor would donate the food to a local charity of the winning mayor’s choice.

While Brownback and the state of Kansas was devastated with the outcome of the game, they could be proud that their efforts were not going to waste, as Brownback sent 440 steak burgers to the Hope Charity Shelter in Lexington this morning.

Cecil Dunn, the Executive Director of the Hope shelter, was extremely thrilled with the donation:

It’s great to see a national event bring two cities together and help the homeless. We are very grateful to Governors Beshear and Brownback for their passion and generosity.  This beef will make an immediate impact on the homeless that we serve and is a very creative way to show our clients that our community cares.

Brownback also delivered an additional 120 steak burgers to the Lawrence Community Shelter, which was welcomed with open arms by Executive Director Loring Henderson:

Like Gov. Brownback, we were cheering for a different result of the basketball game, but as a second outcome everyone at the Lawrence Community Shelter is grateful to the governor for this delicious and generous gift as a slam dunk of another sort.

Sports are often used as a way to distance ourselves from the daily grind. Some use sports as an escape, and others use it for sheer enjoyment. But sports can also be used to remind us that there are bigger issues than recruiting and NCAA tournament appearances.

The Jayhawks may have lost the National Championship, but a group of less-fortunate people in Lexington will benefit, and that is bigger and more important than any win or loss.

Troy Machir is the managing editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @TroyMachir.