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September 29th, 2016

The Weirdest Fan Traditions in Sports

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As Kentucky fans, we’re used to it, but when you think about it, Big Blue Madness Campout is a weird tradition. Fans camping out for tickets to a game happens at other schools, but camping out for tickets to a practice? Only at Kentucky.

It was Joe B. Hall that started Midnight Madness — then called “Midnight Special” — back in 1982, but the tradition of camping out for seats started in the Rick Pitino era. Back when the event was held at Memorial Coliseum, there weren’t really tickets; UK used to just open the doors and let as many fans in as they could. Over the years, fans started forming the line earlier and earlier, and in 1995, Wally Clark was determined to be the first person there, so he arrived 17 days early and camped out, sparking a tradition that has stuck ever since. Even when the event moved to Rupp Arena in 2005, fans continued to line up in front of the ticket office at Memorial Coliseum for days on end. Like the program, the event was given new life under John Calipari, and in 2014, a record 760 tents were set up in “Tent City,” one of many memorable moments in an unforgettable season.

Although this year’s crowd is less than years past due to limited camping space, it’s still one of the coolest fan traditions in sports; however, it’s far from the weirdest. Here are some that top it.

(Note: There are tons of weird traditions in sports, so I limited this list to just those started by fans.) 

John Brown University: Throwing toilet paper on the court after the first basket

In the late 1970’s, a couple of students at John Brown University, a liberal arts college in Arkansas, started throwing toilet paper on the court during basketball games, which quickly turned into a tradition. Now, students throw rolls of TP onto the court after the John Brown scores its first basket, which results in a technical foul. Naturally, you don’t want to pick up a technical for this reason every game, so the fans reserve the tradition for one game of the year, the aptly named Toilet Paper Game. It’s even sponsored by Charmin now because of course.


Auburn: Rolling Toomer’s Corner

The tradition of throwing toilet paper rolls onto the oaks at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn started in 1972. The ritual became such a part of Auburn football that in 2011, Harvey Updyke, an Alabama fan, poisoned the oak trees after the Tigers beat the Crimson Tide. The trees eventually died off, but were replaced and the tradition rolls on, even though one of the threes caught on fire after Auburn’s win over LSU last weekend:

Don’t worry: police caught the guy who started the fire, and he now faces a felony charge of 1st degree criminal mischief.


Detroit Red Wings: Throwing octopi on the ice

This is by far the grossest tradition in sports. In 1952, two brothers threw a dead octopus on the ice during the Red Wings’ Stanley Cup playoff run. Each tentacle of the animal represented a win in the playoffs (back then, you only needed to win eight), and when the Red Wings swept the series, the octopus became a good luck charm. Now, fans throw octopi on the ice during home playoff games, and the guy who goes out to clean it up twirls it around his head, which is just disgusting.


Florida Panthers: Rat Trick

In a similar tradition, fans of the Florida Panthers NHL team throw rats (both real and plastic) onto the ice to celebrate goals. The practice started in 1995, when Panthers captain Scott Mellanby killed a rat with a hockey stick in the locker room by smacking it into the wall before a game. During the game, he scored two goals, leading Panthers goalie Jon Vanbiesbrouck to quip, “He scored a rat trick.” The next night, a fan threw a plastic rat on the ice after a goal, and the tradition picked up steam. In 1996, the NHL started allowing refs to penalize the home team if objects were thrown on the ice, but it still happens from time to time, especially when the Panthers are in the playoffs.


Penn: Toast Toss

Penn’s fight song includes the line, “Here’s a toast to dear old Penn,” which used to prompt fans at football games to toast the team with highballs of booze when the song was played between the third and fourth quarters. When alcohol was banned from the stadium in the 1970’s, students started throwing actual toast, or sometimes bagels and muffins. During each game, approximately 20,000-30,000 pieces of toast a thrown.


Taylor University: Silent Night

For the past 20 years, every Friday night before exams, students at Taylor University dress up in costumes for to the annual “Silent Night” game. Fans don’t make a sound until the team scores its tenth point, after which they scream and let loose. Here’s a SportsCenter feature on it from last season:


Wisconsin: “Jump Around”

For obvious reasons, I’m not a Wisconsin fan, but even I have to admit it’s awesome when they play “Jump Around” between the third and fourth quarters:

The 80,000 person mosh pit gets so crazy that it actually registered on the Richter Scale in 2008. This tradition isn’t exactly weird, but I like it so much I had to include it.


West Virginia (and Kentucky): Couch Burning

If Kentucky goes to the Final Four this season (hell, if they beat Alabama tomorrow), inevitably, someone will burn a couch in Lexington. While the act has become a symbol of Kentucky’s success in basketball during the Calipari era, it actually originated in West Virginia in the 1970’s. Couch burning became even more popular in Morgantown about 20 years ago when trash pick-up companies starting slacking on their contracts, leading trash to pile up in the streets, especially in student neighborhoods. Over a 15-year period, 1,799 street fires and 633 dumpster fires were set by West Virginia students, making the happenings on State Street in Lexington look like tiddlywinks. The student government even put together a PSA to discourage students from burning couches:

I doubt it worked.


Wendy’s KSR Top 10 Tweets of the Day

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The one and only Wendy’s Baconator is a meaty masterpiece in its
own right. Composed of six strips of thick cut, applewood-smoked bacon;
cooked in an oven. Two quarter-pound patties* of fresh, never-frozen,
North American beef raised close it never sees a freezer. Only Wendy’s
has the fresh beef and thick bacon to give you a hamburger worthy of the
name Baconator.


You can be a part of Wendy’s KSR Top 10 Tweets by using hashtags like #KSR #BBN or #KSRtop10. You can also nominate tweets by mentioning them with the hashtag. If we like what we see, it could be posted the next day. Now. On to the tweets:

 

#10 John Southworth

But why do you have that many screenshots of Matt?

 

#9 Big Easy

Were y’all talking about Up today on the show?

 

#8 marsha poe

These ladies are my heroes.

 

#7 Alan Shepherd

A live look at the studio today…

 

#6 Jason Burns

Well that’s not photoshopped at all…

 

#5 Brian J. Tabler

Hey, whatever keeps them safe.

 

#4 Coach Salyers

I mean…. you’re probably not wrong.

 

#3 Walter Evans

Now at Big & Tall….

 

#2 J. Skyes

I think that’s what he’s going for….

 

#1 Lindsay Spencer

I don’t know that he’ll ever get it right..

 

@haleysimpKSR


Watch Episode Four of Hey Kentucky!

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Chip Cosby joins Matt for the fourth episode of Hey Kentucky!  The two discuss UK vs. Alabama and Matt Bevin vs. Andy Beshear.  Drew Franklin makes another appearance to set the scene at Tent City.

Don’t miss it.  Watch the entire show after the jump.

(more…)


KSR Preps Preview : Week Seven

(Don McReynolds)

(Don McReynolds)

KSR Preps Game of the Week 

Boyd County (3-2) vs. Ashland Blazer (3-2) 

KSR Preps heads to Putnam Stadium tomorrow night for a rivalry game between the Boyd County Lions and the Ashland Blazer Tomcats.

Boyd County is coming off a tough loss against 4A’s best team, Johnson Central, in a 56-0 blowout. The Lions were held to just 7 yards of total offense on the night. Sophomore QB Dalton Adkins will try to turn things around for Boyd County in a rivalry game that the Lions always seem to play better in. Adkins has thrown for 333 yards and 4 touchdowns to go along with 165 yards rushing and a touchdown through 5 games.

Boyd County lost its senior running back Christian Braly to injury against Russell in week five and he has not played since. Braly had a nice start to the 2016 season rushing for 372 yards and 7 touchdowns in just 3 games.

Ashland Blazer has won their last 3 games after starting the season 0-2, the Tomcats beat Rowan County easily last week in a 40-0 blowout. Noah Roberts had a big night scoring 3 touchdowns on 4 carries for 169 yards. The Tomcat defense held Rowan County to 102 yards of total offense.

The Tomcats lost 9 of their 11 starters on defense to graduation so the coaching staff has had to rely on younger more inexperienced players to lead the defense. Senior linebacker Jalon Taylor has 54 tackles this year while junior Marcus Daniels leads the team with 55.

Eli’s pick – Since the loss of Christian Braly Boyd County has been unable to move the ball offensively, I’ll take Ashland Blazer 35-10.

Other Notable Games 

St.Xavier (4-1) vs. Trinity (5-0) 

Its rivalry week for two powerhouses in Kentucky football as the Tigers and Rocks face off in Papa John’s stadium. X suffered a big blow this week when senior Blake Roshkowski was diagnosed with a torn ACL. It will take a monster performance from Sam Taylor and Desmond Ridder for St.X to pull off the upset against a Trinity team that is rated #18 in the country.

Bryan Station (3-3) vs. Lafayette (5-1) 

UK Commit and Lafayette QB Walker Wood leads the Generals as they try to continue their dominance against other Lexington schools. Bryan Station got beat by Tates Creek last week in a shootout, the Defenders would need a huge performance to beat Wood and co.

Thursday Night Scores 

Bowling Green 60 Grayson County 0 

Paintsville 50 Pike County Central 12 

Manual 28 Butler 0

Male 46 Pleasure Ridge Park 3

For updates from Ashland tomorrow night follow me on twitter @EMitchKSR.


What Coach Cal said at Tent City

Players passed out pizza and signed autographs after Cal spoke, via CoachCal.com.

Players passed out pizza and signed autographs after Cal spoke, via CoachCal.com.

Coach Cal took the stage tonight for the fans at Big Blue Madness to talk about his 2016-17 team.

For the first time since he’s coached the Wildcats, the entire team has been on campus all summer.  Not only did it help them hone their skills and get them acclimated to college life, their early arrival gave them an opportunity to get to know each other off the court.

“You got some alpha dogs.  They’re competitive.  They want to win,” he said.

Fatigued from recruiting, Cal didn’t have as many words as usual, although he did have a few jokes.  When he started to sniffle in the cold he asked, “Who am I, Donald Trump?” He added, “It’s a defective mic.”

Calipari’s on-stage appearance ended by stating the charity celebrity softball game raised approximately $450,000 for Louisiana flood victims.


Michael Phelps Beats American Pharoah In Exhibition Race After Pharoah Drowns In Pool

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Editor’s Note: The following was previously published on The New Circle Circular, Lexington’s #1 source of Fake News You Can’t Count On.

Michael Phelps, the most decorated man-fish of all-time, continued his hot streak yesterday after dominating Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in an exhibition race to raise money to cover Ryan Lochte’s legal fees from Rio. Despite drawing the inside post, American Pharoah came up short against the swim legend when he appeared to struggle with the backstroke, leading to his permanent demise.

“I knew AP would be a tough opponent so to make the race fair,” tells Phelps, “we decided to have it in his home state of Kentucky at the Beaumont YMCA which gave him home field advantage. And to balance that out, I was able to pick the race and went with the 200m individual medley, mostly because it  allows me to showcase all the different strokes for the different folks who are maybe not hardcore swim fans but just everyday people. Turned out to be the right decision because that colt couldn’t backstroke to save his life….literally.”

Despite the conditions, American Pharoah was expected to put up a better fight against the mythical water God after proving at The Preakness a sloppy track couldn’t slow him down. Trainer Bob Baffert says while he felt the colt was mentally ready for the race, all the “action” he’s been getting down at the stables as of late might’ve had him in sub-par shape physically. “I don’t like to make excuses but it’s hard to perform at a high level when your owner has you on a schedule that would’ve made Wilt Chamberlain look celibate.”

The all-knowing and all-powerful Phelps described the moments after the race as both chaotic and surreal. “When I came out of the pool, everyone was yelling and screaming but I wasn’t sure why. That was until I stopped to look around and saw it….I had broke my own record…again. People were screaming things like ‘Oh my God!’ but look, I’m no God. And I hate to keep beating a dead horse with this, but I’m just an American hero who’s the best at swimming back and forth in a pool really fast every four years.”

To keep up with The New Circle Circular, like the Facebook page or follow Harold Leeder’s Twitter Account.


Preseason All-American Honors for Epps and Akhator

 

Photo: UK Athletics

Photo: UK Athletics

Sporting News released its preseason awards today and two UK Hoops players made the list. Makayla Epps and Evelyn Akhator were both listed as preseason All-Americans. Epps was listed as a first-team All-American, while Akhator was listed on the third-team.

This is the second preseason All-American list that Epps has been a part of, as she made second-team honors in Athlon Sports’ preseason awards a few weeks back.

Personally, I would say Epps is about as deserving as anyone to be listed as an All-American. Just watching Matthew Mitchell and the Cats play would show you how important to the team that she is. Epps does a little bit of everything for the Cats, both on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Last season, Epps averaged 17.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game.

All of that for Epps is no knock on Akhator. She is a force down low for the Cats and a rebounding machine. At 6’3″, she is the tallest player on the team. Last season, Akhator scored 11.5 points and pulled down 9.3 rebounds last season. UK Hoops will definitely be relying on her to carry the load in the paint this season.

With all of the negative we heard about the UK Hoops program in the offseason, it is great to hear that the players who remain will be some of the best in the country. Along with that, the Sporting News also ranked the Wildcats as No. 10 in their preseason poll.  High expectations for Matthew Mitchell’s squad is a bit surprising given all that has happened, but it makes me way more excited about basketball season to say the least.


Mark Stoops’ last comments of the week

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Mark Stoops met with the media one last time after Thursday’s practice before the team loads up the plane and flies to Tuscaloosa tomorrow.

There wasn’t much news in Stoops’ comments, but he did have this to say about the week and the challenge Alabama presents:

I’m excited about the opportunity and I’m worried about us and competing at a high level and getting better. That’s what we’ve been stressing all week is having that great attention to detail, fundamentally playing better. Our communication needs to be better, so we’re anxious to get out there and have another great opportunity.”

He also said the team lost a little focus during Wednesday’s practice once the rain came down and they moved inside. They practiced in the rain for a good 40 minutes, he said, until it started pouring on them.

“We went inside and didn’t carry the same concentration we were doing the first part of practice.”

The Cats will hold another walkthrough in Lexington tomorrow morning and then it’s #wheelsup to T-Town.


Nick launched his television career on Louisville’s Great Day Live!

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Our little Nick’s all growed up.

Today he appeared on Great Day Live! on WHAS in Louisville to look ahead to Kentucky’s upcoming Alabama game, to which he said the Cats have “no chance in France” at winning. He also spoke about Stephen Johnson and the defense’s confidence-boost from the win.

Watch as our favorite KSR football podcast host makes his TV debut:


One Drive; One Score Accurately Describes the 2016 Depth Chart

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

One fourth quarter drive against South Carolina provides a perfect summary of the 2016 Kentucky football roster. Let’s take a look:

Situation: Kentucky 7, South Carolina 7 | UK football, 1st and 10 near the 50-yard line.

KEY PARTICIPANTS

Offensive Line
LT Kyle Meadows/Landon Young, LG Logan Stenberg, Center Jon Toth, RG Bunchie Stallings, RT George Asafo-Adjei. Offensive line consisted of: 1 senior, 1 junior, 2 sophomores, 2 freshmen.

Backfield
QB Stephen Johnson II, RB Benny Snell, TE’s CJ Conrad-Greg Hart. That’s 1 first year junior, 1 true freshman, 1 sophomore, and 1 junior.

Receivers
Tavin Richardson, Garrett Johnson, Blake Bone: 1 freshman, 2 juniors.

Personnel by Class
Senior: 1
Juniors: 5
Sophomores: 3
Freshmen: 4

Result

1st-10, UK 49: Snell 12-yard run

— UK operated out of a 2 TE set. Guard’s Bunchie Stallings and Logan Stenberg combo blocked with center Jon Toth to collapse the line-of-scrimmage. Snell patiently and violently exploded through the hole. Great vision by Snell and an encouraging, reserve OL performance began. Kentucky utilized a 2-TE set for many plays of this drive. Both CJ Conrad and Greg Hart excelled in that role.

1st-10 on SC 39: Snell rush for 6 yards.

— Snell is a beast. Young and inexperienced OL gains confidence against a veteran and salty Carolina front 7.

2nd-4, SC 33: Snell rush for 3

— RPO, proper Johnson read.

3rd-1, SC 30: Snell rush for 2

— Freshman guard Logan Stenberg pulled to secure a block to spring fellow freshman Bennie Snell for the 1st down. Stenberg is nimble and nasty at 6’6, 330-pounds. That’s 2 freshmen if you’re keeping score at home.

1st-10, SC 28: Snell rush for 9

— This time sophomore guard Bunchie Stallings pulled to block from a 2 TE set.

2nd-1, SC 19: Snell rush for 7

— Snell dragged the pile. Offensive linemen dragged Snell.  Momentum was obvious. The crowd and the Cats were playing to win the football game here.

1st-10, SC 12: Snell rush; loss of 4

— South Carolina had the perfect defense called as its defensive line slanted from left-to-right, or right into the intended path of Bennie Snell. Sometimes the defense wins.

2nd-14: SC 16: Johnson rush for 7

— Expecting another slant, Gran called a RPO opposite of probable DL post-snap movement. QB Johnson pulled and ran the football; gained 7 yards. Carolina was biting hard on the 1st RPO segment; the Snell run. Freshman Tavin Richardson showed persistence in down-field blocking. This is a rarely developed trait for a rookie.

3rd-7, SC 9: Johnson for 8

— Stephen Johnson appeared to be executing a sprint out pass to the left or a QB sweep. Regardless, he changed courses and ran to the 1-inch line. Athletic and heady play by the new starter. Gran went with 4 WR’s to spread out the SC defense.

1st-Goal, SC 1: Snell walk in touchdown

— WildSnell; South Carolina had no chance of defending this play. Snell walks in for 6. The players on the roster that wanted to be in Commonwealth Stadium celebrated. The BBN did so as well.

Youthful, momentous, run-game intentional, and a touch of pissedoffness (new word) are terms that could accurately describe Kentucky’s 4th quarter scoring drive. This series of plays was the difference in a win and a loss. I find it most interesting to analyze the “who” or personnel that was in the game for Mark Stoops during this critical juncture in the football game. When the UK head coach references youth, this drive perfectly fits that description.


Shaq tells fan he is working on getting his son to UK

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A Kentucky basketball fan had a brief interaction with Shaquille O’Neal in Las Vegas, where Shaq was body lifting fellow human beings at the Sands Convention Center, Thursday afternoon.

The fan told O’Neal, “We need Shareef at UK.”

Shaq replied, “I am working on that.”

Shareef, of course, is Shaq’s 16-year-old son, who is ranked as the third-best power forward and ninth overall player in the Top247 in the 2018 class.

Shaq has said in the past he’d like to see Shareef play at Kentucky because he trusts John Calipari and Cal’s ability to maximize his players’ potential. “I’m not steering him,” Shaq said on his podcast over the summer.” I’m just letting him know, ‘Hey, this is what I think.'”

It’s good to hear he’s still “working on that.”

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Ryder Cup fan heckles Rory McIlroy about putt, proceeds to make same putt

An American fan following the Europeans at Hazeltine today was pulled out of the crowd to attempt a putt Rory McIlroy and Andy Sullivan couldn’t sink.

After the fan heckled the European golfers over the putt, Henrik Stenson invited the heckler to give it a try, as Justin Rose tossed a $100 bill next to the ball.

This was the result:

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!


Toth named semifinalist for prestigious Campbell Award

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Kentucky center Jon Toth has been named a national finalist for the Campbell Award, named given each year to the nation’s top scholar-athlete. The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame announced its semifinalists Thursday afternoon.

The NFF will announce its 12-14 finalists on November 1 and each of them will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship as a member of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class. The finalists will travel to New York City for the 59th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on December 6th, where one member of the class will be declared the winner of the 27th William V. Campbell Trophy and have his postgraduate scholarship increased to $25,000.

Someone check on Freddie Maggard.


Former Kentucky high school football star suing NCAA and Pac-12

Former USC linebacker Lamar Dawson is suing the NCAA and the Pac-12 over what he alleges are violations of state and federal laws governing wages. Dawson claims he and fellow college football players did not receive minimum wage or overtime compensation as employees of both the NCAA and Pac-12 Conference during his time on USC’s football team.

The complaint read, “Plaintiff was repeatedly paid a substandard wage insofar as he was denied full pay for all hours worked, including overtime pay, and was frequently permitted to work without receiving required minimum wage payments.”

A Pac-12 spokesman said student-athletes are not “employees” and the conference will defend itself.

Dawson is a former Boyle County star and the recipient of Kentucky’s Mr. Football award in 2010. As a four-star prospect in the ’11 class, he considered UK out of high school but elected to move out to west to become a Trojan instead.

More on his lawsuit against the NCAA and Pac-12 can be found in this story in the L.A. Times.


Game of Tents: A Song of Flasks and Pizza

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Wyverne of Paducah and Steve of Barbourville looked out among the vast expanse of rayon and nylon. Some day soon, thought Wyverne, all of this will be gone. Possibly Friday. 

“If we are to make it to Coliseum Liquors by nightfall,” said Wyverne, “we will need to embark now.”

“It won’t be easy,” said Steve, knowing that to reach Qdoba alone meant finding safe passage through the Knott Countians, who were mean, throwing things and calling travelers by cruel names. “We might find a warm meal at Bangkok House to soothe our loins.”

“If we make it that far,” responded Wyverne. The Houses of Richmond and Frankfort were united when Carla hooked up with Gary last night, which made them a powerful and formidable threat, and they didn’t want to meet the same fate as the party from Harrodsburg, who hadn’t been heard from in at least four hours.

“If today be our day to die, so be it,” said Steve, glinting into the setting sun. “Hand me those Fritos. We have a long forty minutes ahead of us.”

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Sir Keith lay on the ground, screaming in agony as the viscous, scarlet blood left his knee, spilling onto the yellow curb. “I knew I couldn’t do it.” Too much drink had both emboldened his bravado and dulled his practicality, and as such he failed in his attempts to leap the hydrant.

“Come,” said Larry. “We must breech the courts, where Sascha Killeya-Jones waits with pizza and merriment. If we tarry it will be gone.”

But Sir Keith could go no further, the throbbing pain in his manhood growing from striking the crown of the hydrant in his ill-advised folly. “Go without me,” said Keith, his stomach filling with a dull ache. “I’ll meet you at the Coca-Cola Stage at dusk, where you can regale me with your tale,” he said. “Man, my junk hurts so bad. I await your return. Also, grab me a Sprite.”

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Suddenly, as if the spectacle were from the sky itself, a gale of sound swept in from the roadways as Major Lazer blared from a vivid, vibrating yellow Pontiac Vibe pulling alongside the street. A figure stepped out of the automobile, her bright golden hair blinding in the dimming orange glow of the September sun.

She stepped up to the line of people awaiting tickets.

“I am known as Crystal Shothammerer, of House Chinoe Pub, of the old blood of O’Shea’s,” she said confidently. “And I swear to you on this day that those who suffer in the back of the line will rise to meet your new dawn.”

She fiercely ordered those who were in the middle of the line to swell as if an army to overtake those at the line’s head. Those further back in line joined together to take their new places in line, but then security told them they couldn’t move to the front of the line because these people had already been waiting there for a long time.

“Get out of here,” they told her. “Who are you, even?”

And with that she asked who would give her a cigarette, broke a heel and fell to the ground, her silhouette against a darkening sky, furiously screaming at everyone to stop looking at her.