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Welcome to the Club: a new generation of Kentucky football fans

It still doesn’t feel real. From being ahead by double digits in the fourth quarter to a heartbreaking final few minutes, last night was tough. But for me, it’s all I’ve known. I am not 32 years old; I have never seen the Cats defeat the Gators. And that’s what makes this the hardest.

The classic “That’s So Kentucky Football” mantra has been long embedded in my vocabulary. I’ve heard it countless times and I’ll be honest: I’ve even said it more than I’d like to admit. But I hadn’t experienced the heartbreak that so many Kentucky football fans have felt over the course of a lifetime. Until last night.

I remember the amazing win over No. 1 LSU in 2007. I remember beating Steve Spurrier for the first time ever in 2010. And I most certainly remember where I was when Lamar Jackson fumbled and we beat Louisville.

But I remember the heartbreakers too. The demoralizing losses to Vandy or Tennessee, the embarrassing loss to Southern Miss, and the crushing defeats at the hands of the Cardinals. And now, the Florida heartbreakers.

Sure, a few years ago when the Gators got away with snapping after the clock expired, it was a tough loss because it shouldn’t have been allowed to happen. But it was nothing compared to last night.

Maybe it’s harder because I’m older and more invested, or maybe it’s because I’m a student at the University of Kentucky and felt the sadness of my peers on the eerily-quiet walk from the stadium to our homes. But maybe it’s just because I am young and optimistic. This year was our year. I’ve said it a few times, but this time I was confident, as I’m sure many of you were. We had a quarterback I trust; we had a coaching staff with experience and their own recruits; we had the new, multi-million dollar facilities; we had the motivation and the “hype.” But we also had the mistakes. Some people have endured 30 years of heartbreak, but I’ve had around 10. And last night was the worst.

I am now a part of the next generation of heartbroken Kentucky football fans. I’m in the club with those who continuously get their hopes up, just to have them chomped upon by the Gators. Some rivalries you’re born into — for instance, Kentucky vs. Louisville — but others take time to develop. While the other losses to Florida have stung, last night cemented the bitter attitude between young Kentucky fans and the blue and orange. And it won’t be fading any time soon.

But some things cannot be broken. I am still young and I am still optimistic. While dreams of going 6-0 are no longer in the realm of possibility, going 5-1 is still most certainly doable. A football program without the support of even their most loyal fans is no program I want to be a part of. So I’ll pick myself up, I’ll dust myself off, and I’ll be at Kroger Field next weekend to watch Kentucky fight for win number four. Because THAT is So Kentucky Football.


Article written by Maggie Davis

I love sports, podcasts, long walks on the beach and Twitter (@MaggieDavisKSR)

8 Comments for Welcome to the Club: a new generation of Kentucky football fans

  1. BTownUKFan
    9:27 pm September 24, 2017 Permalink

    I’ve been a UK football fan since the 70’s. I remember my son getting all excited when we were up 21-3 on FL going into the 4th quarter and then Chris Leake happened (final 24-21). I was there for the Bluegrass miracle. I still remember Chris Doering catching the TD pass as time ran out…and there have been many more. As bad as last night was…and as many of these heart-wrenching losses as I have experienced I still am and will always be a UK football fan. The kids gave it there all, the coaches made decisions that they will have to live with, after 24 hours I’m over it. The worse part is realizing we do not know when we will be in the position we were last night to finally end the streak and that is the part that is hard to live with. GO CATS !!

  2. 502CodeRed
    9:29 pm September 24, 2017 Permalink

    A new generation of Kentucky football fans? Come on, Maggie. UK football hasn’t been viable in decades. Was it the late 70’s they won an SEC title? Stoops is just maintaining the status quo. Let’s don’t pretend here. You can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig.

    • callitlikeiseeit
      9:41 pm September 24, 2017 Permalink

      give me the lipstick and pucker up 502CodeRed. I think you are more of a jackass but will go with your words.

    • runningunnin.454
      9:42 pm September 24, 2017 Permalink

      At least UK plays in a real conference that has won 8 out of last 12 football championships.
      What happens when you leave the friendly ACC?
      Houston 36-10
      UK 41-38
      LSU 29-9

    • KYcats11
      9:53 pm September 24, 2017 Permalink

      Damn running you don’t have to go that hard on him. SEC OWNS UL.

    • BTownUKFan
      9:43 pm September 24, 2017 Permalink

      In 77 my freshman year, they went 10-0-1 but were on probation so ineligible for post season. That was probably the beginning of the downhill slide. We did go to the Hall of Fame bowl in 84 and beat Wisconsin and Al Toon. We had the Mark’s brothers…Higgs and Logan and George Adams. Bill Ransdell was the QB and the Smith brothers from Springfield were on the team.

  3. Condo1122
    5:01 am September 25, 2017 Permalink

    I was 13 when I was standing on the sideline for the Bluegrass Miracle, nothing surprises me anymore

  4. Howdy Doody
    9:00 am September 25, 2017 Permalink

    1976 UK Grad 64 years old….you ought to feel my pain….