I have something to admit: I was a Big Blue Madness hater.
My first experience ended horribly at the campout, leaving without tickets. I learned the event just might not be for me, vowing never to return. I did not learn that would change until late Thursday night, but I’m glad it did.
My biggest beef with BBM was, and still is the scrimmage. It’s not competitive. Even in person, it wasn’t entertaining. That could be fixed by adding a three point contest and a dunk contest. However, after sitting in the arena for the fist time, I finally understood why people love it so much.
The atmosphere during Big Blue Madness is unbelievable. There’s an unquantifiable buzz in the air that makes the event feel unlike any other event at Rupp Arena.
Watching Matthew Mitchell dance on TV always seemed awkward or forced, but that’s not the case when you’re in the arena. The behind the scenes lip-dub was a great way to begin, before he taught me what the JuJu was at center court.
Mitchell’s dance was good, but his players might have been better. Morgantown, West Virginia native Paige Poffenberger was appropriately accompanied by John Denver’s Country Roads. Maci Morris busted a few moves while walking down the stage. Lin Dunn’s dabs were the best dabs the world has ever seen. Makayla Epps’ final Big Blue Madness intro fit her larger than life personality, wearing a Championship belt with a “Straight Outta Lebanon” shirt while Put On rang throughout Rupp.
People love to hate on the women’s basketball team, but that was impossible if you were inside Rupp.
The SEC Network’s coverage has some issues, but what always bothered me most was the absence of the cheerleaders’ performance. Watching this guy flip all over the floor was un-freaking-believable.
Kentucky’s cheerleading squad just threw down and I’m pretty sure this guy at the end is a superhero: pic.twitter.com/DrGvVnwcMr
– Alex Forkner (@AlexForknerTCP) October 14, 2016
Before the men took the stage, this year’s hype video had Rupp rocking. The bass was bumping so hard I thought I was having heart palpations.
Since John Wall danced, the expectations for player intros were set too high. I scoffed when players simply walked down the runway, but everyone who dances deserves credit. It takes guts to dance in front of 20,000 people while fireworks and smoke fill the arena. The guys on this year’s team proved they aren’t afraid of the bright lights.
The “family” theme of this year’s Big Blue Madness was executed to perfection. It was a surreal sight to see this year’s players thank those that came before them as they took the stage. We weren’t sure if the Kings could make it in time. When DeMarcus Cousins and Willie Cauley-Stein arrived just as the former players finished taking the stage, it was the exclamation point to a perfect evening.
Everyone will always want to nit-pick parts of the event, especially if you’re watching Big Blue Madness from afar. That will change once you witness it firsthand. If you still haven’t crossed it off your bucket list, I implore you to attend next year’s Big Blue Madness. It’s one of the best decisions I ever made.