As I sat down to write this tonight, I questioned what would I talk about in my rare chance to reach out to the BBN. See, this is not Andrew, but Matt, his older brother. And then it hit me, after spending the night with the BBN at Big Blue Madness, there was only one appropriate topic: La Familia.
What does La Familia mean to you? Cal loves to bring it up when he can, but La Familia, at least this evening, has a multi-layered meaning for me. In the end though, it all comes back to one point: the Big Blue Nation is one giant, and crazy, family. See first, La Familia hits home because I was raised at an early age to love the Cats by my Dad—and pretty much my whole family. And if it wasn’t for my own brother, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity. It was our shared love of Kentucky basketball that helped drive this chance encounter in the first place. And it was his brotherly love that entrusted that I would get the job done for Cameron Mills Radio. Which brings me to my next point, Cameron Mills Radio adopted me into their family tonight by allowing me to paint this family portrait through words and pictures. And lastly, it was the fans themselves, because without you there would be no media coverage. There’s a reason that Kentucky’s glorified scrimmage gets broadcasted on TV. Because YOU make it a big deal.
So let’s talk about that glorified scrimmage. I heard one media counterpart call tonight “part party, part scrimmage, part spectacle.” I personally don’t find any of those terms appropriate for what Big Blue Madness actually is. To me, and to most of you, Big Blue Madness is a family reunion. Let’s face it, the family atmosphere is there when people sleep in tents for days next to one another just to have the opportunity to come tonight. The family atmosphere is there when the C-A-T-S Cats Cats Cats chant echoes outside before the players arrive, shouted by people who may be different in a variety of ways, but have one thing in common: a love for the Cats. And the love is deep, a love like blood—blue blood—that runs thicker than water. In a world full of division, pain, chaos, and hate, at least tonight, there was a family reunion of 20,000 plus in which everyone got along and shared a positive belief: these kids are our hope for a National Championship. But let’s face it, most families have at least one or two crazy people. If you don’t think so, then you are the crazy person. The beauty of the BBN, however, is that we all have a little crazy in us—Cal’s most famous line! But it’s that crazy that bonds us.
How many of you can relate to this point: our non-UK friends (which are they actually true friends then?) just don’t understand our love for the Cats, nor do they understand why so many people would gather together to watch less than 10 minutes of layups and dunks. But that’s the thing, they don’t understand, because they’re not part of the family. Sometimes it’s by their own choice, other times, because we haven’t adopted them yet, but they mock and ridicule because they see something different. What they see is a family they’re not a part of, and that drives jealousy and envy. They just don’t get it. However, it’s our job to bring as many people into the family fold as possible, and let’s face it, Louisville fans feel orphaned right now!
La Familia is more than just the players. Tonight that was quite apparent. It’s the women’s team, the cheerleaders, the dance team, the fans, and yes the players. But it’s the current and the past players. Perhaps the coolest moment was when tens of former players came down from the stands to form a giant mob of UK glory. Let’s face it though, the biggest cheer came when our Canadian brother Drake came out on the floor. Which brings me to my next point: Drake being there was the singlemost important point of the night. Why? Because through one person, the Godfather of rap/R&B right now, Cal is able to demonstrate just how far reaching this family can be. And when it comes to trying to recruit the next group of kids into this program, what better way to show the far reaching love and support that they can expect to receive from the coaches, fans, former players, and celebrities alike.
To wrap it up, La Familia means so much more than just a family of players. No, La Familia is all of us. It’s our own individual love for Kentucky basketball. It’s sitting anxiously in our parent’s living rooms watching the game with Mom and Dad. It’s going to a local bar out of state to watch the game with your like minded brethren. It’s getting to know the people in the seats next to you at Rupp Arena. And it’s embracing all the former and current Cats into one giant shared common experience: the biggest sports family reunion in the world. That’s what makes us different. That’s what makes us special. That’s what makes us crazy. But let’s face it, every family has a little crazy…ours just numbers in the millions and stretches across the world.
Thank you BBN, and Go Cats!