“I don’t mind Kentucky, but I hate Kentucky fans.”
Have any of you heard the quote above? Or maybe you’re not a Kentucky fan… and you’re the one who has said it. I have heard this line more times than I can count in my life. I’ve heard it at parties, hanging around in sports bars, and just randomly in public (which is weird). What is it that causes such a quote? Is it that we’re so passionate and others get jealous? Is it that we travel so well which changes every arena to have sprinkles of blue in it? Or… are there some ‘things’ that we do that could justify such a quote?
Now before you get upset or potentially think I’m about to throw up my L’s and say we should be hugging our Louisville relatives… hear me out. I know it’s the Christmas season, but I’ve had these thoughts and feelings since I was in high school. It was in high school when I first heard one of my old coaches say, “I despise UK fans.” I’ll never forget it. I asked him why he would say that, and he said, “Because they always feel entitled to everything and can never respect another program besides their own.” Those were strong words for my little high school freshman ears to hear… because I was a UK fan. I felt like coach was talking about me, so then I started to listen more to see if there’s any truth in it.
I would notice a few shots here and there growing up, but I really didn’t understand the constant hate for Kentucky fans until social media took off the way it did. When it comes to the Louisville/Kentucky rivalry, there’s nothing like it. I believe it’s the biggest rivalry in all sports (including Duke/Carolina). I mean you either bleed blue or red in Kentucky. It’s fun to take some shots here and there, because a lot of it is in good fun, but can’t we admit/acknowledge another program’s success in a classy way?
I think Jake has a point. I don’t think it’s necessary to chant CATS after an amazing athlete, like Lamar Jackson, gets his well deserved and earned award. I mean… what’s the point of it? Yes, we beat Louisville in probably the greatest football game I’ll ever attend/cover, but why can’t we respectfully celebrate another team’s success (if it’s not in direct conflict with our Wildcats). Look at how Coach Cal and some Kentucky football players reacted to Lamar’s Heisman award:
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) December 12, 2016
Well deserved @Lj_era8 💯
— Mr SNELL YEAH👋🏾 (@benny_snell) December 11, 2016
Well deserved! https://t.co/QwFEjM422U
— Stephen Johnson II (@stephen_h_j) December 11, 2016
“Andrew, you’re being ridiculous… those guys have to say that.” No they don’t. There is a mutual respect between some players and coaches who (in my opinion) “get it”. They understand the rivalry and everything that goes into it (especially since they’re actually in it… and we’re just on the sidelines)… and yet they’re willing to show their respect. One of my favorite YouTube videos ever is “Kobe and Lebron: Mutual Respect” by the NBA. Perhaps after watching that, it will make more sense the point I am trying to convey.
Now sometimes you just see random tweets against Kentucky like these:
I hate Kentucky fans
— madiii✨ (@__madisonsierra) November 26, 2016
These poor Kentucky fans are chirping and full of so much hate. Blue Mist is a joke! Go recruit top basketball players & still get beaten
— Randall (@SkandoCalrisian) November 13, 2016
Let's all just hate Kentucky fans. Something we all agree on. ❤️
— Allie Bland (@Allie_Bland) November 11, 2016
Some people just like to hate for unknown reasons while others may have a reason for it. Like I said though, some shots can be fun and playful… and to me, that’s part of the rivalry. I mean some of the tweets made me laugh out loud… they’re pretty creative. Most tweets though (and they’re pretty easy to find) were too vulgar for me to post in this article as I try to be a family friendly guy.
What am I trying to say? I believe we as fans can have the same mutual respect for other collegiate programs (yes, even including Louisville) as some players and coaches do. So if you’re like me and are going to be around other teams’ fans this holiday season… maybe keep this article in mind. Maybe we can slowly change the “hate” others may have toward the Big Blue Nation and get their respect as well. And maybe… just maybe… one day there will be peace on Earth and good will to all Kentuckians. Tis’ the season.