A response to Mark Story

As you may know, Mark Story wrote a column the other day about Brooks' recent complaints vis a vis fan behavior.  First off, I want to say that this is in no way a bash of Mark Story -- he is a good writer and I am a fan of his.  This response was written by ukfastcat, who sent it to Mark in an email, and that exchange has been reproduced below with the permission of the author.

[Name redacted],

Thanks for taking time to share your thoughts with me.

You need to read my Tuesday column. I warn you, you won’t agree with it.

Best wishes,

Mark Story


So, Mark, you are correct about one thing; I don’t agree with much of what you wrote. Are you writing it just to incite feedback and boost readership? That might make sense. Nothing else does. I know you are not paid to support the UK program. You are an independent journalist assigned to the team. Got it. You are no homey. Point taken.

But, here is just one of the important points you are missing. Every football game is an opportunity to bring in top recruits for our major sports. The game is the culmination of a lot of hard work by our staff and a weekend designed to impress upon the recruit that UK is a worthy destination for highly recruited players.

If I’m a recruit (and I was once upon a time) and see the mass exodus, you can believe I will make note of it in my evaluation form.

I will see a program that talks the talk of "We Believe" and walks the walk right out of the exits when it is time to REALLY believe in their team.

Great programs have great fan bases. As great as the roundball crowd is reputed to be ("we follow our team anywhere") they have earned their soiled reputation nationwide as a group of whiners who boo their team at the first sign that they are not headed to the Final Four.

Ours is far from a great fan base. Probably two-thirds are as true blue as you could want for BB and maybe half for Brooks’ squad.

Brooks stepped up to defend his players and to take a leadership role. He is saying, "Hey, folks, if you want to have a top tier program, you ought to consider being top tier fans and support your team come hell or high water". He is also dead on about the Bluegrass Miracle. I have thought since I heard that expression how upside-down it is. That game was the Bluegrass Debacle, nothing miraculous about it for our guys. One would hope that one of the LSU writers invented that tag. But, for UK scribes to accept and repeat it is just braindead.

And, Mark, please tell me you are kidding about the cold and the metal bleachers. Apparently you have never been to a game in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Cleveland , Green Bay or other garden spots of the tundra in the latter parts of Autumn. But, I do think you have invented a perfect moniker for the fair cheeked losers who left: Popsicle Butts. Perfect.

It is easy work to write columns about the foibles of the past and current UK football teams. I suppose many find it appropriate to criticize Mike Hartline, a sophomore QB, busting his ass to compete in the SEC. But, there is a much bigger, better story to be written about the courage of Hartline to rally his troops and then execute a real Bluegrass Miracle in his first season at the controls. Maybe only Couch before him accomplished that. The legendary Woodson, as much as I loved him, did not.

I admire you as a person whose raison d’etre is to stay to the end of the contest.

Now, there is a subject for a great column. This year has been especially rife with examples highlighted by the Boston unfaithful who departed when their homeys were down by seven.

The whole BS about beating the traffic is laughable to a Californian. Kentuckians have no idea what bad traffic is. Try getting in and out of a Dodger game during downtown rush hour. I have found that the best way to beat the traffic is to stay seated, let the scramblers all bump into one another, reflect on the game and take my time to the car. Like magic, the seas part and the stress is lowered.

The UK fans who adopted that strategy were, as you pointed out. uncommonly rewarded for their loyalty and wisdom.

How many times in a season, in a lifetime of seasons will they get to feel that heartwarming glow in Commonwealth Stadium? Hell, it was probably just the ticket for melting all those Popsicles.



I think ukfastcat pretty much says it all here, and I agree with every word.  And while Story defends those who left, he really does seem to get that Kentucky fans have a learning curve when it comes to football fandom, even though he couches it in other terms, like, "They have a real hard time putting their heart on the line again."  I get that, but like ukfastcat, that's hardly an excuse -- it's almost a whine.

So while I agree with Story that what happened Saturday is not an unpardonable sin, it is illustrative of how far ahead of our fans our football team is, and that is an encouraging thought.