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Unrequited Love: How Long Can My Heart Take It?
September 5, 2016
Donnie Tyndall and the NCAA
September 6, 2016

One major proponent in my life is a pride in where I come from.

I’m not the biggest country music fan in the world, but a good majority of my friends went out to Red, White, and Boom this weekend instead of the Kentucky game to see Florida Georgia Line among many others in what has really become quite the spectacle from what I hear.

Florida Georgia Line isn’t my favorite band in the world, but recently they released a song called “May We All”, and for whatever reason the lyrics to this song caught me.

 

May we all get to grow up in our red white and blue little towns

Get a one star hand me down Ford to try to fix up
With some part time cash from driving a tractor
Find a sweet little thing, wears your ball cap backwards
Kinda place you can’t wait to leave but nobody does
Cause you miss it too much

 

Maybe that’s what makes me a little less pessimistic than some of my classmates that aren’t from here when we talk about football.

Maybe it’s because I feel like we can come out and beat Florida next week for the first time in how many years? After THAT performance Saturday? I still believe it’s possible.

I think it goes beyond sports.

Certainly, as many of our readers and fellow members of the BBN can attest to, there really hasn’t been much of a reason to cheer for the football season.

I’ve read your comments on social media, on our pieces here on CameronMillsRadio.com and beyond. I’ve heard you call in to tell local sports shows you broke your televisions. I’ve chuckled at your Facebook posts about how this is really the last time you’re believing in football.

I get it.

There isn’t much to get excited about for the on field product, especially after we got together and blew as much belief into a proverbial giant balloon full of hopes and dreams all summer only to see Shannon Dawson walk by and poke a pin right in the middle of it, bursting all of our hopes and dreams, leaving us winded and out of breath again.

I get it. I really do.

It makes those rare moments when something beautiful happens so much sweeter.

I’ll never forget seeing a sold out Commonwealth dancing to “Grove Street Party” by Waka Flocka Flame as the special teams came onto the field to kick off after a touchdown against South Carolina. I had never seen anything like that in my entire life with UK football.

I’ll also never forget later on in that game when Bud Dupree came up with a pick six that sealed the win, and seeing our fans storm the field in a game that nationally wasn’t of much importance, but it meant the world to us. 

 

May we all do a little bit better than the first time
Learn a little something from the worst times
Get a little stronger from the hurt times
May we all get to have a chance to ride the fast one
Walk away wiser when we crashed one
Keep hoping that the best one is the last one

 

It wasn’t about football at that moment. It was all emotion.

For that night we believed in something bigger than play calls and rankings. It was about an incredible sweeping feeling of pride and joy in our team, a team that represents us.

If you look at the on field product, I understand why you don’t want to blindly love this team. Your heart has been broken a few too many times, I get it. Mine has too.

We always say that we are done with it, and that there is no point in willingly going back to something that continually hurts us.

I look at it differently. The only reason someone would smash their television, cry themselves to sleep, post angry things on social media, and maybe drink a few too many beers after the game is simple:

It’s because we care.

We want football to be something special because it is our team.

Home brings out a wide variety of emotions in everyone. It could mean different things to you than to me. At the end of the day, we all criticize our hometowns. Not because we hate it, not because we just seem to be awful at a sport, and not just because we need something to complain about, it’s because we want it to be better. We want where we come from to be the best possible place it can be. 

It hurts so much because we care about it so much.

BBN, in my last piece I criticized you for quitting again, and I meant every word of it. On the same token, don’t think I don’t understand it. We may never be a premier location for recruits and national acclaim. We may never be in a BCS National Championship game.

If that is the case, why does our team step out on to the field every Saturday? Why do we tailgate, shut down campus traffic, and gather with 50,000 of our best friends every year? What’s the point?

If we left every bit of it behind, we would miss it too much.

We love sitting out in the parking lot grilling out, passing the football around with the kids, and getting hyped up when our team comes out of the tunnel.

We love football in Kentucky, and we just want that love to be validated and reciprocated by every player or coach that walks those sidelines.

They feel that negative vibe from our crowds. They see us leave the stands, complain and cry on social media.

I can’t help but to wonder what it would be like if we just embraced this team and program for what it is, our home, instead of just a win or loss column? It’s okay to be mad, it’s okay to wish it was better and to demand excellence.

It’s also okay to unconditionally love this team and everything about game days in Lexington.

Our product on the field may be struggling, but your love and pride in our team and city should never be on the decline.

An on field product should not have to “earn” your attendance.

You should keep believing because it is our team, and if the whole world counts us out every year, the city they represent should never leave them behind.

 

Where you ’bout to go?
 You learn to fly and if you can’t then you just freefall
May we all

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. John says:

    “We may never be a premier location for recruits and national acclaim. We may never be in a BCS National Championship game. If that is the case, why does our team step out on to the field every Saturday?”

    Traditionally, the answer to your question is because the price of providing a relatively free resource to the University – college degree – along with some real costs of food and lodging, have been very cheap when compared to the millions and millions of dollars generated annually by the football program. In the worst of years performance-wise, the University of Kentucky football program continued to deliver huge rewards to the University, so much so that most of the other athletic programs at the University outside of basketball were completely paid for out of their football subsidy. As we know, to get the facilities right for competing in football at a high echelon the cost for the University would be $200,000,000 or more. In the past, the University was unwilling to cough up this number due to the impact to the bottom line. From an economic standpoint, from the University’s point of view, why invest $200,000,000 into a football program when posting four and five win seasons already provides a huge windfall to the University unrivaled by three-quarters of the Division I teams? The answer to that question lies in the rebuttal to your next point:

    “An on field product should not have to ‘earn’ your attendance.”

    An interesting comment in an entitled, communistic sort of way. In the capitalist world, a good or service determines it’s price in the free market. In other words, people pay for things based on the product’s features and benefits to the consumer, along with measuring the product’s features and benefits to the consumer to similar products. The philosophy of competition is the key to why our grandparents and parents were able to turn America into the greatest economic force the world had ever seen. By contrast, the philosophy of entitlement has led us to where we are today.

    Let me ask you:

    Do you believe that doctors, lawyers, business owners, etc. should be free to earn as much as possible by providing the best goods and services possible? Or should they be limited to how many customers that they can serve, and should their quality of product not be related to the price they’re able to charge and how many people they’re able to charge it to?

    Do you believe that people should be made to patronize McDonald’s and Arby’s if their favorite restaurants happen to be Malone’s and Ramsey’s?

    Do you believe that Malone’s and Ramsey’s should be required to charge the same price for their hamburgers and roast beef sandwiches as McDonald’s and Arby’s, or vice-versa?

    I could go on and on, but the point is this: without the fans voting with their dollars and boycotting Joker Phillips’ last year, you would not have seen the $200,000,000 investment in the football program that exists today. You would not have a football program that has the pieces in place to attract a top tier coach. You would not have seen an upgrade in talent and an upgrade in pay support of the assistant coaches. The results on the field are not the fans’ fault, are not the players’ fault, and are not even the coaches’ fault. In life you get what you pay for. The University has been unwilling to pay for more for 40 years because they were happy with what they were receiving while paying for less.

    The improvements in facilities and assistant pay that you see today, however, are the fans’ fault. They determined that the features and benefits of the University of Kentucky football program were no longer competitive in value to earn their entertainment dollars when compared to other options that exist for the same investment, like taking a great Caribbean vacation each year with money as opposed to getting their guts ripped out each year. In short, the fans finally got wise and called the University’s bluff with regard to its investment in football. After 40 years of band-aid fixes, we have a facility that we can be proud of thanks to the fans. It is up to the University to do the same with personnel.

    Perhaps Mark Stoops becomes a great coach. I sincerely hope that he does. I like Stoops and I like that he gets embarrassed personally when things like last Saturday happens. I know he cares. But there is a reason why he’s not paid like Nick Saban and it has no connection to the location of the University geographically. Saban is a great coach and Stoops is not, at least not yet. The University bought a cheap coach on the gamble that he would grow into a great coach, or most probable, perhaps they didn’t even care. Perhaps they bought a respected name on the cheap that would shore up the fan base with the only goal of punting the ball down the road for five years while the facilities were built, and if he succeeds, then great.

    The point is this: people have a right to vote with their entertainment dollar. If three and four win seasons are good enough to earn $5,000 entertainment dollars a year that are necessary to pay for the travel costs, parking costs, season ticket costs, hotel costs, food costs, etc. to bring a family to Commonwealth Stadium for all of the home games and experience the UK football program, then so be it. That’s Capitalism. If a family feels that the $5,000 is better spent on a Caribbean vacation or to help pay for a really great pontoon that the family can enjoy growing up on a lake together on the weekends, then so be that too. Is an individual fan getting what he or she is paying for? Only the fan can answer that, and it’s an individual choice. The same question for the fan investing in the program is the exact same question for the University investing in the program: Is the juice worth the squeeze?

    The fans shouldn’t have to be shamed into spending their dollars on an inferior product if, based on the quality of the product in relation to the quality of other products that their entertainment dollars can be spent on, the fan determines that another entertainment option is more valid for their life. If the University wishes to increase its revenue by increasing the amount of support that it receives from the largest number of fans possible, then it needs to increase the perceived value of its product in relation to other products on the market, and I believe that the University is making great strides to that concern. However, don’t begrudge a fan who chooses to spend their dollars elsewhere when the on-field product is not his fault. It’s the University’s fault for not investing in this program over 40 years in comparison to its peers. The University, I believe, has come to grips with this situation, and has made great strides in rectifying it. But, they’re not there yet, and, after all of these years of buying an overpriced product, neither are the fans.

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