I knew it was going to be a great scene. For months I have been telling people, “get to Nashville for the SEC Tournament…there wont be much better.” The combination of proximity to Kentucky, the great downtown scene around the arena and the built-up aggression in the UK fandom made me confident that this would be a tournament like no other. And yes, we are now barely halfway into the event, with the two biggest Nashville nights still to come, and it is even better than I had hoped. Kentucky fans are EVERYWHERE and literally, I mean everywhere. Outside the arena, in the arena, at the bars, at the hotels, in the restaurants, heck fans have come up to me and yelled about the Cats and KSR in nearly every restroom I have been in (note, that is kind of weird). Its a UK world here and many of the fans will never see a game.
When you walk into the arena, it is like the best type of Rupp Arena atmosphere, only louder. The fans that are here are the true, loud passionate type. Nothing against the Rupp crowd, but it can be a bit old and complacent. Not this bunch. This group is filled with people that were in the same position as I growing up. This is their big vacation and they come here to have a weekend of fun and to root on the Cats as loudly as possible. I approximate the arena was about 85% Cats and it could have been even more. And they were wanting anything to happen to make the place get loud. When John Wall made his drives to the basket, the place exploded and it was louder than you hear in 99.9% of the Rupp moments.
And the streets are rocking. Even if you dont have tickets, you should get in your car and drive here just for the scene. The fans are in a joyous mood and everywhere you walk, you see Blue, with people chanting and celebrating on every corner. I cant even imagine what the scene will be like tonight, but I cant wait. We have a full KSR crew, plus stragglers and that is part of the reason that blog writing will be spotty from here on out. I realized during the podcast (which should be up at some point later), that this was too much fun to type about and rather, I wanted to experience it. The typing can come later.
Of course there are drawbacks…tickets are too expensive and UK has to win or the fun goes down. But for right now, there simply isnt a place I would rather be than Nashville, Tennessee. The stories are already lining up (the podcast has some parts that might not make the air) and my group of friends is in ridiculous mode. If you arent here come…and if you see us, say hey. Its a Big Blue party and for the first time in a few years, we are all invited.