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The Ex-Pats of BBN: Casey in Melbourne


Ex-Pats of BBN



The always venerable Wikipedia defines an expatriate as “a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country or culture other than that of the person’s upbringing.” In other words, they’re strangers in a strange land. University of Kentucky fans have always identified themselves as members of “Big Blue Nation,” and in many cases, the BBN really CAN be found almost anywhere your travels take you. With that in mind, the series “The Ex-Pats of Big Blue Nation” will profile those Kentucky fans who have moved away from the Bluegrass State for whatever reason, asking how they’ve managed to maintain their devotion and fanhood despite living in areas where every exhibition game isn’t televised or where no one in the neighborhood understands the significance of the date April 2, 2012. Tonight we meet Casey Hamilton in Melbourne, Australia. Read on and enjoy hearing about life as a UK fan outside of Kentucky. If you’ve missed the first two parts of the series, go back and meet Derek in Portland and Seth in Huntington Beach, CA


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Let’s start with the basics. Please state your name, where you’re from, and current location for the official record. No need for exact addresses, I don’t want to get you in trouble on the Internet.

My name is Casey Hamilton. Originally from Owensboro, KY and I now live in Coburg, which is a suburb of Melbourne, Australia.


How did you get from Point A (Kentucky) to Point B (where you are now)?

I graduated from the school of Communications at UK in 2003. I had big time wanderlust and went to Vietnam to teach English for a year. That ballooned into another year and then another year. Since then I have globe trotted around, traveling and working in places like Pakistan and Korea. While working in Melbourne I met my current wife and have been living in Melbourne off and on for about seven years now.


What team’s fans dominate your area? (College or professional)

The sport of Victoria is the AFL (Australian Football League) or footy as it is known locally. Melbourne has a variety of teams and several interstate teams, so allegiances are mixed. The team that most closely reflects UK are the Geelong Cats which have the same colors and the same mascot. They have also won three Grand Finals (the equivalent to the Super Bowl) in last six years. So let’s hope our Cats can match.


Was it a hard adjustment going from living where everyone knows every detail about UK sports, to where people may conceivably think UK and Louisville are the same team?

It is still hard, so the adjustment hasn’t really worn off. The game times are way off in Australia, it’s morning when the games are on so you miss out on a lot of the build-up to the game. People also wonder why I am nervously pacing around the block and yelling to myself (i.e. Louisville-UK games). Missing the camaraderie of watching games with friends and family is the hardest part.


How many Kentucky fans would you say are in your general vicinity? Is there a local UK alumni group or bar?

I know only one other person from Kentucky and to be honest we haven’t talked about it much…but surely there are a few somewhere. (Editor’s note: speak up in the comments section if you’re close to Casey!)


How do you show off your fandom while living away from Kentucky?

Wearing UK apparel and shirts and when watching other sports ( mostly footy ) with local friends, talking up our program and how it ranks in the history of American basketball. Trying to explain the conferences and the NCAA tournament and the fact that universities play in massive arenas is a whole other story.


What’s the hardest thing about being a fan outside of the geographic BBN? The best thing?

The best thing is it is harder to stew on a tough loss when no one else really gives a damn, you just move on. The worst thing is game times going on during working hours.


What do you do for games?

Get up early and stream on the Internet. If I am at work then I will usually put the KSR liveblog and try to follow the action.


What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to follow a game live?

For the national title game in 2012, I called into work sick (I teach English as a second language in Melbourne) and had my wife (who is also a teacher) go to work in my place.


How do you keep up with UK news without the local media readily accessible?

Kentucky Sports Radio of course!


If I embark on a cross-country road trip with my friends, a la Britney Spears in Crossroads, do you have a UK-themed room I can stay in?

Not exactly, but since moving to Australia I have taken up brewing beer and have a dedicated beer you can sleep in a room with about 100 beers to drown your sorrows.


That will suffice. Since becoming an ex-pat, have you returned to Kentucky to watch the team play or seen the team play live in a different area? Any stories there?

Yes, my wife and me spent nearly half a year in Owensboro in 2011 and we indoctrinated her well into wearing the right clothes during the game, having lucky seats, etc. That was a fun year capped off with a trip to the Final Four. Just for the record, Doron Lamb was her favorite player.


How do the locals respond to your fandom?

Mostly with respect, I see a lot of similarities with the footy culture here and the basketball culture in KY, so people get it. They really don’t quite grasp the university system or why a player from New York would choose to go anywhere else to play. They totally understand the passion for your team though.


What advice do you have for anyone who may be considering a move from Kentucky who is concerned about missing out on following UK?

With the Internet you wont miss much….just the option of going to the games.


Any general stories that the readers of KSR would be interested to hear about living as a BBN ex-pat?

On the Thursday before the Dream Game 2, I left work feeling anxious. I randomly bumped into a Malaysian family on the street and the mother was wearing a UK sock hat. I asked her about it and she said she went to graduate school at UK before moving to Melbourne. As we were parting ways, she shouted “GO BIG BLUE and Beat the Cards!” I felt pretty good about the game following that.


Are you an ex-pat of BBN who enjoys talking about yourself? E-mail me at [email protected]


Article written by Kristen Geil

24 Comments for The Ex-Pats of BBN: Casey in Melbourne

  1. Wild Turkey 101
    9:43 pm May 11, 2013 Permalink

    Wow. Living large in Pakistan. Bet he pretended not to be American.

  2. UK Fan in OZ
    9:50 pm May 11, 2013 Permalink

    Hi Casey

    I am writing while at the Melbourne Zoo. It would be great to have a Big Blue fan to watch games with. [email protected]


  3. TampaCat
    9:54 pm May 11, 2013 Permalink

    Very Cool! We are everywhere, we are UK!!!

  4. Cat In The ATL
    9:55 pm May 11, 2013 Permalink

    1) Melbourne is in Australia, idiot.

  5. Seynmour Tang
    10:15 pm May 11, 2013 Permalink

    Gotta have frogged up or been shtupid to have voluntarily existedn in any Stani land – unless you were with Seal Team 6. Vietnam is cool. Unless you served there. I’m feeling a vibe here. While in Austrailia, I whould have hloved to have haxed: Have you been to Outback Steakhouse – there? Would that be like asking a Scott if he’d been to Mac O’Donald’s? Do the former slave persons use the ‘word’ AXED (instead of ASKED)?
    Or, is that a closet rebellion 300 years late in spite of a re-elected half white president?

  6. BBNWorldwide
    11:30 pm May 11, 2013 Permalink

    This is nuts, I also love in Melbourne and am close to Coburg (I live in Thornbury). Cant believe there are others here as well. [email protected].

  7. BBNWorldwide
    11:32 pm May 11, 2013 Permalink

    *live in Melbourne. #commentsectionfail

  8. Here
    11:42 pm May 11, 2013 Permalink

    We’re St Kilda boys! [email protected]

  9. dexter
    12:04 am May 12, 2013 Permalink

    Great to hear from some fellow cats fans in Melbourne. I live in Kensington, which is not far from the city. I proudly thought that I was the only cats fan in all of Melbourne but it is great to find out that there are others. I’ve lived here for almost four years and I’ve seen two people wearing UK stuff and when I went up to them neither of them had any idea what I was talking about. And #8, you obviously have never felt what it is like to live out of an area with major Kentucky support as it is one of my favourite parts of the week reading about fellow Cats fans who deal with the same issues that I do.

  10. Scott
    12:10 am May 12, 2013 Permalink

    I love to see this. I JUST returned to the States after living in the Gold Coast for the last year. Ran into one other Kentuckian in my entire trek through Oz. Enjoyed my time in Melbourne though for sure.

  11. Scott
    12:11 am May 12, 2013 Permalink

    And Casey, I’m an Apollo grad, you?

  12. Globetrotter
    12:32 am May 12, 2013 Permalink

    #4-Before you call someone an idiot, you should read the article. He lived in several other countries including Pakistan before landing in Melbourne. I am tired of reading needless name calling on this website. Have some civility.

  13. Scott2
    12:55 am May 12, 2013 Permalink

    Nice to hear about other Cat fans in Oz. I live in Sydney, so would great to see if there also some Sydneysiders reading this.

    On a related note, it’s great to see that the post about they guy who lives in Melbourne has a picture of him in Sydney!

  14. Patrick
    12:58 am May 12, 2013 Permalink

    Very nice…I lived in Melbourne last year and loved sharing my passion of the BBN with friends. I now live in Auckland, NZ and continue to spread the blue here too. It’s actually a Big Blue World!!!

  15. Wildcatsteeler
    3:04 am May 12, 2013 Permalink

    Thank you so much for these stories KSR. It reminds me that I’m not alone. There are other people that came from this state that aren’t ignorant, bigoted, racist, christian-taliban, rightwing rednecks. And that it is possible to escape to a place where the majority of people aren’t that. It gives me great hope.

  16. ScottsdaleCatFan
    7:59 am May 12, 2013 Permalink

    I just returned from a year of living in Sydney on Darling Harbour (2 weeks ago) and it wasn’t too bad. I had Foxtel and a legit ESPN360 login that allowed me to keep from missing a single game. Even in this most dreadful season. When I wore my UK gear around Sydney I would almost always meet another UK fan but they were usually just traveling instead of living there. I miss the footy and still watch that over the Internet now. Enjoy continuing to live in a great area. Oh and BTW, Geelong are like the Yankees (Aussie way of saying it) and most people outside of the area despise them.

  17. Parman
    8:37 am May 12, 2013 Permalink

    Casey, one piece of advice never use the word current in front of the word wife even if you meant to. cheers mate.

  18. Erin
    10:14 am May 12, 2013 Permalink

    I appreciate these stories. I lived in the Philippines and Taiwan for several years and I would go to extremes to watch or listen to a game. During Cal’s first year, I would schedule a “strategy” meeting during the games which were during my morning, and lock myself in a conference room while streaming feeds of the game.

  19. W.W.B.B.N.D?
    10:42 am May 12, 2013 Permalink

    I find these post very interesting, keep them up.

  20. ROKentucky
    11:08 am May 12, 2013 Permalink

    living in Caulfield. [email protected]

  21. Kangaroo
    11:23 am May 12, 2013 Permalink

    It’s amazing to me how many responses these posts get from other UK fans in AUSTRALIA?! BBN is something else!

  22. Nick
    2:29 pm May 12, 2013 Permalink

    Get on KSR and see an article about my uncle, so basically he is the best UK fan ever. Come home soon Casey!

  23. Casey
    12:01 am May 13, 2013 Permalink

    Wow the response to this has been amazing! I am a Daviess Country Graduate and I am actually away at the moment but when I return I will definitely be in touch with all the fans in Melbourne….Hi Nick

  24. Simon
    7:47 pm May 14, 2013 Permalink

    Hi Casey/ROKentucky/Here/BBNWorldwide and any other BBN citizens here in Melbourne, I’m in Mount Waverley but working in the CBD. Pity about Wiggins but we’re still No.1! [email protected]