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The Ex-Pats of BBN: Josh in Scottsdale


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. It’s time to say howdy to Josh, living in Scottsdale, AZ. Read on and enjoy hearing about life as a UK fan outside of Kentucky.


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 Josh Wilson, I’m from Lexington and I have lived in the sunny Sonoran desert of Scottsdale, AZ for the last 17 years.


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

I was in my junior year at UK and a friend who lived in Arizona called me and told me that I should move out to Arizona because I’d love it. I ended up transferring to ASU and staying out here because I did love it. I also ended up getting married out here and raising two wonderful kids.


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

The Phoenix area has all 4 major pro sports and a college town all wrapped into 1, so there are a ton of fans. There are also a lot of transplanted people out here, so everyone seems to root for some out of town team like the Yankees or Lakers. I am an Arizona State Sun Devil fan also, which works out because I hate the University of Arizona and I already had that hate from the ’97 national championship game.


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?

Yeah. I am constantly trying to explain about the passion of the BBN but it doesn’t translate out here. College basketball isn’t huge out here. In a city of 4 million, they can’t even get 2,000 people to watch good old Herb Sendek coach the Sun Devils.



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

There are a few Cats fans in the area, but not a whole lot. I actually just saw a girl with the UK sticker on her car the other day. There is a UK alumni group that meets for games in Scottsdale, but I haven’t met up with them yet. I normally watch with friends and family and drive them crazy while I yell at the TV.


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

I have about 10 UK shirts that I wear all the time and also a UK hat. Also, for the 17 years that I”ve lived out here, I have always had the UK sticker on my car. I currently have the 2012 national champs sticker, which I hope to replace with a new one in 2014.


Josh also makes sure his pal Larkin represents the Big Blue Nation.


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

The hardest thing is not being able to go to games. I catch them every year or two when I head back for Christmas, but it’s not the same. The best thing is being able to expand the BBN by recruiting and educating friends and family on the joy of UK sports.



What do you do for games?

Now that the Cats are back in prominence nationally, I get to watch almost every game out here. I usually move to within a couple of feet of the TV and scream my head off. My neighbors probably think I’m a serial killer, but that’s OK.


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

My wife, Tiffany, set our wedding date as April 2nd, 2005, which was going to be during the Final Four games of that year. I made sure that the venue where we were having the reception would have plenty of TVs so that I could at least catch glimpses of the game, because I was pretty confident (as are all UK fans) that we were making it that year. Fortunately and unfortunately, Michigan State ended up taking us in double overtime, but Patrick Sparks sure made it interesting.


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

KSR of course, usually around 10 times a day. I’ve tried other sites, but they don’t come close. I also catch the podcasts from time to time.


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?

I don’t have a UK themed room, per se, but our bedroom has the picture of Tubby being carried off the floor in 98, a poster of all the players from the 96 team, and the poster of Anthony Davis’s wingspan, so it’s close. But I don’t think you can stay there, my wife might object.


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?

I do try to catch a game every time I’m back in town for Christmas. I also caught them once in 1997 in a tournament in Phoenix, but they rarely come out west. I hope every year that they are put in the West region in the tournament so that I have a chance to see them, but that rarely happens either.


How do the locals respond to your fandom?

No one gets it, but if they know me, they know how passionate I am about it. Last year, Louisville stayed at the hotel that I work at while they were in the tourney, and no one could understand why I was rooting for them to lose, when we normally wish the team that stays with us good luck. They also couldn’t understand why I kept saying the word Loavull.


Your dad still teaches at UK. Does that make it easier to keep up with what’s happening in Lexington? Not really. He tries to fill me in on things sometimes, but I’m usually way ahead of him with KSR. Although he did text me about the Harrison twins committing before I knew.


How are you indoctrinating your kids into the culture of BBN, even though you’re thousands of miles away?

They have had all the UK gear since they were babies, starting with UK onesies that my mom sent them. They don’t quite get it, but they are starting to yell, “Go Cats!” at the TV, so I think it’s setting in.


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

The sports package is a must to catch every game as is KSR, of course. Just try and convert as many people to the BBN as possible. It’s not that hard. Everyone likes a winner.


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

I always tell the story about going to a bar on ASU’s campus to watch the UK/Arizona ’97 championship. I thought that even though we were in Arizona, being on the rivals campus, no one would root for them. So my friend, who I had converted to a UK fan, and I got in our gear and headed out. The moment we stepped into the bar it got ugly. I heard, “do you wear shoes in Kentucky boy?” and “have you had sex with your sister?” which are really original Kentucky jokes. The only one in the bar of about 200 people that had our back was a Chinese exchange student who I don’t think spoke English, but for some reason was rocking the UK t-shirt. We almost had the last laugh, but everyone knows the ending to that one. I still hate Miles Simon with a passion.





Article written by Kristen Geil

21 Comments for The Ex-Pats of BBN: Josh in Scottsdale

  1. plz stop
    9:49 pm June 8, 2013 Permalink

    If forced to chose between losing or reading this series….
    I would likely choose the loss of vision because it would at least prevent me from seeing this series.
    Plz stop.

  2. This sucks
    9:56 pm June 8, 2013 Permalink

    PLEASE STOP WITH THIS SERIES. I would rather read UofL trolls than this.

  3. X. Pat
    9:56 pm June 8, 2013 Permalink

    Uno, be cool .

    This series is splendid.

    My doubles partner from CAL moved there a few years ago.

    If, and when, I can convince my wife (alergies)….next stop: Scottsdale, AZ.

  4. UKnowMe
    10:01 pm June 8, 2013 Permalink

    My only gripe is the pictures on these posts never load no matter what browser I use. Every other picture loads just not on the Ex-Pats post.

  5. Davis
    10:04 pm June 8, 2013 Permalink

    The pictures don’t work because the author appears to be trying to embed the photos from their gmail, so they can see them but the readers can’t. You need to save the pictures on your computer and then upload them to WordPress.

  6. Lute Olsen
    10:10 pm June 8, 2013 Permalink

    Just because “I turned down” UK, and then they hired Eddie Sutton, then got put on probation, and the whole Eric Manuel test and Chris Mills (UCLA/package)…..I had n….n…no…noth….thing to do with it.

    There is absolutely no reason WHY I stayed at AZ.

    Look at my record.

  7. Plz stop x2
    10:17 pm June 8, 2013 Permalink

    #1 I agree!

  8. Greg
    10:19 pm June 8, 2013 Permalink

    Most of the people these crap posts are about aren’t even real UK fans. Casual at best. Try being a true die hard blue blooded cat fan and livening away from the bluegrass.

  9. Frew Drunklin
    10:20 pm June 8, 2013 Permalink

    I think these posts are a joy to read!

  10. U. R. Kiddnme Abide dude
    10:37 pm June 8, 2013 Permalink

    Ate-her, seriously?

    Dude….Cat fans do not all reside within your sandbox.

    There are 50 others + a whole fokkn WORLD, Columbus.

  11. Billy Ray
    10:42 pm June 8, 2013 Permalink

    What time do the bat cats play tomorrow? Thinking about gassing up the 78 pickup and head over to the stadium.

  12. Bottom Line
    10:53 pm June 8, 2013 Permalink

    You [email protected] licks suck at almost every sport.

  13. pfife
    11:12 pm June 8, 2013 Permalink

    Everyone relax. These aren’t real people ‘profiled’ in the ex-pats stories. The K$R JV team gets on wikipedia and invents stories after clicking on online atlases. Not entertaining, but not harmful either.

  14. Linda Taylor
    11:28 pm June 8, 2013 Permalink

    Sorry Josh, but I just can’t resist doing a little trash talking to a Sun Devil fan/alum. “In a city of 4 million, they can’t even get 2,000 people to watch good old Herb Sendek coach the Sun Devils.” That pretty much says it all doesn’t it. At least at McHale Center they pack it in to watch the UA Wildcats (even if the percentage of blue hairs in attendance is even greater than at UK). Though to be honest neither AZ fan base can hold a candle to the BBN.
    I have to admit the 97 title game was difficult for me being an alum of UA. No matter how much I tried to look at it as a can’t lose situation I felt worse for UK than I felt happy for UA. I hope they never meet in the NCAA tournament again. In fact I’d be very happy if they never play each other again at all.
    I’d also like to point out that if you are a UA fan you can stay a Wildcat when you become a UK fan (and vice versa), you don’t have to sell your soul to the Sun Devil like when you become an ASU fan. The one thing I will admit to being jealous of ASU was the amazing acoustics of Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium. Frank Lloyd Wright knew what he was doing when he designed it and I very much enjoyed performing there when I was in high school.
    For those of you who aren’t aware, ASU = Louisville to UA fans, especially alumnae.
    My sympathies to you as your miserable summer is just getting started in earnest. I’m serious, I know how bad AZ summers are. Stay cool as you go from air conditioned building to air conditioned car to air conditioned building all summer. The only places in AZ I would want to go in the summer would be at an elevation above 7,000 feet where you have a chance of cooler temperatures (and beautiful scenery).
    Josh, all kidding aside, at least we can agree on our UK fandom and I am glad you found the love of your life in AZ and have been happy there. AZ folk are great (even if they tease me about my acquired “southern” accent). I left AZ and moved to Lexington where I met and married the love of my life, a KY guy. For me, Lexington is the nearest thing to Heaven on Earth and I never want to live anywhere else.

  15. Chaz
    11:59 pm June 8, 2013 Permalink

    Kristen, I like the series, whether or not it’s your brainchild. Perhaps the best thing about this post is htat it’s a break from seven (!) consecutive posts from Corey. I’m not giving up on him yet, but that Rodman nonsense makes me wonder why not.

    Mrs Taylor, I enjoy your frequent comments, you seem to be informed about sports and other areas as well. Didn’t know you are AZ born. Just curious per a medical background, many move to AZ to escape allergies – Ky may be almost as well known for mold, pollen, and humidity as for basketball. How well have you adapted?

  16. Linda Taylor
    1:25 am June 9, 2013 Permalink

    Chaz – Thank you for your kind words. You might be surprised to read this but the main reason I left AZ was because of allergies. My allergy doctor in Tucson said I would have to leave to get any relief but that I would eventually develop allergies to whatever grew in the place I moved to. It was all true. I have taken more than my share of allergy shots in my life and I still take antihistamines but as I have gotten older I am better and we have a great air cleaner system on our HVAC. I have never been as bad here as I was in AZ. The problem in AZ is that many people moved there to get away from allergies and then planted many of the plants and trees that they were allergic to. With the warm climate those plants and trees produce tons of pollen. I knew just as many people with allergies there as here. Allergy doctors do a thriving business there. It is actually against the law in Tucson to plant a Mulberry tree now. The only thing that might be helpful is if you are only allergic to mold. There isn’t much of a problem with mold there.

  17. Chaz
    2:25 am June 9, 2013 Permalink

    #17-Thanks for the feedback, Linda. I was not familiar with people fleeing AZ to escape allergens, nor with new AZ residents planting and growing the plants and trees they were trying to evade. Keep those HVAC filters clean or replaced. Allergies will let up about halfway into football season and I hope you are symptom free for basketball season.

  18. Jeff cunningham
    6:22 am June 9, 2013 Permalink

    Need more people for the expats articles ? I live in tunisia North Africa just let me know. Thanks

  19. UL Troll
    8:41 am June 9, 2013 Permalink

    Please stick with how great the basketball and football seasons will be

    What is the point of highlighting someone who likes another place better than Kentucky?

    UL wins the Sugal Bowl over Florida
    UL is the 2013 NCAA Men’s basketball champions
    UL is the 2013 NCAA Women’s basketball runner-up
    UL is one win away from 2013 College World Series

  20. Linda Taylor
    4:13 pm June 9, 2013 Permalink

    Thanks Chaz, though I am afraid there is no hope for my voice come basketball season. I just can’t seem to keep from screaming at the top of my lungs at all the UKHoops home games and the men’s games for which I am lucky enough to acquire tickets. I seem to stay mostly hoarse from Nov. through March.