Be glad you’re not me. Unlike me, you can savor last night’s game. You can relish in the fact UK came from 18 down and won on a John Wall jumper at (almost) the buzzer. You’ve probably already analyzed the game with your loved ones and those closest to you. I don’t have those luxuries. It’s confession time. My name is Patrick Barker and I date a Miami RedHawk.
That’s right, my girlfriend of nearly a year is a Miami (OH) alumna. She was sitting next to me in Rupp last night, proud as a peacock with her red shirt standing out in a sea of blue. Now, she understands the realities of Miami athletics. Namely, they tend to suck in most sports. So going into last night’s game she, as well as everyone else in the arena expected a blowout. She told me before the game that “I just want Miami to be up at halftime, and then UK to win”. It’s at this point I should say that she’s been at UK for grad school for the last 18 months so she has become a Wildcat fan, too.
She got her wish, but as we got deep into the second half it seemed the restlessness in Rupp Arena gave her more incentive to cheer for Miami. With UK fans in our section shouting disparaging remarks about her RedHawks and her beloved Charlie Coles (“I love me some Charlie Coles!” -should I be concerned about this?) and his Abe Vigoda-ish face, she began cheering AGAINST the Cats. Now something you have to learn about Miami folks is that they have this weird obsession with their university. I can’t really explain it to you, but if you’ve ever known a Miami student or alum, you know what I’m talking about. When they hear someone saying nasty things about a place they’ve been indoctrinated grown to love, it puts them on the defensive.
Of course, after the game she tried to switch the subject to how Miami was a academically superior school (a notion I didn’t completely deny) and how UK fans are unhealthily obsessed with their sports teams (didn’t deny that either). She also went into how she was digusted that all UK fans thought they were “entitled to national championships” and to “win every game against smaller schools”. I just looked at her and said “We’re Kentucky. We are entitled.” Probably wasn’t my best answer. We’ll just leave it at that.
Of course, after the car ride home she had cooled down considerably. And against Sam Houston State on Thursday she’ll probably be joining in the same cheers that she detested against Miami. But the last thing she said to me last night was “UK didn’t deserve to win that game.” You know what? I can’t say I completely disagree.