[Moderated by Matt Jones]
Whenever a team has a successful season, those teams attract leaches known as bandwagon fans. Since Calipari came on board here at UK and brought Kentucky out of the slump we were in during the Gillespie era, Kentucky has regained it’s success and with that some bandwagon fans. With as passionate and loyal as a fan base as BBN, most Kentucky fans don’t approve of these fans celebrating our success when they didn’t stick around for those years under Billy G. While I’m almost positive I represent the minority, I embrace the bandwagoners. To have band wagon fans means that your team is one of the best, it means that your team is doing something that others want to be proud of too, it means your team is back at the top after a couple of years at the bottom. While I embrace these fans, I understand why a large portion of BBN don’t.
A large portion of UK fans have been UK fans for life. It’s been said before, but Kentucky is the Commonwealth’s team. Kentucky Basketball never stops, and the pride we have in our tradition, in our banners, in our players is something that has been with a lot of fans for life. This pride isn’t something someone understands or “gets” overnight. It’s not something a bandwagoner can fully embrace until they’ve been to a game at Rupp, until they’ve continuously followed the cats for a couple of years, until they have walked into a restaurant or bar and talked to a stranger who speaks with so much pride about Darius Miller that you would think he was his grandson. There’s a love for Kentucky basketball in every member of BBN that outsiders just don’t understand. People make arguments all the time over what fan bases and sports bring in the most passionate and loyal fans. Fans of other teams tend to disagree, but there is no fan base more passionate and loyal than the BBN.
With Calipari as our coach, and with him sticking around for the next couple years, the bandwagoners are going to continue to jump on to our success, and we need to accept this. I know it’s frustrating to accept those who weren’t there during the hard times, who failed to stick by us when we were in the NIT, but were the first to jump on board when we made a run in the NCAA tournament. Just keep in mind what these fans mean. They mean that we are finally back at the top, that we’re once again the program Kentucky is meant to be. Keep in mind that they don’t “get” it, throw them the three goggles and be happy we’re once again a team that people want to be apart of.
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