By ERIC BALMER
C-A-T-S. CATS, CATS, CATS. It’s a popular chant said by millions of people around the Commonwealth of Kentucky. But, I have to admit coming from the Yankee-filled, supposedly poor-driving, Buckeye state up north, when I first came to Georgetown last semester, I had no idea how intense University of Kentucky basketball was.
According to U.S. News and World Report, the University of Cincinnati has about 21,878 undergrad students enrolled, while the University of Kentucky has around 20,099 undergrads. Although these colleges have around the same enrollment, the fan base of UK far exceeds the magnitude of UC’s. This is probably due to the fact that there is a much larger university in Ohio: The Ohio State University, which boasts about 42,916 undergrad students.
As mentioned before, in my homeland I had little concern for UK. Heck, I had two major sports franchises that played within 20 miles of my house. So needless to say, it was quite a shock when I came down to good ol’ Georgetown and realized just how dedicated the fans are.
UK is impressive to me, though, because of the practically religious following they have. They are EVERYWHERE. I can’t go anywhere without seeing UK hoodies, t-shirts, license plates or cute little dogs with UK attire on (probably unwillingly put on by their owners).
Some outsiders were even encouraged to dislike schools like UK. Misinformation that leads to misunderstanding is probably what causes confusion among UK hatred, but some people, like GC freshman Tyler Phillips, were taught from an early age to be weary of teams like Kentucky. “I grew up in a household where I was taught Lucifer gave birth to two blue children: Duke University and University of Kentucky”.
There are even Kentuckians who are baffled by the utter obsession of the Wildcats. Braden Bocard, another Georgetown freshman, likes to be different and cheer for another Kentucky team. “I cheer for Louisville just because it pisses everyone off.” Whether it’s because of his apathy, or the fact that he just wants to get attention from people, even a Bluegrass native is unfazed by the “big blue bandwagon.”
I may not understand the phenomenon that is University of Kentucky basketball, but I can sure have an appreciation for it. And even though I probably will never fully comprehend why people act the way they do, I love watching the entertainment their sports passion provides.