Four days later and it still hurts.
I know I’m supposed to have “turned the page” on Kentucky’s ugly win over Western by now, and mostly, I have. There was nothing good about Thursday night, other than meeting Boogie, Drew, and tons of great, albeit frustrated, Kentucky fans downtown. Otherwise, it sucked; the atmosphere was laughable, the crowd uninspired, and the players uninspiring. And as ugly as the play on the field was, the guy sitting two seats over from me was worse. For three and a half hours (yes, I stayed the whole time), he chastised the crowd around us for standing and cheering while the team was on defense and oddly, during commercial breaks. The familiar barks of “Sit doooown!” made me feel like I was back in Rupp Arena surrounded by blue hairs. This is football, for John Madden’s sake. As a fan, you’re supposed to stand up and cheer on defense. Plus, who cares if you stand up during a time out? It’s not as though the dance team or cheerleaders were in front of our section, and I seriously doubt ole Grouchy Marx cared about watching offensive lineman slump and sweat into the bench.
Anyways, I could relay the whole tale of “Sit Doooown” Sammy, which includes me getting frustrated and confronting him, but I’d rather use this story as a teachable moment. I know most of you guys reading this know how to cheer at football games. But, after attending football games for most of my life, several inside Commonwealth Stadium, I’d wager about 50% of Kentucky fans don’t. This will go without saying for all of you, I’m sure, but for the non-football-savy fan’s sake, let’s go over the basics and use them as healthy refreshers before Saturday’s game against Central Michigan:
1) DO show up early. Yes, I’m looking at you, students. If you’d really rather drink beer in the parking lot than go in to the game, just show up earlier to your tailgate. Nothing fires a team up coming out of the tunnel more than a half-empty stadium. #rise
2) DO stand up and cheer when we are on defense. Not just on third down. The louder the crowd, the harder it will be for the opposing team to call plays and concentrate.
3) DO NOT cheer while our team has the ball. The first step to them pulling off a good play is being able to hear said play from the quarterback. I will never forget being in the stands for the 2009 Kentucky/Tennessee game at CWS and having to shush people while our team was on offense, especially when we were a few yards from breaking the streak. #smdreads
4) DO NOT feel guilty for standing up on defense or timeouts. You paid for your ticket, stand up and act like it. If the Cats are going to #rise, the fans have to rise too.
5) DO NOT participate in the wave or beach ball tossing if we are down or the game is close. Hell, don’t participate in that stuff at all. If you see a beach ball coming your way, DO take it upon yourself to spike it and remind the rest of the crowd that we’re at a football game, not a Kenny Chesney concert.
6) DO watch this video for further inspiration.
While it remains to be seen if the football team will actually #rise this fall, for us to become an SEC contender, our fans MUST rise as well. I am sick of bringing friends from other SEC schools to Commonwealth and having them laugh at us for our pathetic gameday atmosphere. Yes, new video boards, an invigorated band, and, god willing, a good football team, will improve that, but much of the responsibility lies on the fans. STAND UP on defense. Be proud to cheer on your team. How can we expect our team to turn the page if we refuse to?