There are many things that make the Big Blue Nation unique. Unlike many other fan bases, we truly are a nation. For that matter, you could call us Big Blue World as our fans can be found around the globe. The undying support the fans show both the football and basketball teams, the lengths to which the fans will go to see the Cats in person, and the incredible knowledge they have about the sports and the history of the programs is unparalleled.
Within the BBN, we also have a diverse number of fan species. To help you identify these various fan types, I have created this handy guide for all your BBN watching activities.
The Chicken Little
This particular fan is easy to spot. Their way of dealing with adversity is to go to extremes. Fall behind by one point? “I knew we were going to lose this game!” Actually <gasp> lose a game? “Well, there goes our season! We’ll be lucky to even make the tournament!” They do appreciate it when things are going well, but it doesn’t take much to push them to full gloom-and-doom mode.
Closely related to the Chicken Little, the Wringer-Clingers cannot live in the present. They are always either worried about games 3 months in the future (“If we play like this against XYZ University, we can kiss the Final Four good-bye!”), or else they are waxing nostalgic about players that have already moved on to the NBA. (“Just think if we still had _____, then nobody could beat us!”) Every shot, every rebound, every minute of every game finds this fan wringing their hands, constantly worrying about NCAA seeding, no matter how early in the season.
The Flip Flops
You know those fans that complained about Marcus Lee last season? They’re the same ones who will tell you how badly the Cats need him this year. When Cal signs another stellar recruiting class, they are all over social media, trolling other fan bases. “See? Cal has done it again! We have another stable of thoroughbreds on the way!” But when these young colts make a mistake, the Flip Flops are out in full force, loudly complaining about how sick they are of these one-and-dones. “Give me a bunch of 3-star players that will hang around. Then, we will have a good team!” (Note: Tubby did this pretty much exclusively during his tenure at UK and the Flip Flops didn’t like that, either).
No offense to those of you named Nancy, but this species is impossible to please. If the Cats win by 10, Negative Nancys will insist it should have been by 20. If the Cats win by 20, it should have been 30. If UK has 50 assists in a game, Negative Nancy will tell you the only thing that matters is “those 3 turnovers!” Don’t bother trying to reason with this species. No matter how many positive facts you can recite to them, they will still find a way to twist it into something unpleasant.
This fan is the polar opposite of the Negative Nancy. The Sunshine Pumper refuses to see anything negative about the Cats. If the team misses 40 free throws in a game, the Sunshine Pumper will tell you how nicely they lined up on the free throw strike. They seemingly ignore every problem the team may be facing, and they enjoy telling the Negative Nancys they are “not real fans.” (It should be noted the Negative Nancys really enjoy telling the Sunshine Pumpers that they are “not real fans.”) One side is convinced you must go ballistic over everything, while the other is just as adamant that you can say nothing bad. Ever.
This species is most commonly found on message boards, social media or post-game call-in shows. The Hindsighters are self-proclaimed experts at every facet of the game. They love to tell anyone who will listen how they would fix whatever problem the team is currently experiencing. They are also quite fond of pointing out every coaching mistake Cal makes during the course of a game. Naturally, they won’t acknowledge they have the benefit of hindsight. They just want you to know that they have all the answers. Period.
This species shares some traits with the Wringer-Clingers, especially when it comes to looking ahead. The Greener Grassers are incredibly focused on recruiting and whoever is coming to UK next year. Even during the historic 38-1 season in 2015, the Greener Grassers were more dialed in on the incoming class for the next season than they were on the current team. The problem with the Greener Grassers is, in their attempt to always be looking for something better, they end up missing out on the lush greenery that’s beneath their feet.
While not recognized as an official species by the true BBN members, other fan bases claim UK fans are “the very definition of bandwagon fans.” You have to overlook those fan bases as they just don’t understand the Big Blue Nation. They hate us ’cause they ain’t us. Although, upon further reflection, perhaps we are bandwagon fans, since the definition of that is: sports fans who have shown no past loyalty to a team, and who only support them when they are doing well. Let’s face it; Kentucky has been “doing well” for decades, so maybe we’re all on that bandwagon.
And last, but not least, there is perhaps the largest single species of fans in the BBN:
The Blue Bleeders
The Blue Bleeders are passionate about their Cats. They attend as many games as they can, watch the rest, keep up with pre-game and post-game press conferences, and thirst for all information they can get on their beloved Wildcats. They recognize the positives, acknowledge the negatives, and understand each season is not won or lost in December. They soak in every moment of every game, knowing the present is precious and fleeting. Their closets have an abnormally large ratio of royal blue clothing, they’ll camp out for days just to get free tickets to a practice, and they know every word of “On, On U of K.” They love to talk about the Cats, they love to listen to others talk about the Cats, and more than a few of them love to write about the Cats. They appreciate every victory regardless of the margin, and they aren’t tempted to jump off bridges when a game is lost. In short, they are fanatics, but rational as well. They are the heart and soul of the Big Blue Nation.
So there you have it. The best (only?) field guide you will ever find to help you identify the BBN fan species. Whatever species best describes you, remember that, despite our differences in how we handle our fandom, we all have this in common: we love our Cats, and we will always be proud to support the Blue.
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