Ten Unwritten Commandments of UK Fandom
Yesterday, Sarah Spain (a Chicago sports writer and blogger for ESPNW) wrote a post about the unwritten rules of being a female sports fan (The Right Way for Females to Fan). Although I have a few thoughts about her post, some positive (YES! Those “jerseys” from Victoria’s Secret ARE the stupidest!) and some negative (Uh, does the fact that this article was written at all say anything about how we still assign gender to sports?), I did start to thinking about the unwritten rules for being a Kentucky fan. Here’s what I came up with:
1. Never, ever, ever cheer for Duke basketball (or Christian Laettner). I can imagine scenarios in which it may be acceptable to cheer for Louisville- like, if they’re in the tournament longer than we are (which would never happen, but relax, people, this is hypothetical) and you want to root for the state of Kentucky in general. Without Bobby Knight, Indiana is a lot less detestable. UNC is, in my mind at least, an elite program worthy of our respect. But Duke is in a league of its own. We hate their stinking guts. They make us vomit. They are the scum between our toes. The Stomp, The Shot, Coach K’s legions of sheeplike disciples, and Dick Vitale’s constant praise of the Cameron Crazies- no. Just no. It is never acceptable to feel anything short of gut-wrenching hatred for Duke. Even ambivalence is too kind.
Note: Many of you tweeted at me (which is awesome! I love when that happens!) disagreeing with my statement above and arguing that in fact, UK fans should never wear red or feel sympathetic towards that red team down I-64. I don’t disagree; however, I think hating Duke outweighs hating Louisville on my Commandments list. I think that playing Little Bro every year and being so geographically close to them makes our hatred for them a little different than hating Duke, who has broken our hearts and stolen our dignity on occassion. But, that’s just me. Feel free to agree/disagree in the comments.
2. Stand up and clap during the fight song. Similarly, stand up when the UK flag makes its rounds and faces your seat in the second half of basketball games. Throw your number one during My Old Kentucky Home. Don’t think for a second you are too cool or too lazy to stay in your seat during these moments. If the blue hairs can get up, so can you.
3. Topics akin to religion and politics that we avoid at the dinner table: Joker Phillips, Tubby Smith, the money given to football, and the Indiana series, among others. These discussions just won’t be pretty, so let’s skip them altogether. Ooh! Are those Sister Schubert rolls?
4. If a celebrity gives us a shoutout, we as BBN are indebted to them and must immediately buy/read/see their albums/books/movies, quote them excessively on Twitter, and post and repost pictures of them throwing the three goggles (also filed under: Drake, Jay-Z, Tucker Max, LeBron James, and Josh Hopkins).
However, World Wide Wes is like that close family friend that you call “Uncle” and attends all the family reunions, but isn’t technically related. Don’t try to force an association between us and him.
5. Always refer to the upcoming season as “our year.” No matter the sport.
6. Be able to name all of the Unforgettables. Really, this should be instituted in elementary school curriculum across the state.
7. Always wear Kentucky apparel when you travel. You’ll make friends and induce envy in those around you, and who knows, maybe the flight attendant will upgrade you to first class.
8. At least one of your social media profile pictures must include the following: three goggles, a present or former UK basketball player, John Walling, a unibrow, Jorts, or a national championship celebrations.
9. It’s not hoarding if it’s UK memorabilia. This applies to newspapers, Sports Illustrated issues, lawn gnomes, anything with an autograph, old t-shirts, Orange Leaf receipts, ticket stubs, free posters from Rupp, Makers Mark bottles, coozies, baby clothes (even if you don’t have a baby, although that’s admittedly a little strange), license plates, plastic cups and other drinkware, lunchboxes, stuffed animals, flags, stickers and pretty much anything short of severed body parts. Although if the body part had a UK tattoo on it… nah, just kidding.
In my mind, this does not belong on a “fail” blog.
10. No major life events during March Madness. Weddings, funerals, and births should be rescheduled accordingly. Missing said event because of a UK game is automatically forgiven. Alternatively, such events should make sure a television is present to show the entire game, complete with sound.
And one to grow on…
11. Billy who?
Any more ideas? Share them in the comments or tweet them @KristenGeilKSR.