I am waiting for the Kentucky game later this afternoon. Kentucky will play Michigan in the Midwest Regional Final for the right to move on the Final Four next weekend. I am a HUGE UK fan, and this has been a trying year for us all. The team seemed to falter through the regular season, the players never gelled together and became a unit. They remained a bunch of individuals and the results were not that great. UK fans are the most passionate in college basketball, and that also makes them the most impatient and the most critical. The message boards were aflame with all sorts of solutions to the problems. Sadly, they were also full of unjustified criticism of 18 and 19 year old players who had never been in an environment like this in their lives.
The most difficult thing for UK fans to do is to sit back and enjoy the game itself. Every foul that is called, or isn't called, sparks a storm of protest and the inevitable accusations that the officials are against us. This is the most problematic aspect of being a UK fan, in my opinion. Too many people spend too much time criticizing the officials, or insulting the other team and coach, to just enjoy what they are seeing.
The game on Friday night against Louisville was a great example of this. When Louisville jumped out to an early 18-5 lead, there were plenty of UK fans ready to throw in the towel and just be done with things. The fact that the game itself was nowhere near over didn't seem to concern them. As UK mounted a comeback the same fair-weather fans reappeared as if nothing had happened. I personally dislike these people because they are extremely shallow. I myself made some comments about needing to get focused and hoping that the team was not going to fold under the pressure, but I never lost faith in them giving their best effort.
Sadly, the bad fans make things difficult on people like myself who want to enjoy the game and truly pull for UK to do well. I recently had to delete an entire Twitter list of followers and those who followed me because their negativity was taking the fun out of things. I felt much better after that, because I knew that they would never really understand what I was saying, they were too caught up in their own echo chamber of purity. Anyone who disagreed with them over the slightest issue was automatically attacked, usually on a personal level.
UK plays in just over 3 hours. I will be watching and pulling for UK to win. Regardless of the outcome, this team has provided some great moments to remember. At this point in the tournament there are no easy games. Michigan is a great team and I hope that it is an outstanding game. I will be a UK fan no matter the outcome! GO BIG BLUE! KICK ASS CATS! WIN IT FOR WILLIE!