When you attend multiple Kentucky games in a short amount of time, you can start to overlook just how special of a place Rupp Arena is. I’ve been lucky enough to be in that positon over the last seven-eight years yet this weekend I was reminded how lucky Kentucky fans are to call Rupp Arena home.
Note, yes this will be a personal story about taking guests to see Rupp Arena for the first time and their first experience with Kentucky fans. I attended the NJIT game with three high school basketball coaches from New Jersey who coached a starter for the Highlanders. We spent the day at Pazzo’s and walking around Kentucky’s campus as they asked me numerous questions about what to expect when it came to Rupp Arena.
My answer was simple. “It’s not what you’ll expect and it’s big.” Simple? Sure. Vague? Absolutely. But, that’s how it is for me. Rupp Arena doesn’t look like an arena from the outside with it being attached to the Convention Center.
Once we stepped foot inside, I watched three grown men eagerly take out their phones and start taking pictures as we sat in Section 37. It was like watching Drew Franklin at a Taylor Swift concert with the giddiness they had watching warmups and constantly wanting to walk around and just take in the environment.
Once the game ended and we waited to talk to the NJIT player and coaching staff I was asked why there were still roughly 1,000 people sitting in the lower level. It was simple. “Radio show and to listen to Calipari and whatever player comes out.” They couldn’t believe it. Then when the NJIT players left the floor to a round of applause by those same 1,000 UK fans, the NJIT parents and coaching staff froze unable to process what they were witnessing.
So, next time you head to Rupp Arena, take a second to embrace it. Sure, we don’t have a fancy big scoreboard (yet) or the bells and whistles. But, do we need it? According to guests, Rupp Arena is perfect.