Teenager Overcomes Blizzards, Sissy New England Lifestyle on Journey to UK Fandom

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Editor’s Note: This post was written by the most recent addition to the Lexpatriate team.  He grew up in New England before moving to Kentucky in the middle of his formative years. So, in that sense, he is sort of the Anti-Lexpatriate.

Hello, future readers. I’m still not sure exactly what the aim of this blog is or how I will contribute to it, but I feel the best way to start the process of finding out would be to explain how I became a UK fan in as brief and entertaining a way as possible.

Growing up in New England in the ’90s, college basketball was really not on my radar. I rooted for the Boston pro teams but there wasn’t much to get passionate about at the time. The Celtics sucked, the Red Sox sucked, the Patriots sucked, and the Bruins played hockey, and sucked. While I continue to root for all these teams, save the Bruins, the first team to really grab me was the 1996 Kentucky Wildcats basketball team.

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While this was an incredibly easy bandwagon to jump on, it’s one that I’ve never jumped off. The next two years helped solidify my Kentucky fandom despite living half the country away. (I still distinctly remember how annoyed/enraged I was when right as the OT period was beginning during the ’97 championship game, our cable went out due to a blizzard. This was April 1st.) During the summer of 1998, for reasons not at all related to college basketball, my family moved to Lexington, KY of all places. It was not a move I was thrilled about, but getting to live in what I considered to be the college basketball capital of the world was definitely a silver lining.

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While I continued to root for the team, my enthusiasm did wane over the next 10 years. There were of course still moments of excitement, (UK destroying #1 Florida at home in ’03, Sparks’ three vs. Michigan State in the ’05 Elite Eight, sitting next to Shagari for a semester in our Criminology class). Despite these forays into greatness/comedy, it was not the UK basketball experience I had envisioned when we moved here. While the success of the ’90s is still only a dream, the hiring of John Calipari felt like a momentous step in the right direction. Ironically, it was the most excited I’ve been about Kentucky basketball since I lived in New Hampshire. Since that seemingly glorious day, mine and the state’s excitement and expectations have only continued to grow. Hopefully by the end of the season I’ll finally be able to experience Kentucky’s dominance with fellow Cats fans and without the threat of snow.

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