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Being a Kentucky Fan Means Embracing The Highest of Highs, and Lowest of Lows With Open Arms

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When you spend most of the time at the top of the mountain, you occasionally trip or get knocked off. Being a card-carrying member of Big Blue Nation means you can run the gamut of emotion.

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I am sure I am not in the minority when I woke up Sunday morning and quickly realized that Saturday night actually happened.  A somber numbness combined with anxious pain washed over me and I was right back in the moment we all hoped would not darken our doorway until 2016.

Big Blue Nation endured a collective gut punch Saturday night that will not soon be forgotten, nor should it be.  To be a card-carrying member of BBN means you have to be ready for such heartache.  In a twisted way, it is almost a welcomed right of passage to experience your first UK heartbreak.  The list is long and I do not care to revisit the bruised hearts of our past.  What I do want to do, though, is put pen to paper on why this feeling is not such bad thing and just what it truly means.

According to Newton's third law of motion; for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  I do not think you can limit motion to a physical object... passion also creates motion.  Passion creates a very visible and palpable feeling from those who bleed blue and those caught in the wake.  The passion of BBN even follows Newton's law; it is not hard to find someone who is happier to see UK lose than seeing his or her own team win.

The vitriol generated against Kentucky is a lot of times inexplicable and over the top.  It is only when you can understand that this venom is generated in opposition to the overwhelming passion of UK fans, only then can you see that the smothering hate is an equal and opposite reaction.

The Big Blue Nation is a fan base known for taking over opposing arenas and blurring the line between home court advantage and neutral site.  Things like that have created an envious and loud group of people who will stop at nothing to revel in UK's struggles.  Knowing this is to know that the passion for this basketball team is one that transcends sport.

Steve Jobs Quote

Kentucky basketball is a community of people where there is no race, creed, or color: no religion, nationality, or political agendas.  The BBN is a flat organizational chart consisting of fans that report directly to the players and coach.  To be a part of this global group of supporters means you are all-in.  It means you reserve a piece of yourself to be subjected to the highs and lows.  It means you are fully vested in the highest of highs and the lowest of lows no matter what euphoria or feelings of desolation follow.

It was barely more than a year ago we were experiencing one of those highest of highs watching Aaron Harrison hit late game winners to help drag the 8-seed Wildcats to the National Title game.  Here we are just 363 days later and for a portion of the fan base, they are in their lowest of lows.

You are perfectly justified in thinking you may never love a team again as you have loved this one.  The bad news is that you are right, the good news that it is just for now.  What makes that despair valid is that you cannot find any other way to feel inside, and that is okay.  You may not have the strength to look at anything further than two feet in front of you... you are smothering in you own misery, and that is okay.

Sometimes Heart Brakes The Right Way

The pain and suffering that we are collectively going through will eventually make way for a memory.  We will regain our sanity and survive this temporary setback.  What will always remain though, is the memory of this team.  A team that gave us more collective joy and pride than likely any other team we have all watched.  From seeing them manhandle professional teams in the Bahamas, to embarrassing blue bloods, to grasping victory from the jaws of defeat on more than one occasion, we were all witnesses.

We will remember embarrassing UCLA 24-0, then 41-7 at the half.  We will remember putting Kansas, North Carolina, and Louisville at the kiddie table.  We will remember the games everyone held their breath hoping we would lose, even though we all knew they would find a way to win... and did.  We will remember holding teams to under 20 points in a half on a regular basis.  We will remember running roughshod through the conference and putting Arkansas in their place on two occasions.

We will remember West Virginia learning the hard way that you do not tug on superman's cape.  We will remember making our last 9 shots to beat Notre Dame in a game where they did everything they should have done to win... except actually win.

We will remember Tyler Ulis taking an elbow and not skipping a beat on defense.  We will remember Devin Booker reloading.  We will remember Willie Cauley-Stein dunking on everyone.  We will remember Andrew Harrison coming in as a sure-fire NBA lottery pick, dropping to potentially undrafted, and now playing himself into an infinitely more mature and is actually a better player than when he was considered a sure-fire lottery pick.

We will also remember Marcus Lee playing air guitar on the sidelines.  We will remember Karl-Anthony Towns coming to Kentucky a wad of cookie dough, but will leave carved out of wood with his sidekick Karlito on his shoulder.  We will remember the twitter search for Trey Lyles who had seemingly disappeared.  Most of all, we will remember this was a group of guys who laid it all on the line.  They were all-in for the Big Blue Nation and all-in for the commonwealth, not their future personal wealth.

We are unlikely to ever see a collective group of players that share these traits and truly cared about each other more than this group.

To watch them operate for 39 games was a thing of joy, the amount of pain involved with the loss is a fraction of that joy.  I know it may not seem that way right now, but time heals all.  Once the wound heals, the passion and fervor will quickly return.  Much like a muscle being worked out at the gym, the heart will repair from being broken down and will come back a little stronger.  Big Blue Nation will be just as "crazy" as ever and soon enough, we will be hitching our fragile, yet tested psyches on their backs.

There are worse ways to go through this life than to be deeply passionate about the product that John Calipari and the University of Kentucky put out... you could pathetically care more about another team losing, than about your team winning.

Tragedy Of Perish