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Kentucky Wildcats Football: Fan Day Fun Day 2014

The Fan Day 2014 experience, through my eyes.

Football Fan Day 2014 has once again come and gone and let me tell you this, the BBN has impressed me once again.   They turned out in numbers to support the UK football team without the lure of tailgating and without a gameday atmosphere. And they also showed up early on a dreary and cool Saturday morning. For this, I salute them.

Fan Day, to me, has always had more of a family atmosphere feel. Parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, bring their family members and their little friends out to the corner of University and Cooper to interact with the team.  They line up with footballs, jerseys, posters, as well as plain pieces of paper and they wait patiently for that blue or silver scribble that says 'thank you for your support of our team'.  Kids toss footballs to each other, believing their dream of being a star quarterback wearing a Kentucky jersey will one day come true.  Complete strangers are cordial and polite because they share a common bond.  This Fan Day was no exception to my belief.

I watched little kids with stars in their eyes amazed that they could hand an item to a Kentucky Wildcat and he would sign his name and hand it right back to them.  Trust me, there is little else that makes me as happy as the joy I see on their faces when this happens time and time again.

Oddly, I felt the family atmosphere was even more alive this year. I can reconcile to the fact that several of the coaches had children that were playing and they seemed to be enjoying the day just as much as any of the other children if you want me to but you'll have to trust me on this feeling.  I know you've heard others testify that  the BBN is just like members of their families but today really had an atmosphere that felt like attending a family gathering.  I couldn't help but dance to the music as I walked around and took pics.  It just felt like a celebration kind of day.

I watched the kids, all of them.  There was this one little boy in particular, 3 or 4 years old at the most.  I observed him as he patiently stood in line and carefully watched each member of the defensive line sign his helmet.  He just smiled at each player as they signed their names.  When he got to the end of the row of tables for the group he carefully placed this  helmet bigger than him beside a post where it was out of foot traffic and he danced a touchdown dance that would make Mike Hartline proud.

Coach Stoops' two sons would stand by him for a while, and then play with the other children for a bit and bounce back on stage beside Dad.  He patted and hugged on them just like we would imagine he does at home.  Chantel Stoops laughed and talked with a group like she had been around the BBN for her entire life.  Coach Eliot has a beautiful young daughter, she has his exact eyes, and everyone could tell she was loving being with him while he signed autographs for the fans.

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I talked with Cooper's grand dad, Mitch, and told him how sweet his grandson was, complete with the little baby football socks.  Let me tell you he is one proud grandpa.  He pushed that stroller with the pride that comes from the feeling that his offspring will live on, smiling from ear to ear. On a side note, I'm not sure why Mitch's daughter named her son Cooper but her father being such a huge UK football proponent leads me to suspect one possible reason.

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I went into Fan Day knowing for certain that I would be able to watch the practice portion and discern a leader for the QB spot.   I failed at that horribly.  Either the coaches have a great poker face or they are not sure who should start either.    I truly wish I could answer this one, I truly do. I, once again, am really glad this is not my decision. I don't know which one I would give the starting nod.

Getting up early on a Saturday and dealing with the rain, it was still a Fan Day fun day. I'll leave you with my favorite photo from the day.

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