What’s a Kentucky Wildcats fan to do? Your arch enemy has just cut down the nets for the third National Championship in their history and with your former, National Title winning coach at the helm. Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals really put the screws to some Kentucky Wildcats fans by simply being involved in the game last night. Scores of friendships were tested as some members of the Big Blue Nation showed out and stood firmly behind Michigan’s fight for their first National Title since 1989 and probably less than 1% actually wanted to see the Wolverines win more than they wanted to see the Cardinals lose.
But if you weren’t among those in the BBN who stood firmly behind a Michigan upset, then perhaps you turned in your BBN card for a night in order to keep the National Title trophy in the State of Kentucky. Surrendering your card must have been tough but many call it admirable, even the right decision. Prop up the State of Kentucky just a little bit higher in the world of College Basketball.
Or perhaps, like me, you went back and forth. Waffled. Wavered. Searched for a “diamond in the rough.”
You see, the vitriol of the pure rivalry dictates I support any team who plays Louisville but my mind and conscience wouldn’t allow me to overlook the diamond-ish in the rough and that is Rick Pitino. I went on record as having thrown my support for Rick Pitino to claim his second National Championship despite the fact that the trophy would be temporarily moved up I-75 for a year before coming back home to Lexington. What I had most difficulty reconciling in my attempts to support a Louisville title was the fact that this was Louisville and they were not playing a Kentucky rival so, by default, they were it. I tried multiple times to cheer them on, but my attempts were halfhearted because I don’t have the heart to cheer for them. I wanted to be bigger than the rivalry but failed rather miserably. Despite my very best efforts, little brother will always be that team. They’re the North Carolina to Duke, Grambling to Southers, Reds to Cardinals, Bengals to Steelers.
Am I ashamed of that? Hell. No. Given the chance again, will I stand firmly behind Rick Pitino getting his 3rd National Title, second at Louisville? Absolutely not. I can’t stand their program or their fan base.
And some may think that having what comes across as a split loyalty within the bluegrass amounts to win-win situation and allows for the most enjoyable of Championship Game viewing experiences.
You would be wrong.
I kept telling myself that if Louisville wins then Pitino becomes the only coach to win a National Championship with two different schools; with one being Kentucky, but that bit of higher elevation for my Kentucky Wildcats program didn’t assuage my vitriol. Perhaps nothing will, and I’m ok with that.
Any level-headed Louisville fan (good luck finding one) will admit they can’t root for Kentucky in any situation and under any circumstances either.
The rivalry born in this state is almost hereditary; it’s almost a genetic condition.
But now that the game is over, and Louisville did win, we can now turn our attention, in proper, to Big Blue Madness.
Make no mistake Big Blue Nation, just because the Louisville Cardinals won the 2013 National Championship, the Kentucky Wildcats still OWN this state and College Basketball.
On, On, U of K