Last year was the first time I had ever experienced an SEC tournament atmosphere and now, it’s hard to imagine myself ever missing out on such a magical event. Thousands of Cats fans pack up and make the hajj to what is the Mecca of Kentucky basketball. It’s a place unlike any other to go and celebrate Kentucky basketball with all of of our Wildcat friends. Lexington may be the Cats fan headquarters but the SEC tournament is truly a religious experience and one I encourage every Kentucky fan to be a part of if they are ever given the opportunity.
When it comes to large groups of people, I naturally like to sit back and observe for a while. People watching is one of my favorite sports so the SEC Tournament is like my own Super Bowl. It’s at the SEC Tournament where UK fans from all walks of life congregate in one place, it’s a place where the full spectrum of fan personalities can be viewed. Every Kentucky fan stereotype can be observed at one point during the weekend. Here is a short list of some of the UK fan stereotypes you may encounter in Nashville this weekend. Which one are you?
The Die Hard Fan
Every Kentucky basketball fan out there would like to consider themselves a die hard fan. The reality is, not everyone can truly fit in this category. Truthfully, unless they have tickets to the games, a die hard may be a rare site in Nashville. It sounds preposterous but the typical UK die hard watches games with laser focus, without distraction, so a Nashville bar is a very unfavorable location for die hards to watch games. They have no time for all the high fiving, and camaraderie a public viewing location brings. In fact, they question the fandom of anyone who prefers to watch the game in a different manner than they do. If they do make an appearance in Nashville, it’s because they have tickets. If you find yourself sitting next to a die hard at one of the games, I’d advise steering clear of any impulse for interaction. A UK game for a die hard is an intense, stress filled experience, and the emotions they exude can be unpredictable. Let them watch the game, and pray the Cats win because a die hard doesn’t deal with losing well.
“C-A-T-S” Chant Fan
While walking the streets of Nashville, you’ll periodically hear “Ooh, C-A-T-S Cats! Cats! Cats!” ring out from the surrounding bars and restaurants. There are certain Cats fans that simply live to initiate these cheers. Some folks try and want to be the person who starts the chant, but I have seen many CATS cheers attempt to be started that fizzle out quicker than Rick Pitino in an Italian restaurant. This is often due to bad timing and lack of conviction. Some people simply don’t have this talent, and that’s ok. CATS chant guy will leave his mark at any location he may be. CATS chant guy likes a nice shoe, preferably a boot, in which he can stomp loud and proud. He also likes a little bit of elevation, if available, to draw attention to those following his lead. After a few simultaneous stomps and claps, he reaches deep down into his diaphragm and projects a powerful “OOOH!” Those around them know exactly what to do and this process repeats. All. Weekend. Long.
Crazy Wardrobe Fan
Fans like to express themselves in all different ways including how they dress. I respect those who break out the wacky clothing and face paint to cheer on their Cats. It takes a lot of courage to be willing to draw so much attention to yourself. Each crazy wardrobe fan has their own version of flair with clothes and accessories that often leave me wondering where in the hell they found something like that. Blue and white striped overalls, crazy blue wigs, sunglasses with illuminated frames, are just some examples you may encounter in Nashville. Do not confuse crazy wardrobe fan with die hard fan, however. Remember, a die hard has no tolerance for that kind of silliness as the game is the only thing that matters to him.
The Casual, Uninformed Fan with Good Intentions
We’ve already discussed the die hard fan, now it’s time to introduce the die hard fan’s arch nemesis. Not everyone can be the world’s biggest Cat fan and totally in tune with all things Kentucky basketball. Some people actually have lives and other interests besides UK sports. That doesn’t mean they can’t be a fan and have a good time with their Wildcat Friend’s in Nashville. This fan is actually quite common. They’re in Nashville to have a good time and are never really too concerned with the outcome of the game. They’re easy to spot, usually at a surrounding bar cheering away at a game in which they have no clue what is happening. Remember to keep this fan in mind, when you spot a person cheering at an inappropriate time or exclaiming how good of a “sportsball” game it has been.
If you are going to Nashville this weekend, you are bound to see at least one of these types of fans. If you take people watching as seriously as I do, I hope this list can serve as a nice guideline while you’re making your observations. I know I may have forgotten a few stereotypes, so feel free to mention a few of your personal favorites below. If you were offended by any of the fan descriptions I mentioned, then odds are you probably are that fan. I’ll see you guys in Nashville. Go Cats.