Vaught’s note: Vaughtsviews.com contributor Rene Cornette gives us a glimpse of what the documentary, “The Sixth Man: A Krazy Love Story,” about the passion of UK basketball fans involves. It’s a terrific read, one I guarantee you will enjoy. The movie is being shown at The Grand in Lancaster Thursday at 7:30 p.m. I plan to be there. Come and join me for this look at what the Big Blue fans are like.
By RENE CORNETTE
“The Sixth Man: A Krazy Love Story” is a documentary but even more than that it’s a love letter to Big Blue Nation. It’s a documentary that literally gave me chills just from watching the trailer for it. I have anticipated it’s debut for months and even with all that build up, “The Sixth Man” still exceeded my expectations. I have watched it multiple times and I fall in love with a different part every time. I notice a new quote that pulls at my heart strings. I scream when I recognize one of Kentucky’s super fans. I laugh at the craziness of our fans and I even cry when fans tell their stories. My point is this documentary is everything that sets Kentucky fans a part from all others.
It’s a documentary that we all can be proud of. A documentary that we all can relate to. It spans generations from the days of Rupp to Calipari. It touches upon our long gone heroes like Cawood Ledford and reminds you once again of what made you a Kentucky fan. I found myself pausing the DVD constantly to talk to my husband about my early childhood memories of Kentucky basketball that came pouring back to me from watching, “The Sixth Man.”
That’s Kentucky basketball. It’s family. It’s crowding around your radio as a kid listening to Cawood, Harlan County’s own, call the game. It’s huddling around your tv praying that the CATS can comeback just one more time. It’s later fighting back tears as you watch your CATS go down on a last second shot. It’s being so proud watching Kentucky win a national championship that you swear your heart could burst. “The Sixth Man” is all of that and more.
It’s our story. Our journey through time told by the people who lived it. Kyle Macy, Dan Issel, Kenny Skywalker, Joe B Hall, Ralph Hacker and our own, Larry Vaught. It also featured famous fans Laura Bell Bundy, Josh Hopkins and Kevin and Brian Richardson of the Backstreet Boys. My personal favorite famous fans from the movie were Josh Hutcherson and Steve Zahn. I loved their enthusiasm. I loved listening to their stories but most of all I loved how they showed Kentucky basketball fandom knows no income limit. I think Ralph Hacker said it best, “It didn’t make any difference whether you were rich or poor your voice was just as loud when it came to cheering for the Wildcats.” Amen, Ralph. Amen.
“The Sixth Man” goes beyond all of that though. It displays every type of fandom. From the crazies who dress up and get tatted to the fringe who burn couches and call into radio shows disparaging our coach and players. It shows fans who have turned their homes into shrines for Kentucky. It even touches upon a Kentucky and Louisville fan who came to blows at a dialysis center. If that doesn’t prove the instate rivalry is the greatest in college basketball than I don’t know what will. This movie is every single person who has been touched by the “blue dust” as Calipari calls it. It’s a life long affair without an end in sight. It gets in your blood and never leaves. It’s as a fan pointed out in the documentary, it’s being born with blue blood not red. That’s what makes Kentucky fans special. Others talk about it but we live it, every single day and, “The Sixth Man” displays it perfectly.
By the time, “The Sixth Man” movie portrays Kentucky basketball as a religion you know why. It’s our sanctity, our solace and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s getting caught up in a game for a few hours and forgetting you worries. It’s our unadulterated joy. The time when we remember what it felt like to be a kid. The time we thank God that we were born into a family of Kentucky fans. The time we bond with our families and the time we pass the love of our team down to the next generation of CATS fans. It’s what our own, Larry Vaught described perfectly, ” If you have a chance to watch the basketball game or go to dinner with your spouse, you know what that’s going to be. You’re going to watch the basketball game.”
“The Sixth Man” even ends with it’s own redemption story. I don’t want to spoil it for you, so I’ll just leave it at that. I just want to say this documentary is a must see for Big Blue Nation. We are UK and as Coach Cal said, we truly are the sixth man. You won’t regret buying this movie. You won’t regret going to watch the documentary at your local theater if you are so lucky as to have it come to your town. Most of all, you wont ever regret once getting lost in 88 minutes of the best portrayal of the greatest fan base on Earth, Big Blue Nation. A nation that I’m so proud to be a part of. A nation that is more like a family and this documentary is our homecoming. Buy it, watch it, watch it again, and then watch it just a few more times in a row. It’s that good. It’s that addictive but hey why wouldn’t it be, it’s about the greatest fans in the world who power the greatest college basketball program. Big Blue Nation is the best and this movie shows why. Go buy your copy now and remember why you fell in love with Kentucky basketball in the first place. I’m just going to watch, “The Sixth Man” one more time…..okay, maybe twice more.