Hub and I were blessed to receive tickets from one of our best friends to see my favorite basketball team play yesterday. We piled in his truck and traveled to the loveliest little village on the plains. After having a late lunch at Taco Mama, which was delicious by the way, we made our way to Auburn Arena.
I love everything about the picturesque town. It's clean, quaint, friendly, and I've seen many incredible sporting events within its boundaries. Hub's youngest is a student there, so he was pulling for the tigers. I've worn orange and blue most of my life during the fall and attended some of the best tailgating in the country on the campus, but on this day, I was wearing a different shade of blue.
My story begins in 1st grade on the playground when I was asked who I cheered for in football. My family had moved from Kentucky to Alabama a couple of years before, and in this state, you simply must pick a side. I was raised by a Kentucky Wildcat loving Daddy who taught me the game of basketball from birth. I'd had no football allegiance because he didn't even watch the sport. All I'd known was Kentucky basketball, and the peer pressure to declare a favorite football team was very stressful for a six year old girl. I asked for his advice to which he replied, "I don't care who you cheer for in football as long as you're a Kentucky basketball fan." Thanks a lot for the help, Dad. The next day when pressured yet again for my choice, I asked, "Who wears blue?" That sealed the deal of loving the Auburn Tigers during football season. Problem solved.
But this was basketball. I wasn't intimidated to don my UK gear on the plains. The folks are really nice, I knew I'd see some of the Big Blue Nation in attendance, and I'm not a mean fan. (My momma raised me better) Hub and I exchanged pleasantries with the locals next to us, I took photos of my beloved cats warming up with pilate-type stretching that seemed to go on for hours, and we danced to the pep band and the music blaring from the speakers. It was going to be a great day watching two great teams play ball. The shoes were squeaking and I was getting to see the Cats live! I was one happy girl. And then it started.
Now, I'm not one to get overly angered by a game. We have good days and bad days. Every boy on the court makes mistakes. Referees sometimes miss calls and the fans get frustrated. We have games like yesterday when our board play looks like elementary kids at the YMCA. That's basketball. My patience was thoroughly tested in a different way.
The sweet lady behind me was a football fan in a basketball world. She made that crystal clear by her constant screaming for the entirety of the game. I'm not referring to cheering for her team, I actually love an enthusiastic fan. This was misguided instructional hollering. I was ok with her not knowing a block from a charge. I was ok that she thought pivoting was traveling every single time we had the ball. I was not ok that she called our players thugs and punks for playing defense. She let it be known that our players should allow hers to have the chance to get to the rim and take a shot without contact. That's defense. She thought we should get fouled for trying to steal the ball while it was being dribbled down the court. Again, defense. She thought each time players feet got tangled up, we were trying to hurt her team and should get kicked out of the game. That's just basketball, and we needed no help getting kicked out..our players were getting into foul trouble on their own.
After 39:55 minutes of holding my tongue, I let hub know that I was slipping out 5 seconds before the buzzer. He shot me a confused look because I'm not one to leave a Cat game early, win or lose. He'd been on the other side of a concrete column and hadn't heard the commentary I'd been blessed to endure. Upon meeting at the truck, I filled him in. He was relieved that I was the one to be the recipient of that gift. He was also relieved that I'd refrained from educating the precious lady on the rules of basketball, and made the mature choice to walk away. We shook our heads and had a good laugh, bless her heart.
All in all, it was a fantastic day, thanks to Joey. He gave me the best gift this Kentucky fan could receive: an opportunity to see my team play in person. However, next time I may take a simple basketball questionnaire for the fans around me to to fill out. It will help me decide where to stand. Unless we're at Rupp, because those fans teach me something about the game every time I get to enter that hallowed place. See you up there on the 29th Auburn. Ya'll got us this time. Great game!