Where I’m from, a field goal is always worth three points and is kicked between two uprights. There is none of this dribbling nonsense and the guys have to physically fight their way to gain points.
In case you can’t tell, I’m a solid football kind of girl. Being from Georgia, where it is commonly forgotten that we even have a pro team, basketball is what the little boys play in between football and baseball season to keep them fit and to get all that energy out. By the time they get to high school, they have chosen their main sport, and very few of them choose this foreign, orange ball. To give you some perspective, the Stegemen Coliseum, the University of Georgia’s basketball arena, seats 10,523 people as compared to Rupp’s 23,000 capacity. Of those 10, 523 seats, about half might be filled on an exceptionally good day.
So I graduate from high school and come up here to Kentucky. I watched my football games on Saturday (because that’s when real football is played, not the I-already-make-the-big-bucks stuff on Sunday and Monday), usually alone and with little hype. But then came basketball season. Can we talk about overwhelming culture shock? So much blue, so much die-hard following, so much trash-talk, and did I mention so much blue? Suddenly I understood why every other vehicle on the road was an obnoxiously bright, metallic blue.
Kentucky made it into the NCAA tournament that year. I knew this tournament was a big deal. At home, people made mention of it in March, but no one got that into it. I had heard about these things called brackets; in fact, I had even seen one when I was in the third grade, but I had never seen anything like that. The concept was so strange to me. People were excited about basketball? People took this seriously? People spent hours pouring over the stats in order to fill out that winning piece of paper?
And I think it’s utterly ridiculous. Grab your pitchforks people because here it is: I hate basketball. I said it. When Kentucky won the National Title last year, I was in my room watching a movie. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy for them. Just as happy as I am for anyone that wins a squash title or a cricket tournament.
I don’t understand the appeal of watching people go back and forth on this court, waving their arms at each other. I much prefer watching players fight for all their worth to stop the other team from gaining even an inch of ground.
I don’t get the thrill when they start running and bouncing that big orange ball, aiming at a net. Watching a running back make a break down the field as the quarterback guess where he will be going puts me on the edge of my seat.
I guess I feel like the build up of basketball only leaves me hanging because rarely do you see some jaw-dropping slam dunk that will blow your mind for the rest of forever. Whereas in football, particularly in the SEC (the best conference: seven in row!), you see some kind of amazing show of defense and/or offense at least every Saturday and probably in multiple games.
I don’t see that much of a mental game in basketball either. I mean you can still run down the clock, plan when to take timeouts, and obviously play to the strengths of your team, but in football, it’s different. A timeout can mean the difference between winning or losing. Plays have to be carefully chosen throughout the game to make sure that the strengths of the team are constantly being utilized.
I would also like to point out that after most conference title games and bowl games, you don’t hear about cars being set on fire or cities being suddenly unsafe to be in. Kentucky fans, you know what I’m talking about. Basically, football fans keep it classy.
All in all, I don’t think any amount of time in Lexington will ever steer me away from the greatest game ever played: football.