As a Kentucky fan, I must say that I hate UofL more than any other team, college or pro. ..."/> As a Kentucky fan, I must say that I hate UofL more than any other team, college or pro. ..."/>

Good Fan vs. Bad Fan: When does a rivalry go too Far?


As a Kentucky fan, I must say that I hate UofL more than any other team, college or pro. Any chance I get I enjoy making fun the Louisville teams and/or faithful. It takes my Wildcat fandom to the next level. It’s a dichotomy. On one hand I absolutely love one team, on the other hand I completely hate the other.

I have done my fair share of blogging about how much I dislike Rick Pitino, making fun of the criminal element that seems to prevail in the entire Louisville athletic department, dogging on the football team, etc… But there are certain things that I won’t do to cross lines. I actually have a great example that I ran across today.

Yesterday on this site I discussed the Edgar Sosa injury. I was completely genuine with the well wishes that I expressed for him. I surfed the web, UK sites in particular, and there was not one negative word about Sosa. The entire Big Blue Nation was wishing the young man well. These are examples of good fans. We disliked Sosa when he drained a three pointer in Michael Porter’s eye to beat Kentucky; we feel bad for Sosa when he injures himself to the point of possibly ending his career. Bygones are bygones.

Today I looked at a certain UofL fan blog site that I will refuse to name because I don’t want to give it anymore publicity that it deserves. The site had the Sosa story on it’s front page. I looked at the comments section, which had mostly well wishes towards Sosa, but also had remarks from Cardinal fans that they hated his Dominican coach, UK coach John Calipari, because he left Sosa in the game for too long. The UofL fans continued to blast coach Cal, calling him some pretty awful names, and some even insisted that the coach not only was at fault for the injury but that he also made sure the injury happened on purpose. Can we say over the top conspiracy theory?

These are examples of bad fans. They did not take into account that the team is short on guards and that Sosa was benefiting professionally from the excess playing time. They did not take into account Calipari’s heartfelt reaction to what happened, stating that it was one of the worst things that he has ever seen in public. All the fans saw was “Sosa broke his leg late in the game” and “John Calipari is the coach”. Put the two together and Presto!, “John Calipari left Sosa in the game for too long on purpose because he is the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats.” See the logic there?

This is when the rivalry gets, for the lack of a better word, completely stupid. No right minded Kentucky fan, coach or player wants to see a member of the rivalry severely hurt. Why would Calipari want one of the most productive members of his team out for 6-8 months? He wouldn’t want that, no coach would, no matter where the player played his college basketball.

There are plenty of examples of fans taking their love for a team and there hate for another team way too far. We remember Dodger fans beating a Giants fan into a sever coma that he probably will never come out of after a baseball game in a parking lot. An Alabama poisoned the legendary Oak Trees next to Auburn. I could go on and on with stories about violence and sports, but you get the picture.

Luckily the Louisville/Kentucky rivalry has not reached that point. I’m sure there have been some scuffles in the stadiums, in the parking lots and even in the private homes of the respective fan bases, but nothing severe.

The worst thing that has ever happened to me actually happened last year when some Louisville fans started talking trash for whatever reason after the Louisville/Kentucky football game at Cardinal stadium. I informed the fans that Louisville had just lost it’s fourth game in a row at the hands of the Wildcats. At that point, beer bottles started coming at me from multiple directions. I wasn’t hit, I laughed it off and went on my way in victory. I am sure that similar situations have happened in Lexington with the parties involved reversed.

So what makes a bad fan? I have set some criteria that I think constitutes a person being a bad fan.

  • You relish the loss of your rival more so than the victory of your team
  • You hope a player on the rivals team gets injured at some point
  • You never admit when your team, program or coach is at fault
  • You never admit when your rival is actually good at something
  • You have actually tried to physically harm a rival fan in the heat of an argument
  • You make up conspiracy theories about the rival team

Have I ever fallen under any of those categories? Not all the way. I root for Louisville to lose every game they play but I cheer for a Wildcat victory with greater enthusiasm. I do sometimes find myself being a UK apologist, even when I know I am wrong, and it was hard for me to admit that Louisville was good at football during the Bobby Petrino era, but I did it.

All in all I think I am a pretty good fan. I love to cheer on my Wildcats and I will always poke fun and laugh at Louisville every chance I get. Kentucky fans are some of the best in the world, and I mean that as a literal fact. We have bad fans within our ranks, just as every other fan base does, but overall we fall into the good fan category.

What say you Big Blue Nation? What do you think constitutes being a good fan versus being a bad fan?

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