Column: BBN — A culture of die-hard fandom | Sports

Fans cheer during the UK vs. Iowa Vrbo Citrus Bowl football game on Saturday, January 1, 2022 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. The UK won 20-17. Photo by Corrie McCroskey | Staff

Sport brings out the best and the worst in people.

Often diehard fans encounter both ends of the spectrum. A sports fanatic will happily tell you why his team is the best for hours and hours, as emotion erupts at every stat given as a reason to support his claim.

This same fan will hurl obscenities on his television after this same team failed to win the game a few hours later.

Although he doesn’t personally know anyone on the team, this fan knows each player’s height, weight, number and hometown by heart, all because those players are wearing the same jersey on the pitch as the fan. door on the sofa.

The excitement of rooting for a team or player goes far beyond having an interest in the sport. The rush that accompanies the thrill and agony of victory and defeat is both stirring and exhilarating.

There is a hint of theatism that accompanies athletes competing, inside a stadium, to the amusement of thousands of spectators at the venue and millions more watching at home.

Groups of fans cheer and laugh at every play, living vicariously through the players on the pitch or on the pitch.

No fan group fits this bill better than Big Blue Nation.

It would be hard to walk through Lexington for more than five minutes without seeing Kentucky basketball merchandise or advertising taped to a billboard, car or piece of clothing.

Sports teams tend to gobble up the identity of their surrounding region, and Kentucky basketball is just as synonymous with Bluegrass as horses and bourbon.

Many Kentuckians are quick to give their latest version of what Britain’s basketball head coach John Calipari is doing wrong, who needs more playing time and why Louisville and Tennessee don’t stand a chance. this season. BBN is a loud, proud, often controversial ensemble that makes its voice heard.

Caleb Hill, a mechanical engineering graduate at the University of Kentucky and a self-proclaimed Kentucky athletic fan, is one of hundreds of thousands of Big Blue Nation members.

Born in Lexington, Hill’s roots as a British fan stem from his family, a common theme among fans around the world.

“I just grew up watching games, going to Kentucky football games and it kind of evolved from when I was going, to actually caring once I’m got old enough to kind of know what was going on,” Hill said.

The atmosphere of a major sporting event is unique. Fans have the opportunity to immerse themselves in an experience, escaping real-world issues for an hour or two. He is accepted and expected to roar, boo and almost anything in between.

“It’s a community that all cheers on a team, and then you can support the players and support them,” Hill said. “It’s just fun to have the Big Blue Nation and everyone cheering for them. It’s good to be a part of it.

Hill, like many, often finds himself energized and engrossed in the Kentucky games.

“It depends on the game, but if I’m not there I usually start standing. If it’s a big game, I won’t sit down, I’ll just stay in my room. Sometimes I pace, especially towards the end of games,” he said.

Win or lose, the feelings that emerge from the players are often reflected by their biggest fans. Whether these feelings are filled with warmth or disdain, they all come from a place of passion and love.

While it seems a lot less stressful to be a fan of the winningest program in college hoops, that wouldn’t stop Hill from going to great lengths to ensure his Wildcats reign supreme once again at the end of the season. March Madness.

When asked what he would do for a British Championship this season, Hill reflected:

“I don’t think I would lose any major limbs…but maybe like a little toe, or my ring finger, something like that,” he said.

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