There are several things about the Rupp Arena crowd that confuse me. From the blue hairs telling fellow fans to sit down to others who refuse to wear one of the team’s colors to a game, admit it–we can be an odd group. Yet, the thing that may upset me the most is when people leave games early like they did last night. Now, before I get started, let me say this: the crowd was fantastic last night. They were loud and spurred the team on when they needed it the most. There are few better atmospheres in college basketball than Rupp when it gets rocking like it was. Fans even got a chance to let the boos fly when Willie Cauley-Stein received a technical for slapping the backboard.
BUT, with one minute left and the game still very much in question, many fans hit the exits. If Kentucky had been up by 10, maybe I could understand, but we they were only up by three to a team that lit it up from the outside all night. If there was a time to stay and cheer the team on, this was it. This group needed a win just as much as the fans did. I know, I know, you’re beating the traffic, but is it worth missing the best part of the game? I’ve been thinking about this all morning and here are my two times in which it’s somewhat acceptable to leave a game early:
A) The game is a blowout
There are reasons Kentucky schedules cupcakes in November and December and there’s a reason most of the fans hit the exits early for those games. That I can understand. But for a 3-point game with one minute left when your team desperately needs a win? I think that’s worth a little bit of extra traffic.
B) You are old and/or disabled
You need a little more time on the stairs and in the aisles. Fair enough. Please don’t fall.
For those of you who live very far away and want to get a head start: I hear you. I’ve made that trip from Rupp to Danville and Rupp to Nashville many a time. And I understand that the late games mean you won’t get home until very, very late, making the next day pretty rough. But again, what’s thirty more minutes on the road when the game’s still going and the team needs your support? It’s not like I expect you to stay and sway with the cheerleaders to “My Old Kentucky Home,” but why not make the most of your ticket and cheer the Cats on until the very end? Besides, why rush when it means you’ll have more time to listen to the postgame show on the ride home, right?
Simply put: with the game on the line, why leave early?