Wednesday, November 13, 2013

We are college basketball

There are a few traits automatically inherited once you are born into my immediate family.  You will love each other no matter what, you will love only the Pittsburgh Steelers for football, and you will be love the Kentucky Wildcats above all other colleges.

If you know anything about Kentucky fans you know we're intense, dedicated and knowledgeable.  Our knowledge comes from the fact that THERE IS NOTHING ELSE GOING ON sports-wise in the state of Kentucky.  We have horse races and college sports.  Some people living in the state root for that other team (side eye Louisville) but people with better taste always end up with blue blood.

My connection to the bluegrass state comes from my dad's side of the family,  his father and mother were born in Kentucky and moved to Pittsburgh for my grandfather's business right before my dad was born.  My grandparents retired back to Kentucky and my dad fulfilled his lifelong dream of going to the University of Kentucky, where he got his business degree.  As children we spent a lot of time in Kentucky too see my grandparents and to feed my father's addiction to everything Wildcat related.  I remember going to games and running around that campus when I was 8 years old.  I had Big Blue onesies.  I had Kentucky cheerleader costumes for Halloween (the only time my father found his daughters being cheerleaders acceptable)

My parents house always had a Kentucky decorated powder room, in every house they had, since I was born.  My dad would spend tons of money on these hand sketched prints of the team every year to put on the walls and order calenders from the university bookstore to update on the back of the door.  For YEARS Rick Pitino watched me go to the bathroom (yep it was creepy)
(I actually own the framed copy of this Sports Illustrated)

I watch announcers during Kentucky games in Rupp Arena (where UK basketball calls home) say it is the most intense atmosphere in college basketball history.  Ladies and gentleman, they are absolutely right.  Watching Kentucky basketball is for me, like how I imagine going to a mega church is like for religious people.  You are surrounded by people with similar beliefs, all coming together to worship, yes I mean worship.

This is it for us, Kentucky fans are dedicated for life, and it helps that we are the best at this whole college basketball thing too.  People say since we have been so good the last few years (thanks Coach Cal!) that I am a bandwagon fan and this couldn't be more wrong.  I was a fan when I was born, I was a fan when Pitino left us to go to the Celtics, I was a fan during the Billy years (even though I tried to block them out) and I have been a fan when we lost to Robert Morris (mommy's an alum) in the NIT tournament last year.  I have a powder room in my house decorated in all Kentucky, I even expanded that tradition to cover my whole basement, the whole basement is decorated in Kentucky memorabilia.  I  scream bloody freaking murder at my team during games, I get nervous like I'm going to take the SATs again on game days, I wear all black the day after a big loss.

My daddy rockin a Kentucky shirt, I'm trying to grab his glasses, age prob 1
Me at the Race for Hope 5K in DC in my Kentucky shirt
My sister, dad and me at the Winter Classic in NYC circa 1996

I feel lucky to be in this family that is Big Blue Nation, we're everywhere and we're supportive.  I love how our coach right now is a Pittsburgh boy who has created the type of environment around Kentucky basketball I grew up loving, because in Kentucky the coach has to want to make it work with the fans.  I love that this year we have possibly the best recruited class in college basketball history.

I have been a nervous wreck all day Tuesday because my Wildcats, who are ranked #1 this early in the season are taking on Michigan State #2.  I am writing this blog the night before because I don't know if my computer, or anything valuable items, will exist in my house tomorrow if this game doesn't go well, but I wouldn't have it any other way.


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