After two days of sullen silence, I have elected to finally speak up to fellow Wildcat fans. I have tried to stay away from social media and sports media as much as possible for the last few days. The trolls love to come out from under their bridges after the Big Blue goes down. I try to allow space for the players, coaches, fans, and myself to come to terms with the loss. I cling to the positives when I actually want to dwell on the negatives. As a lifetime Cubs fan, I have learned to live with a disappointing season (not winning the championship) and hoping that the “next year” will be our year. Do I believe that every member of #BBN is capable of this mantra? NO. That is why I have decided to give some advice for those that call themselves #BBN.
There are things that you should definitely do after the Wildcats lose in the NCAA tournament.
1. Grieve the loss.
No one said that losing is easy. In fact, it is one of the hardest lessons we are taught. Even with a new generation that adheres to the notion of participation trophies and ribbons, someone has to lose eventually. AND it hurts. I am telling you it is OK to grieve the loss. Everything isn’t sunshine and rainbows with unicorns pooping glitter. Be sad. Grieving is natural and if you don’t, you can become bitter and cynical. #BBN has plenty of those already. That is one wagon that needs a few less passengers.
2. Tweet positively to the players.
If you watched the coverage of the players after the game, you know that they are hurting. They love Kentucky. To them, it wasn’t just a stop on their way to fame and fortune. The name across the front of their jersey means something to them. They wanted to win for their families, their fans, their team, and themselves. They need to know they are loved and valued. We need to thank them for putting it all on the line for us and that their efforts were appreciated. Do you know how difficult it is to be a boy and the world thinks you should act like a grown man?
3. Remember that once you bleed blue, you always bleed blue.
One loss doesn’t cause you to lose your faith in the team. You don’t stop bleeding blue because you felt like the Wildcats had a bad year. You chose to be part of Big Blue for a reason whether it was birth in a family of blue bleeders, love of basketball tradition, or choosing to attend college at UK. Something compelled you to follow our boys in blue. Once you bleed blue, you bleed blue for life. It is a tradition that other colleges and fan bases hate through jealousy. We travel better than any other fan base in America for a reason. We get it. Represent your team with pride. Don’t hang your heads. We ARE the best college basketball program in the nation. We are proud to be #BBN.
After looking over the things I missed the last few days, I have compiled a list of “Things you should not do after the Wildcats lose in the NCAA tournament.”
1. Tweet negatively to the players.
As I have stated, the players are grieving, too. They are hurting. They feel like they let hundreds of thousands of people down. They do NOT need you telling them this. They are kids! You are grown-ups. You should NOT be blasting them on social media for not achieving what you think they should have achieved. What if at the age of 18-20 you had someone constantly sending you hate filled messages about what you were doing at that time? You sucked because you didn’t score 100% on your Chemistry final. You were a loser because you couldn’t work and go to college at the same time. You were a joke because you started a family too early. Doesn’t seem fair does it? Well, sending negative messages to 18-20 year olds over a game is not only unfair, it is cruel and inhumane. Before you point that finger (or type 140 characters), it would be best if you looked at yourself, first. Glass houses and rocks.
2. Call for Coach Cal to be fired.
I cannot believe that I have to address this, but it seems that there are SOME in #BBN that believe that he should be fired. (I AM LAUGHING HYSTERICALLY AT YOU) Coach Cal is an amazing coach, recruiter, and developer of talent. He cares about his team and the entire Big Blue Nation. Other coaches that have been at Kentucky didn’t understand the role that they needed to play. He gets it. He loves it. He thrives in it. There is a reason that so many other fan bases hate him- he wins (period). I can shoot at you all the numbers and data that back up my claim, but I am not sure that those that want him fired will understand. AND I am fresh out of crayons. Sorry. Please…. Just stop… (Roll eye emoji)
3. Pay attention to sports media trolls and let them bait you.
The Gary Parrish’s, Stephen A. Smith’s, and Colin Cowerd’s of the world LOVE to bait the #BBN. Cal hasn’t underachieved at UK and we know it. I mean Coach K has been at Duke for 37 years and he only has 5 championships and several first and second round losses to show for it. We as Big Blue Nation do not need to justify what we know as true. It only gives them what they want- acknowledgement and attention. The more “clicks” they get, the better their ratings. THEY WANT YOU TO ARGUE! Sports media know that Coach Cal hasn’t underachieved, but they need to seem relevant and important. They need you, #BBN, to give them something to help with that. By falling for their silliness, we are doing exactly what they want.
4. Tweet, call, stalk, harass, ruin (etc) a referee.
Groan. This is another thing I cannot believe that I have to address, BUT in the last 48 hours, BBN has been under fire for the vicious social media assault on John Higgins. Twitter friend and funny man @grandepdre, tweeted- Coach Cal said “You people are crazy.” You people said, “You have no idea. Hold my beer.” He is right…. 99.9% of #BBN is comprised of “normal” people who just love the Kentucky Wildcats, that other 0.01% is becoming unhinged. That small percent is the reason the #BBN is considered the basketball version of Alabama Football fans. That is NOT a compliment, by the way. Do I believe that John Higgins is a horrible referee that should never ref another NCAA game again? Yes. Do I believe that his lively hood, his life, his family should be ruined because of a basketball game? NO…. Frankly, it is embarrassing. Stop it. Why am I still telling adults to grow up?
Just remember that we are a big family and that support and encouragement go a longer way than negativity and contempt. Lift up the players, coaches, and each other. Don’t forget to grieve, but don’t forget to remain hopeful for next year. We ARE #BBN!