By Cameron Mills
Mike became a UK fan BECAUSE of the 1992 Duke-UK NCAA Regional Final, otherwise known as the Christian Laettner game. He was 12 years old during that game and all of his friends were rooting for Duke. So just to be different, he decided that night to root for Kentucky. Two and a half hours later, he was crying (an emotion a lot of us had that night) as he ran six blocks to his home on Staten Island, NY. He was greeted by his mother who could hardly understand. Trying to reason with this 12 year old who had only been a member of #BBN for three hours, his mother explained he knew nothing of the Kentucky team that same morning. He didn’t care. He’d fallen in love. A week later the Kentucky hats and Starter jacket arrived; surprise gifts from his mother and his allegiance was now unwavering.
Mike and I became friends because he reached out to me through Twitter to have me on his podcast. (You can subscribe and listen here and I highly recommend it.) In 2015, he made his first ever trip to Kentucky. That weekend we went to the UK-Florida football game and it was then I realized the true level of his devotion to our Cats and our Commonwealth. When the Kentucky Band started playing My Old Kentucky Home, I watched in amazement as he actually started to tear up. I remember thinking, “This guy has no connection to us save a few new friendships. He wasn’t born here, he’s never lived here, no one in his family was a fan, he only became a fan because of his obstinance and he’s crying at my state song.” When the best part of the song came, his voice swelled along with the rest of Commonwealth Stadium singing “Weep no more…” at the top of his lungs. This was truly Big Blue Nation revealed before my eyes. Over the last couple of years I have been able to give him some amazing experiences in Lexington and he has reciprocated by showing me the pride he has of his home town of New York City. He has truly become one of my closest friends and tonight he was just being himself while fulfilling the creed of a police officer: “To Protect and Serve”. A friend took this video below of Mike doing what he truly does best, being a people person. I’ve always been proud to know him and of him. Maybe just a little more tonight.
You can follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeSafo.
On duty Friday night Mike teaches a young man in Brooklyn about Kentucky Basketball. 🙂