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Kate’s Take: At-Home Fans

Just for the Ladies

**With all the gratuitous pictures around here, thought I’d add a little something for the ladies-You’re Welcome!**

On March 22, 1998 I was 12 years old. I finished my quiz bowl practice, bounced into our min-van and asked my mother what the Kentucky/Duke score was. When she said “We’re behind by 18” my heart dropped, not only because my beloved Wildcats were losing by so much but also because I knew I was going home to a potentially homicidal father whose shouting could be heard many blocks away. But to my surprise, when I walked in the door there was no noise at all; neither the TV nor my father’s banshee screams. It was completely silent. And there sat my dad on the floor of our den with the TV on but no audio and with even his beloved radio shut off. For the next hour, we both sat like that. Even when we started to win again, my father adamantly refused to turn the sound back on. I missed all the iconic phrases “Turner, burner, and one”, “Wojo slaps the floor”, “He’s hurting him! Magloire is hurting him!”. And why? We were afraid that any sudden movement would put an end to the team’s incredible run. That March evening, my father passed onto me, as had his father before him, the incredible responsibility that comes with being an at-home fan.

Yes, we all know the responsibilities of the fans at the games-to encourage the team through cheering, to create a hostile atmosphere, to come up with clever acronyms in order to get on TV. But my dad taught me that day that at-home fans have an important role to play in the outcome of the games. From our clothing choices (the lucky/unlucky shirt/pants/underwear) to our audio choices (TV sound/radio sound/no sound), we play the role of the 7th man for our beloved Wildcats and it’s time for us to stand up proudly and take credit for all the games that we have won, simply by wearing the right color underwear and refusing to shave our legs during the season.
Here are my Five Steps every at-home fan should follow in order to maximize their talent

Step 1: The preparation phase-or as we called it in college “pre-gaming”. Perhaps the most important step in capturing the win, this happens before the game starts. This is when you choose the right outfit and you decide where you’ll watch the game and with whom. Prior conditioning can and should be used wisely here. If we lost the last game while you sat on the left side of the couch, make sure you switch it up. If your wife, who never watches a game, watched our last big win, for the good of the team, tie her to the couch and force her eyes open. Yes, a restraining order and/or jail time may be in your future, but at least we won’t lose to Gardner Webb again.

Step 2: The experimentation phase- This phase lasts through the college years first half and allows you to test the hypothesis you came up with in your preparation phase. I always say it’s better to wait until half-time to make any adjustments, but if you see us being Florida-ized in the first 15 minutes, go ahead and change that underwear. In our house, we use this time to decide the audio situation for the rest of the game. Do we go with the radio and leave the TV on mute, the TV announcers, or no audio at all? These are major choices that we continually discuss throughout the game. Above all, the at-home fan must be flexible.

Step 3: The adjustment phase (half time)- This is your time to change the game up. Are we losing? Change shirts. Winning? Spend the entire 30 minutes trying desperately not to tempt fate by doing anything that would negatively impact the team. When it comes to being the best at-home fan you can be, you must be willing to adjust to the changing needs of the game and be willing to lose feeling in your extremities if need be.

Step 4: The implementation phase- You’re in the home stretch, and here is where you use all the knowledge you’ve built up during the game to make the win happen. You must push through the pain and the temptation to take the easy way out. Your teammates on the court/field are not giving up and neither can you. No, you won’t get the glory but you’ll have the quiet satisfaction of knowing that you willed those free-throws in by the sheer force of your desire.

Step 5: The prayer phase- Like two rabid dogs, I normally try and keep my religion and my sports separated, but occasionally a little divine intervention is necessary. By the last two minutes of a close game, the best at-home fans will have completely abandoned their set position and everything they have developed before and during the game and will have dropped to their knees in a prayer position. Personally, I tend to create bargains with God in order to secure the win. As a UK basketball fan, I’m pretty sure I’ve run up a huge tab using this method. As a UK football fan, I’m pretty sure it all comes out in the wash.

There are people that will call this crazy. They will say that my choice to sit in the car and listen to the radio whenever we are playing at home and ahead by less than 5 with 2 minutes left cannot possibly effect the play of a bunch of 20-something men. But those people have never seen a simple sock change turn into a 2nd half comeback. They’ve never seen the miracle of the mute button or the religion that is found at the end of a close game. Behind every great team are those great fans watching from home, knowing that the choices they are making will spur their team to victory.

Article written by Katie Martin

67 responses to “Kate’s Take: At-Home Fans”

  1. Waitin' on 8

    Amen! We all do this!

  2. EyewearMan

    That was Awesome Katie!

  3. Matt Jones

    Great post Katie….you are doing an amazing job

  4. nlk


    Does this pic have anything at all to do with Pitino being asked tonight on his caoach’s show “Who on this years team reminds you of Wendell Ladner?”

    His answer: “Preston Knowles”

  5. KSR Spy

    I can just see your dad bestowing this wisdom on you from the basement. haha. His gametime lounge. I am willing to bet $20 that it still really smells like cat. haha.

    Great write up again.

  6. CalifCatFan

    That is outstanding, Katie.

  7. MGH

    Haha, this was great. Haven’t we all been there? Watching a free throw in the last minute of a game through clutched fingers, and getting pissed if so much as a car door slams outside, afraid it will ruin the guy’s concentration?

    It’s absurd, but that’s what makes sports fun.

  8. WildcatScratchFever

    Are you hot?

  9. WildcatScratchFever

    Seating positions were number one in my household. If you get up to go to the fridge and the team goes on a run, too bad you have to stay in the kitchen.

  10. bballjoker

    I mean, I did read it…but it was long.

  11. UndercoverKatfan

    and this mr. matt jones is why you should take the body of work into account in the blogger contest. kate should have won that thing hands down! im a HUGE fan, give her a post more than once a week!!!

  12. kentuckyjoe

    we wouldn’t even consider going into a game without this little bean bag, wacky shaped basketball that when whacked plays the UK fight song. It’s at the ready if a comeback becomes needed. We’ve also found that it’s very helpful if the dog is on the sofa and stays awake at least until the opening tap.

  13. Catfan4

    Two true stories. When I was in college at UK we were playing Bama. First half sucked and I was pissed off and had some anger to let out. Like a douche, I did 25 push ups. Sparks came out on fire. From then on I did 25 push ups every TV timeout, which was no big deal, until we started kicking the crap out of them and they started calling timeouts. I am not in great shape. I was sore, but we got the W.
    The other story is about my friends dad. He listened to the entire second half of the 96 championship in the garage, sitting in his car, reading the Bible. (Side note: he may or may not have had a hose run in the car in case we lost. I can’t say for sure either way, and after meeting him, neither would surprise me.) My friend said all they heard was a horn honking in the garage as the final horn sounded. I love UK fans.

  14. catlanta91

    Katie, your purty good for one of them lady writers

  15. Chris Minton

    did anyone besides me notice that da ville was not mentioned in espns top 64 college basketball preview? thats a nice oversight.

  16. WildcatScratchFever

    15. I noticed that too. As much as I hate them, I really think they were completely forgotten.

  17. Rhythm_Bruise2354

    Have to say this is top 3 post I’ve read here on KSR..No joke.

  18. Chris Minton

    17- that will be some good motivation for them

  19. bballdoc

    Kate,you’re right on. Every fan who watches or listens at home has done all these things. What a great piece of writing.

  20. teesea

    You were 12 in ’98….I’m getting old!

  21. CatSmitty

    Finally, a woman who gets it!!! Are you married? Got a boyfriend? I think I love you!!!

  22. Ken T. Ucky

    Ah man, this is the kind of pic we get with a female blogger!?! BTI is going to have to post more bikini models to make up for this.

  23. uksbiggestfan

    Amazing…that is the only word that describes this post! Matt you honestly have gotten together, the best FAN writers for this site! Keep ‘en comin guys!UK#1

  24. HanOfTheBluegrass

    Those of us at home do a good job keeping handymen working with various holes in walls, etc, after UK losses. Just doing our part.

  25. HanOfTheBluegrass

    In news relevant to the weakness of the SEC West and Miss St’s dominance of the SEC, Pelph has suspended 5 of his players, including an indefinite suspension of All-Hair Team PG and one-time “We need this guy” UK recruit Fortson.
    (Found via Aaron’s blog)

  26. spicymunky

    Excellent writing! 12- I had the same bean bag ball with the fight song for several years. It was repeatedly thrown against the TV (no flat panels hanging on the wall back then, just the big monster on the floor) at the zebras and opposing players. The ball didn’t survive the 98-99 season.

  27. Burly

    Maybe the best post ever on this site…my daughter is your age and I had them all locked in there rooms…all watching different tv’s when we beat Utah for the title. Your Dad is completely normal.

  28. Dr. UK

    Great post, Kate.

    My favorite memory comes from the end of regulation against Michigan State in ’05. I skied off the couch when Sparks’ three dropped, then spent the entire overtime on the floor creeping closer to the TV thinking that may help us win.

    Second favorite is after the loss to Marquette in ’03 I hardly said a word for the rest of the evening, then refused to wear any UK gear for 30 days. (At the time, I wore a Kentucky T and/or shorts every day to work.)

  29. dlhill00

    Hilarious. Nice work Katie. Funniest KSR post in a minute.

  30. travyork

    Wow!!! Great post. I have been there. My dad was holding a pillow that had brought us back from 19 down in the ’95 SEC Tournament Championship game. Then Rhodes missed those free throws. Needless to say there were feathers everywhere. Then when we got down 7 in overtime he restuffed the pillow just in time to save the game.

  31. travyork

    #29 I had just moved to Ohio and my wife was out of town. I watched the game by myself because we were new to town. I decided to just watch it from the bed. When Sparks hit that shot I jumped up on the bed(being 6’4″ this was not a great idea). I hit my on the ceiling and almost fell out the second story window. Talk about insult to injury.

  32. brittanyuk21

    9.. I have threatened my mother before when she went to the kitchen to get something and the team started going awesome. I would not allow her back into living room with the rest of the family. I have changed shirts throughout games too many times to count. I have switched positions with friends and family members to hopefully switch up the momentum. Good times. Great article.

  33. UKIreland

    Tell me again why Katie didn’t win the blogger contest again? This is the 2nd straight solid post she has had!

  34. Jonah Hex

    As a father of many many girls- this gives me hope that I can pass on the important things to my girls.

    1) How to read a defense in football
    2) How to be a part of the UK win in basketball when you are sitting in your family room
    3) How to make good sweet tea
    4) How to sing, Dixie and My Old Kentucky Home

    Thanks Kate

  35. KentuckyHouse

    Kate, this was an awesome post and completely spot-on!

    In 1993, my ex-girlfriend and I were watching the championship game of the Maui Invitational. She’d gotten up to get something just before the end of the game and when she came back, I was laying on the couch, so she just plopped down right on my stomach to watch. When Brassow tipped that shot in to win it, I literally threw her 8 feet across the room in my haste to jump up and cheer! She almost took out the glass doors on the fireplace, but since she’s my ex, I can easily say it was well worth it!!!

  36. bilhelm

    agreed 35, i am the father of 3 girls and the story Kate shared could easily be in the future of any/all of my daughters. Great post and i can’t wait to see my girls embrace the insanity that is UK fandom.

  37. TayPrinceJr.

    Great post Kate! I’m glad that I don’t suffer of some sort of syndrome now that I know that everyone else does the same thing. 29. I did the SAME EXACT thing for both of those games! I came back from a cruise just in time to see the Michigan St. game and when Sparks hit that shot, for some reason I had some rocks or something hard in my pocket and when I slid across the floor I got a really bad bruise. And after the Marquette game I didn’t talk for 2 days and I drew a picture of the refs on the front door of my house and labeled them with some inappropriate words.
    I used to work weekends at mcdonalds and have been known to throw my cellphone on the ground in front of a customer before taking their order; keep in mind I live in Florida so I look like a moron to everybody.

  38. TrickyRick

    Back in the 70’s the Kentucky Colonels played 5-6 games a year in Memorial Coliseum. I was at UK then and was in Two Keys one night when Louie Dampier brought Ladner in there. He was a funny guy, giving Dampier crap for Two Keys being his college hangout.

  39. flysoup

    What were you doing at a quiz bowl practice on a Sunday afternoon?

  40. Cal's Cats

    Great post!Now I will admit WE lost to Gardner Webb because I shaved that day thinking “It’s friggin’ Gardner Webb!”

  41. Carolina Blue is past tense for CAROLINA BLOWS

    I have been MIA for the past few months but try to come home every evening to catch up on KSR. Been coming here for years and I will have to say, Kate–this is top 5 (if not #1) posts based on truth, reason, structure and entertainment. Kudos to you.

    Matt, if you keep adding contributors like this, you can slide off into the sunset.

    I have too many stories that follow along these same lines. Most of which when I delivered pizzas. I don’t know how many times people were waiting in their door for 10 minutes peering at me sitting in the car. Once I got to their door and explained that the CATS were on a run and I could not leave the car before a break in the action, they completely understood. Well there was that one guy that complained that since he was standing there waiting for the pizza he could here the “comeback” from the other room and now thanks to me, would not be allowed back in front of the TV until there was a big enough of a lead and was voted back by the others to watch.

  42. Dustin Rumbaugh

    Katie, I’m being totally serious when I say this. You are getting dangerously close to my favorite sports writer out there right now. I think you’ve already taken over the top spot for favorite UK writer. I think you’ve found your calling for sure.

    Also, my two cents. I NEVER pray for a UK win. I tried it a few times and it always always always backfires (meaning they lose worse than they already are) or just plain doesn’t work (meaning if I pre-game pray, they lose even if they shouldn’t have or if I pray for a comeback, it never happens). It has absolutely never worked. My theory is that God doesn’t like me praying for sports because he feels they are just a game. We disagree but obviously he wins. Therefore, I NEVER pray for any of my sports teams to win, especially the Cats.

    I also only pop beer tops with a special bottle opener that plays the UK fight song and I have an unlucky UK shirt that I NEVER wear on game days.

    Anyways, crazy good post and I hope you keep writing for a long long time. I’m gonna get on Matt about getting you a daily post asap.

  43. Jonah Hex

    I forgot to add that my 3.5 year old and 2 year old already know the C A T S CATS CATS CATS cheer. My oldest does it every friday in her preschool class!

  44. Sheppard_flies_high

    This is easily one of the best posts in a long time.

  45. Delk_4_3

    I have to say that is one of the best posts EVER!!!

    I was driving home from an out of town business trip during the ’98 championship game. When I finally arrived about midway through the second half I ran in the house and turned on the TV to catch the end of the game. BIG MISTAKE!! All of the sudden Utah starts to make a little run. I got REALLY nervous REALLY fast. So I did the only thing a TRUE Cat fan could. I went back out and got in my car and drove around town listening to the game on the radio unit the end. Obviously we won the game…and I helped!!


    98 = 12 years old. WRONG 98 = 31….off in the distance, that’s right, you heard a 4″ S & W to the head.

    All I know is come Sat. morn I’m takin down a trophy. This bucks head will dwarf BCG’s. Obviously I love guns!!!!!!

  47. pileatedparadise

    First time poster, long-time reader. I finally had to register and applaud the author. This is a great post and worthy of praise, especially for all us alum scattered across the country and beyond. Bravo!

  48. Gertrude

    Way to go Katie and thanks for the pic!

  49. Arms of Delk Legs of McCarty

    Once again I feel like my fanhood has been challenged. Am I the only one that doesn’t do anything like this?

  50. cabethy

    I had a horrible cold and took Nyquil during halftime of that ’98 Duke game– and no, there was no way that it was going to make me sleepy, waaaay too hyped for that– but I had to stop the cough. After I determined that this was why UK came back and won the game, I (minus a cold) repeated this twice after that during games and it, of course, ended in glorious victory for the Cats. I messed it up, though, when I used it before overtime of the Michigan State game and we lost. It was good while it lasted.

  51. BravoBigBlue

    Kudos to Katie! The girl’s got talent. She’s captured the essence of a major part of what it means to be a Kentucky fan, and she’s done it with eloquence.

  52. muchdunx

    Great post, Kate! I’m a firm believer that I too can affect the outcome of a game from the comfort of my living room!

  53. Big Blue KY

    Great post Katie! Yes, it is so true.. I do every single one of those things you mentioned… BTW, as a woman, I appreciate the pic! 😉

  54. girl wildcat fan

    Katie: What a GREAT post! And I thought I was one of the few crazy Wildcat fans out here. I have been a Wildcat fan since the days of listening to the games on the radio being announced by the immortal Cawood Ledford (there will never be anyone better) with my two older brothers (there was no TV coverage at that time). The ’78 Championship game was my alltime favorite; the ’84 Championship game as a heartbreaker, but the ’92 game against the hated Dookies left me stunned for 15 minutes after I had fallen backwards off the edge of the couch. For the last 4 years I have actually almost been ashamed to wear anything UK, however, this year is totally different–starting with the Midnight Madness game I have worn a
    UK shirt everyday the Wildcats have played. Thanks SO much for the great picture just for us ladies—SUCK THAT, BTI! Keep up the good work and can’t wait to see your next post and maybe another HOT GUY pix.

  55. quietude38

    My tendency to pace back and forth (with occasional pauses to crouch by the coffee table) is legendary in my family, as is my screaming at the television. (I’m amazed Sheray Thomas never actually heard me screaming “Fundamentals!” at him, I was so loud.)

    During the 2005 tournament game against Michigan State, I drank a three-quart pitcher of sweet tea during the first half, another one during the second half and then made and drank another one during overtime. Used to be a good luck charm until that night.

  56. 4U2NV

    great post, I hate when I stand up and we start to come back….well I love the fact the we are coming back however I hate that I “have” to stand up for the rest of the game, for the love of UK

  57. mailman85

    good job kate….i love this post…. it brought back a lot of great memories….

  58. C.A.T.S..catscatscats

    My wife is originally from Loserville and grew up a Card fan. Her dad is the only Cats fan in her family. Needless to say this would not suffice when we started dating and after I took her to her first game at Rupp she has been Blue ever since (kind of hard not to be). Needless to say, her Card fanatic brother got her a Loserville blanket (more to spite me). So now, before every game, we promptly put on our UK gear and lay the Loserville blanket out in a nice quite place for our dog to lay on….

  59. Indycatfan

    WOW Great post Kate. I do just about anything that’s within reason for Pre-game
    1..Get my lucky hat from behind the bar
    2..Get cooler full of Beer so if a run occurs, I don’t have to get up..also I pop a beer whenever the opposition shoots freethrows, it really does make them miss for most of the time.
    3.. No one comes or leaves the house once the game starts. I have a brother in law that still won’t talk to me because I wouldn’t answer the door with it being 5 above zero.
    4..During the 96 NCAA run I would have my son and daughter play the UK fight song on their Clainet and Trumpet in the front yard before the games.
    During the GREAT comeback game in 1994 against LSU my oldest daughter popped some corn and the kitchen caught fire b/c of a faulty microwave. Woke my wife up (during a time out) and told her to keep the fire away from the TV as long as she could…..True story…Matt, Kate’s a KEEPER. I honestly didn’t think anyone did stuff like this. I’m just happy Everyone else is….GO CATS!!!!!!!!

  60. C.A.T.S..catscatscats

    Great post!

  61. Indycatfan

    I also forgot to mention I used to have a neighbor that used to buy me RED colored things like shirts for christmas and birthdays, he WAS a IU fan. But I found out that anything red is a GREAT fire starter for the fireplace.

  62. repsol-69

    wow! you have described what i grew up with and what i have become! i love being a wildcat fan and unless you have lived it you wont and cant understand it. thank you for capturing the essense of our ‘at-home’ craziness…truly appreciated.

    ie. this is why my dogs end up wearing kentucky stuff every game and if i dont have my special basketball or football, then i may as well not watch for the fate of our team may be in jeapordy! AWESOME POST!!!

  63. 783CATS

    BRAVO!!! In that very game–My copy of S.I. with Wayne Turner on the cover–started out NOT being on top of the pile on my coffee table, as soon as I noticed & corrected the situation–Victory was a LOCK… Well Done! 🙂

  64. WildBlue

    Great job Kate; you just described almost every true blue fan that has grown up true blue.
    For example: If the shirt you wore last game day resulted in a loss you do not wear it the next game day. If it results in a loss more than once in a season it should not be worn on game day ever again. UK beer coozie is a must as is the “Go Big Blue” braclet.
    The last time I prayed for a W was in 97, we were playing South Carolina in the last regular season game before the Tournament and I just remember wanting them to win so bad. I was sitting in the floor with my hand on the tv screen. When we lost I cried and swore that I would never visit South Carolina, ever. And that I would def not bother God with UK W’s and L’s again.

  65. IndyKat

    I am guilty of having the lucky outfit/shirt/hat/etc and sitting in the lucky spot of the room I also have a special lucky charm needed for the big games-UK Barbie. My daughter was 6 at the time and decided that in the middle of a losing game that UK Barbie would bring the team luck. She brings in the doll and sure enough, Cats win. Since then, the powers of UK Barbie are needed for the big games. We took her to a game watch party and I hid her in my jacket because my husband USED to make fun of me and all of my at home powers. He tells the story to embarrass me but everyone at the party says “Get her out and set her where she can see the game.” Cats win. UK Barbie has a front row seat for all of the big ones. And BTW-I should have a jersey hung for all of those free throws I willed in.