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The Ex-Pats of BBN: Seth in Huntington Beach, CA

 

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. Up next in the series is Seth, who’s living in Huntington Beach, California. Read on and enjoy hearing about life as a UK fan outside of Kentucky.

 

seth_merriss
 

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.

I’m Seth Merriss from Stamping Ground, KY in the heart of Scott County. I’m currently living life large in Huntington Beach, CA. 

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

My dad works for Toyota and that took us from Georgetown, KY to Orange County when I was in high school for 2 years. Went back to Scott County for my senior year of high school and went to UK after that. My parents moved back to the OC after my freshman year and a few years later I followed suit. 

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

Lakers fans, it’s disgusting. They are the second most annoying fan base next to those L throwing dirty birds. 

 

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?

So hard. People out here don’t care at all about college basketball. I was in the HB Buffalo Wild Wings and was the only one to recognize the Wear twins from UCLA. There’s a decent ruckus for college football with USC and UCLA but it’s mild. Any exciting news about UK sports I try to share falls on deaf ears and blank stares. Thank goodness for Facebook and KSR. Also one of my Cali friends congratulated me on Louisville winning the championship this year. We are no longer friends.

 

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

Josh Hopkins hasn’t responded to any of my business proposals to start a UK themed bar out here yet so no. But the Big Blue Nation is expansive. Every now and then I run into a few UK fans at the store or down at the beach and we stop and have a conversation about how Cal’s doing with this year’s team and what recruits we hope we get. It’s like running into an old friend you haven’t seen in a while except less awkward. 

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

Hats, shirts, license plate covers, phone covers, sweatshirts, stickers, flags, whatever it takes to advertise that I’m a proud member of BBN. 

You live in California. Do you have a surfboard with a UK logo on it?

No ma’am, but I know what I’m asking Santa this year for Christmas. 

 

Would you agree with the statement that “California girls, they’re unforgettable, Daisy Dukes, bikinis on top”, or do you uphold that Kentucky girls are superior?

Kentucky girls will always hold a special place in my heart, but I’ve got myself a beautiful California girl who can put up with my fanatical UK love and there’s not much more I could ask for. She’s a UK fan in the making, working on it one season at a time, but sadly this past season didn’t help much.

 

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

The worst thing is not being able to go to the games and being there to celebrate big wins with other UK fans. The best thing is being able to represent the BBN on the West Coast and show all these Californians what we’re all about.

 

How annoying is it to try and follow games from a time zone that’s three hours behind Kentucky? 

It’s not too annoying at all really. The worst it gets is when I have to wake up a little early on Saturdays to get ready to watch the football game. Typically the basketball games start just in time for me to get home from work or school. It’s nice because I feel like I don’t have to wait all day for the game to come on. 

What do you do for games?

I throw on the cleanest UK gear I have, hang the flag up, and listen to Matt on the pregame show. Then I get positioned in front of the TV or iPad with my laptop and read the KSR live blog as the game plays. 

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

I’ve incorporated games into dates with my girlfriend and taken extra-long lunch breaks at work to watch NCAA tournament games. I haven’t had to do anything too crazy since I try to plan around UK games.  

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

KSR, KSR, KSR. Kentucky Sports Radio is my life line to the BBN and UK news. I check the site too many times a day to count, and with the handy dandy iHeartRadio app I wake up at 7am everyday just in time to listen to Matt and Ryan’s shenanigans, and catch up on the podcast if need be. 

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

If you embark on a cross-country road trip a la Smokey and the Bandit instead and bootleg some Ale-8 across state lines for me you’ll always have a place in my house. 

I can respect that. 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’ve been back a few times but I’ve tried to avoid the colder months. I had a chance to catch a game in December when I came back for a funeral but had to choose between seeing the Cats and visiting my brother in Bowling Green. Hardest decision of my life. Compromised and watched the game with my brother and family in BG. I am planning on road tripping to Dallas to see the Cats play Baylor in Cowboys Stadium. I need Andrew Cassady to commit to meeting me there!

 

How do the locals respond to your fandom? 

They think I’m crazy but they just don’t get it. It behooves them. They think it might be unhealthy. I try to talk to friends and strangers about UK sports all the time but I get a look like I belong to a mental institution. That might be true but they’re crazy for not loving UK. 

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

Technology is beautiful. Listen to KSR on iHeartRadio or on podcast and no matter where you are you’ll feel like you never left Kentucky. Get something capable of downloading the Watch ESPN app for games that aren’t televised and if that doesn’t work there’s always the live blog on KSR. If you’re apprehensive about moving away from the heart of BBN just remember you’ll have the chance to spread the joy of UK fandom to those who are in desperate need of it. Rep the BBN!

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

Don’t expect to be able to explain to non-Kentuckians why you hate Louisville without them getting hung up on the way you say Louisville. They will not stop making fun of you for as long as they know you. Also expect to share a flight with Mark Krebs every now and then when you fly back to KY from the West coast. He flies Southwest and so should you. 

 

If you’re interested in being featured as an ex-pat of BBN, give me a holler at [email protected] If you would like to assist me in creating an app/website similar to Couchsurfers.com (which helps travelers find places to crash for free) but for only UK fans, you may also give me a holler at [email protected] 

Article written by Kristen Geil

23 Comments for The Ex-Pats of BBN: Seth in Huntington Beach, CA



  1. I know him
    9:35 pm May 6, 2013 Permalink

    SETH! Love the article. How is the Rainwater (wink, wink) in CA?! I need to hit you up on the face-space. Next time you’re in Lex or G-town hit me up and we’ll meet up for a beer and discuss BBN related things.



  2. DoubleZeroMostel
    9:39 pm May 6, 2013 Permalink

    First of all- USC football is a little bigger than you are indicating here. People pack the bars in USC jerseys to watch their team, although they don’t go to the games in droves and they certainly don’t travel. As for UCLA, nobody in the city, outside of residents of Westwood or Pasadena or alumni care much about UCLA sports, hence all the pictures of an empty Pauley Pavillion. Finally, to this particular Ex-Pat, I’ve always found that the folks at Hollywood Billiards (Hollywood Blvd- Little Armenia- Right off the 101 exit) have been accomodating in turning on the UK football/basketball game on a TV if you ask nicely.



  3. carlsagan
    9:41 pm May 6, 2013 Permalink

    i think this guy needs to get a life. His friends are right by saying his obsession with uk sports is unhealthy



  4. Derek
    9:50 pm May 6, 2013 Permalink

    What up Seth? I’m in Brentwood right now eating at Katsuya. However, I moved back from Seal Beach to KY 12 years ago. I’ll hit you guys up in the HB during the season. Where is the UK bar in HB?



  5. Seth's friend
    9:56 pm May 6, 2013 Permalink

    Very good friends with Seth and we talk UK basketball all time. He hates me though because I always wear Louisville gear around him. He still lives talking to me and we love getting into heated arguments about who is better! I am a die hard USC fan though. Season tickets to all games. GO TROJANS! FIGHT ON!



  6. Wildcatsteeler
    10:04 pm May 6, 2013 Permalink

    What I’d like to hear is if any games are televised there? The ESPN stream is garbage and practically unwatchable. Is he saying he just listens to the games?



  7. Rockfield, KYv
    10:17 pm May 6, 2013 Permalink

    It definitely does suck not having anyone to celebrate wins with. I was in Winston Salem, NC last year when we won it all and was the only person in a full bar cheering for UK. I find a few more in Chattanooga now, but not many.



  8. UKSoCal
    10:20 pm May 6, 2013 Permalink

    2- The people at Q’s, in Brentwood, are generally pretty accommodating to UK fans as well, there use to be at least a couple bartenders there that were UK alumni. I didn’t make it over there last year, but I’ve watched football games with a group there in the past. Have to agree about the underselling of the USC football support, although it’s going to be mild this year, Kiffin lost some people with that performance last year.



  9. Cass
    10:32 pm May 6, 2013 Permalink

    He’s not joking about the ale-8 btw. Last time he was in he smuggled some back on his flight. And if you give his bro fazolis, Forget about it!



  10. PDubDiddy
    11:09 pm May 6, 2013 Permalink

    Seth, you are not alone! Join the SoCal UK Group on Facebook. We have watch parties for football and basketball — usually at SEC friendly bars in the South Bay or Mid-City areas. It’s a good group of folks (some are young, some are boomers).



  11. theSkinny81
    11:13 pm May 6, 2013 Permalink

    I moved from Orange Co. California (Anaheim) to good ol’ Stamping Ground as a middle-schooler. Talk about a culture shock, lol. But…. I’m in my 12th year as a Lexingtonian now, and have nothing but pride for my state.

    California’s nice too, though…. 😉



  12. UKSoCal
    11:30 pm May 6, 2013 Permalink

    10- What’s the name of that group?



  13. Dominic
    12:36 am May 7, 2013 Permalink

    UK Alum here. I was just in Huntington Beach yesterday, watching the band play down by the pier. Is there a sports bar that has UK games on during the season?



  14. PDubDiddy
    1:15 am May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Southern California UK Alumni Club. It’s not just for UK alums, BTW (I’m from Lex but didn’t go to UK). The mod, John Steinlage, usually sends out emails with upcoming gatherings. If you google him and UK, you’ll get his contact info to be added to the list. He’s a really nice guy and does a good job planning UK and SEC-family events.



  15. Isaac in Long Beach
    2:58 am May 7, 2013 Permalink

    And if you ever make it up to San Fran during the season, go hang with Tom and Ash and the gang at Zeke’s. They are the biggest, craziest, loudest group of BBN faithful this side of the Mississippi.



  16. Biff Switters
    4:09 am May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Love the BBN expat talk. I’ve been an expat since 2007 bouncing around from state to state and continent to continent on a seasonal basis. Guiding volcanoes or high-altitude peaks, playing on glaciers, skiing pow, or sending rock and ice. I leave to guide Denali (Mt. McKinley to the lay person) in a few days…looking forward to it! I love UK sports and am a proud member of the BBN…I remember exactly what I was doing when Laettner hit ‘the shot’ and also when Marty Moore intercepted the pass in the endzone in ATL in the Peach Bowl in 1993 (my youngest brother was born about 1hr after that. My earliest sleep mix was Ralph Hacker and Cawood Ledford…enough said. My youngest brother is a manager for the football Cats (started under Joker) and loving it under the STOOPS administration. I’ve been wandering and loving it for 5-6 years. Lived in a dozen states, five countries, and I’m looking forward to the prospect of returning to the Bluegrass for a year starting in August (just in time for the commencement of what will be the most exciting year in Kentucky sports)!!!!! I love life, UK sports, the BBN and the rest of my people!!



  17. Jackiemoon
    4:14 am May 7, 2013 Permalink

    yo Ive been in San Diego the last five years. Any UK alumni bars in the area? Let me know, thanks.



  18. iucansuckabigblue....
    4:57 am May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Represent us and make us proud in Cali. A true Wildcat never meets a stranger with blue on.

    🙂

    I love these stories. And I love your disregards for them dirty chickens.

    Go Big Blue !!! From Lexington to Loseville to California



  19. TheColoradoWildcat
    9:30 am May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Seth, and #6:

    Get ESPN Full Court. I live in Colorado, not a Kentucky native, but went to UK back in the early 60’s and wish I was.

    I have used Full Court since it started many years ago, and have not missed a regular season game in about 10 years. Many if not most of the exhibition games as well are seen that way.

    Costs about $110/season, and when you consider that both my bride of 50+ years and I bleed blue, they are the cheapest “season tickets” I ever had. Spend WAY more scalping a pair just to see one game if we are in Lexington during BB season!

    We have DISH satellite hookup, and I will be watching the SEC network I am sure via the sports package that runs an Alexander Hamilton each month.

    No, I do not work for DISH, do not have stock….just want fellow BBN folk to enjoy the games! We also get WHAS on most games, so I can also listen. Many times I will listen to the broadcast on computer while the DVR records game, then after Matt’s post-game show, go and watch the recording.

    Wow! Two games in one night. Does not get any better than that!

    GO BIG BLUE!



  20. bigblueaces
    9:30 am May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Love these stories! I was in OC traveling for work a few months ago. Beautiful!



  21. TK
    1:52 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    This is a cool series, keep the stories coming!



  22. Mattb
    4:57 pm May 7, 2013 Permalink

    Craziest thing ive done to watch a game was when i was tdy to korea about to forward deploy to tokyo for earthquake relief i was waiting to leave with no internet in 10 degree weather outside a closed library with my laptop trying to leech the wifi, which worked and i caught 45 min of the game before i had to get on the plane…



  23. SoCalCat
    1:11 am May 8, 2013 Permalink

    Hey Seth,

    An HB resident since 1997. Welcome to Surf City!