To me, this is one of the hardest things for a fan to decide: would you rather beat your rival when they are good, meaning they are successful outside of playing UK? Or do we want our rivals to lose every single game, making a UK win less meaningful? We batted this idea around the workplace last week and got some interesting responses. The 2 sides of the argument are fairly simple:
1. You NEVER cheer for a rival
-I can understand this thinking. THEY ARE YOUR RIVAL. By almost definition, you want to wish them the worst luck possible outside of their players getting hurt. You can’t call yourself a Big Blue Fan while also hoping Tennessee and Louisville win some games. It’s part of being of being a fan. It’s not just having passion for your team, it’s hating the opponent, especially the rivals. And not only can you not cheer for rival, but anybody you know that cheers for a rival to win games should immediately be banished from your group of friends.
2. Beat your rival at their best
-The other side of the coin says you would rather beat a rival’s good team than some dog awful team. But to get the best side of your rival, you also have to hope they win a bunch of games. When you think about memorable wins in the history of the UL basketball rivalry, you remember the win in the Final Four more than the win in 2000. Why? Because UL had a good team that year. But, you had to hope for them to win 4 games to get that chance to crush their hearts. In football, did it feel better to beat those awful Kragthorpe UL teams, or beating some of the good John L. Smith teams? So, some would argue they’d rather play a good team than a bad team, just to get a better win.
I think this debate takes an even more interesting tone when talking about the University of Kentucky. Because what defines the program as much as the success is the passion. And the rivalries that go with that too. Games against Tennessee, Louisville, Florida (basketball), North Carolina, Indiana, even Duke every so often are what excites the fans most. But the only reason those rivalries are as good as they are is because the opponent is generally very good. We don’t have a rivalry with Auburn in basketball because they suck. So in a sense, our rivals success is what makes part of who we are.
What do you think? Do you believe in hoping our rivals are good (thus winning) so our victories over them are sweeter? Or is part of being a fan hoping for the worst in your rivals successes?