By COURTNEYÂ DEUSER
I see red on a daily basis and I live in a town where the college team likes to name their venues after fast food joints. Tom Jurich, the biggest investor of turtle necks known to man, is considered the best Athletic Director in the universe around these parts and the Big East is the one and only elite basketball conference in the history of of the sport. I live in Louisville and Iâ€™m a Kentucky fan â€¦. this is my life.
Itâ€™s not easy growing up blue in a red town. Both sides are extremely passionate about their school/team and bragging rights are what it is all about. As the annual football and basketball games approach each year, disagreements break out in classrooms, offices, and sports bars. On game day friends become enemies, so much so it becomes impossible at times to watch the game in the presence of these obnoxious fans.
Let me give you a little example of a story I witnessed first-hand. When I was in high school I knew a girl and a guy who were both big sports fans. The girl was raised right and cheered for the Wildcats while the guy had the misfortune of being a Cardinal fan. One day in biology, a few minutes before the bell rang to signal it was time for class to start, a verbal disagreement broke out between this girl and this guy. They were discussing the red and blue basketball teams and each stating their case as to why each team should win. The girl was sitting in her desk with about three books sitting on the desktop, the guy was standing in front of her and leaning down in her faceâ€¦obviously bothering the girl as he continued to obnoxiously plea his case for the Cards. The guy then said, â€œKentucky sucks!â€ The girl then reacted by slapping him straight across the faceâ€¦so hard it briefly left a hand print on his face.
As he stood there fuming, his face red and imprinted, he reacted by swinging his hand across the girlâ€™s desk and throwing her books across the room. All of this simply over the UK/UL rivalry. In Louisville it can get very heated, and many fans across the state may not even consider slick Rick and his Cardinals the biggest rival of the Wildcats. I can tell you, if you live in or around Louisville, there is no doubt who the biggest rival is, and those fans live this rivalry day in and day out, all year long.
If someone asked you the opposite color of blue you would probably say red. Not only are the colors conflicting but the fan bases are completely different. One fan base tries to be something they aren’t and the other fan base believes they rule the kingdom. Another thing, have you ever seen an actual cardinal bird with teeth (creepy)? Louisville fans arrive to the game late and leave the game early and wonder why they are called fair weather. All of these factors are part of what makes this rivalry one of the best, if not the best, in the country.
Fans of both teams watch each otherâ€™s games cheering for whomever their opponent might be. In the same instance, if their opponent pulls the upset, that rival fan celebrates as if their team won the game themselves. To this day UofL sports talk radio shows talk about the Patrick Sparks shuffle from 2004 while Wildcat fans claim everyone walks if you put them in slow motion. Kentucky fans look back on the 1983 dream game and shutter when they remember how it ended. This rivalry is one that is competitive, intense, and at times â€¦.. low down and dirty.
When that ball is tipped on Saturday, both fanbases will be holding their breath. Will 2012 be their year to brag and boast â€¦ or will they have to wait 364 more days to get back their in-state pride?