In the Bible, the Book of James teaches us that, “A double-minded man is unstable in all that he does.” I don’t know about you, but I definitely feel double-minded and unstable throughout the course of a Kentucky football season. Last Wednesday, Drew had a great post about the two most extreme types of UK football fans, the optimist and the pessimist. But what do you do if you feel like a bipolar combination of these complete opposites— a Jekyll and Hyde of sorts who is simultaneously high on positivity about what might go right AND drowning in the negativity of what you fear will probably go wrong? That is me during a football season, and often during a single football game. I don’t just watch the games; I live and die by them on a weekly basis. Nothing could ever bring me down from Stevie getting loose, and nothing could make my life bearable after the Bluegrass Miracle loss against LSU. I take it all personal, good or bad. I both love and hate my team, sometimes experiencing it all in the same moment.
I am admittedly a homer, at most times leaning toward optimism. I am David Banner. I mean, I once famously predicted that Joker and Morgan Newton would win “at least 8, maybe 10 if no one gets hurt.” So yeah, I am typically that guy — ridiculously, blindly optimistic. This is how I’m feeling today. Like Matt said on a show last week, August is when UK football fans shine; everybody is a dreamer in August. But then there is also the other side to my fandom. I am also the Hulk. During/after a loss, I experience most every negative emotion I can think of. I violently protest ever poor play call, and angrily yell at whoever/whatever is around (even my wife, sorry about that babe). Worst of all, I let a game — a game that I have no legitimate stake in, mind you – make me legitimately sad. I generally feel like giving up on life for a couple of days after a loss, particularly if it is of the “should have been a win” variety. I am a wreck when it comes to Kentucky football. And I know I’m not alone in my insanity.
What causes this instability inside of me, and other diehard Cats fans like me? I believe that we simply care too much. In the constant battle we experience between our heads and our hearts, our hearts always have the trump card. Our heads pump the brakes, pleading for rationale; our hearts push the accelerator through the floor board, daring us to dream big. Our minds warn us of likely heartache, while our spirits refuse to give up. Our heads warn us to stay as guarded as possible, but then game day rolls around and we are buzzing on Big Blue hope again, daring to believe Big Blue is about to pull off the impossible. It is this tension between what the Cats have always been and what we desperately want them to be that stretches the limits of our sanity. The heart wants what it wants, no matter how dangerous that has proven to be. And in the end the heart always wins.
So here we are, 19 days away from kickoff 2016 against Southern Miss. This season will likely be no different than those before it. The record may change, but the story will probably be the same. As loyal subjects of Big Blue Nation, this season will offer us both soaring moments of victory and crushing blows of defeat. There will be euphoric Saturdays when the Cats are clicking and all is right in the world, and then other Saturdays when we’ll leave Commonwealth swearing we’ll never return. But we will. And that’s probably my favorite thing about UK football fans —we always show back up (Joker’s last home game being the exception). We rally; that’s just what we do. I will both love and loathe the team at some point this season, but I will never abandon them. The pessimist, the optimist, and everyone in between is bound by this same incredible resiliency. It’s why the optimist refuses to give up, and it is why the pessimist keeps showing up. That’s what makes this fan base special. Even when we lose faith, we never lose hope. So 8-4 this year, who’s with me!