Happy Fourth of July! The University of Kentucky rarely plays any sporting events on our nation’s birthday, but that doesn’t stop UK from honoring our country in a variety of ways.
Here are my top five:
5. When UK fans can have a brew at the game: Sadly this isn’t necessarily something the University of Kentucky directly does, but it’s always a neat experience for Kentucky fans that are denied such luxuries at SEC stadiums and NCAA Tournament events. The NCAA (shockingly) came to its senses and alcohol will be available at tournaments and Final Fours starting next season.
Few things are more American than being able to have a brew while watching your favorite team play, but it seems special for UK fans because its somewhat of a forbidden fruit. The Cats have to leave Rupp Arena, Kroger Field and the SEC to be able to have a chance, and even then other stadiums and arenas don’t always play ball. But UK fans love them some booze when available and it’s their American right to have a couple during a Cats game.
4. Military flyover before the game: Add about two extra points to your hype level before any UK football game that features a flyover. If the Cats are playing Southeast Texas State and you’re a 2/10 walking into Kroger Field, a nice military flyover will bump you up to a four. If the Cats are ready to take on an SEC opponent and you’re jazzing at a 8/10 before kickoff, a the rumbling and noise of jets passing by in the blink of an eye will get you fully loaded at 10. It’s such a simple (albeit expensive) and powerful gesture that showcases we’re No. 1, folks.
3. Adding some stars, stripes and (dare I say) red with the UK’s blue and white logo: Listen, I’m going to level with you all. I’m not sure how often UK has done this. I know they have had an American flag decal on the back of the football helmets before, but this really boils down to the hats UK rocked once or twice during the 2018 baseball season. Some may say it’s tacky. Some will point to the US Flag Code’s. I don’t care. It looks good on a UK baseball hat, a football helmet and I wouldn’t be mad if it someday made its way on UK’s basketball jersey. It kinda bugs me Duke has made that so popular, but people forget Calipari had the flag on some of his Memphis jerseys, so maybe there’s a chance? The stars and stripes are a thing of beauty and a little red looks good surrounded by blue, white and stars and stripes.
2. Marlana Vanhoose singing the national anthem: UK has had dozens and dozens of great national anthem performances in my lifetime. Probably hundreds, but whenever I think of a great anthem at a UK game I think of Ms. VanHoose. She was born blind and suffers from cerebral palsy, but it’s never stopped her from achieving her dreams. That’s America, folks. Her career took off after singing at a UK women’s basketball game and she’s pretty much performed everywhere ever since. She will still do a UK basketball or football game every so often, but she’s in the big leagues. I’m just happy she hasn’t forgotten her fans in Lexington.
1. Military surprise reunions: This isn’t just cool at Kentucky. This is cool everywhere. It’s without a doubt the coolest thing any school can do at their football, basketball or baseball games. I can’t begin to imagine having a parent or a kid across the world putting his or her life on the line for our country. I can’t imagine the thrill of seeing them for the first time after being gone for so long. I love these surprise visits and it’s a great way to honor our military families across the country.
Have a great Fourth of July!