[Moderated by Matt Jones]
There are many great things about Kentucky basketball and one of the most iconic is the legendary venue, Rupp Arena. Rupp wouldn’t be what it is today without the great fans that show up and like a snowflake or the 3rd straight Louisville loss after being ranked #1, no two are exactly alike. With that, I present to you the many different fans you will find next time you visit Rupp.
K-Fund Members- If Rupp Arena were Occupy Wall Street (that’s still a thing, isn’t it?) then these fans would be the 1% that the rest of us would secretly be jealous of due to their good fortunes. K-Fund is the fundraising arm of UK Athletics and they raise money based on general donations and donations given as part of season ticket purchases. As part of those donations, K-Fund members get access that other fans don’t receive, including their own entrance to Rupp Arena and some of the best seats in the house. Some of these fans are, um, not as spry as they once were (more on that later) and they have what I like to call the Kanye West syndrome—“Heard Yeezy was racist? Well, I guess that’s on one basis; I only like green faces.” We all love the K-Fund fans, though, because they bleed blue just like the rest of us.
Hardcore eRUPPtion Zone Fans- These fans are the real deal. The first couple rows of the UK student section are some of the best and most passionate fans you will ever see come through the turnstiles of Rupp Arena. They are the fans that camp out before games to get the prime time seats and lead the cheers during every game. They also welcome any and all UK recruits that visit Rupp to take in a game as well, greeting them with signs and chants to make them feel welcome. From Bearded Guy to the Blue Spidermans (Spidermen?) to Referee Guy, the hardcore fan base starts with those who haven’t missed a game since they enrolled at UK.
Elderly fans- As mentioned earlier, the older fans comprise a pretty large portion of the Rupp Arena population. Now, I was raised to respect my elders, and I do, but everyone knows that these fans tend to not get as excited as the rest of us during the game. There are times when Rupp Arena can be the quietest arena in college basketball and it happens just as easy as when the place gets excited and the walls shake from the decibel level. I love the fact that our rich tradition and storied program allow for the fans to follow UK their entire lives and as you get older and transition into your twilight years just follow one rule: If you look around and can’t find the fan who is asleep wearing the Cotton Nash jersey, wake up and cheer because it is you.
First-Timers- I remember the first time I walked into Rupp Arena and was amazed at the magnitude of the entire place. Everyone has his or her first experience with Rupp and it is something you shouldn’t forget anytime soon. If you see someone with wide eyes wondering around the concourse aimlessly, extend a hand and welcome them to Rupp. Introduce them to the heaven that is a Rupp Arena ice cream cone and warn them about the fireworks during introductions. Actually, let those be a surprise.
Fashionistas- Probably the flashiest fans out there, these Kentucky gals aren’t there for a silly basketball game. No, they see Rupp Arena as their own personal runway. Arriving late is their style and leaving before the final horn has become their MO. Sure, they occasionally will look up from their phones to ask where Rondo and Patterson are, but don’t be too mad at them. They’re not interested in the game and they certainly don’t know the score; they’re just happy the new Steve Maddens they wore don’t clash with their Michael Kors handbag around all those people wearing blue. Like the lady who wore orange. What was that about?
Media- There are only two kinds of media; KSR and then the rest. If you’re not KSR, GTFO.
As you see, there are many types of fans that show up 24,000 strong each and every game. Don’t be mad if you read this and indentified with one (or more) of the types above. Each and every person who walks into Rupp Arena to cheer on the Wildcats are appreciated and respected for their commitment to the team. Can you think of any other types I may have missed? Leave them in the comments.
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