Their biggest rival is.
But I have always loathed the virulent animus that exists between the red and blue fanbases. It seems that too many get more joy from the other team’s travails than from their own success. I absolutely loathe all this sUcK and Loserville crap in the chat rooms.
(Having said that, I do have to own that I went ballistic on a couple of Cat fans once in Knoxville after U of L came back to beat Arkansas, setting up the one and only Dream Game in ’83. They had seats in the U of L section. UK had already beaten Indiana to advance to the regional final. During the U of L game, they incessantly taunted the fans around them. Until a couple of older, wiser folks convinced them they should watch the second half of Cardinals vs. Razorbacks from different seats. After Louisville pulled out the W, I saw those guys in Stokely’s vestibule. Flush with victory, pumped for the upcoming encounter, I went bonkers, screaming at these guys: “You want us? You got us. Bring it.” Or something less delicately stated than that.)
Nonetheless . . . Kentucky Wildcat basketball fans should be truly joyous over their favorite team’s accomplishments. 2000 wins. All those conference and national championships. Etc. Knowing myself how deeply such faithful fandom runs, I understand the satisfaction and joy.
Good for UK. Good for the fans.
There have been occasions when the Cats have grabbed my attention . . . and devotion.
My dad took me to the Armory in the 50s to watch the Hagan, Ramsey & Tsioropoulos team tally 140+ against a hapless Georgia Bulldog squad. It may have been the most points the Cats ever scored in a game. I was mesmerized and starstruck.
I loved Rupp’s Runts. Larry Conley remains to this day one of my favorite players of all time. I recall how disappointed I was when that team came a cropper against Tennessee in the final game of the regular season. And I was in College Park when, led by a seriously sick Conley, they bested Duke in the semis. And was devastated the next night when beaten by Texas Western in a game many call the most important college tilt ever played.
I was equally despondent after the loss to Duke in the Christian Laettner game.
All of which is to say this. While my default mode is to not root for UK, there have been times when they’ve been objects of my true and genuine affection.
The school’s success on the hardwood is manifest.
So, here’s a legitimate and heartfelt tip of the hat to the tradition that is University of Kentucky Wildcat basketball.
– Seedy K