Column: Remember to stay classy during Final Four mayhem

By Amelia Orwick

Kentucky Kernel, U. Kentucky via UWIRE

The basketball gods have answered Kentuckians’ prayers.

By some stroke of fate, the Kentucky Wildcats and the Louisville Cardinals have both advanced to the Final Four and will face off in what some are calling the biggest game in NCAA Tournament history.

As if you need to be reminded.

Campus has been buzzing with excitement since UK’s win over Baylor, and rightfully so. Never before and, most likely, never again, will students have the opportunity to witness a national championship run like this.

Although the Cats have been chosen as the favorite in Saturday’s game, there’s no denying that the Cardinals are going to show up big in New Orleans.

With a rivalry as heated as ours and a national championship on the line, fierce competition is practically guaranteed.

That being said, I want to emphasize how important it is for UK students, faculty and fans in general to conduct themselves appropriately before, during and after Saturday’s game. Win or lose, there will be plenty of opportunity for rowdy behavior.

I encourage everyone to enjoy the contest, but I also hope that our fans will remember that they are representing not only UK, but the city of Lexington and the state of Kentucky.

By now everyone has heard about the couch-burning and breast-revealing that took place in Lexington following our victory on Saturday. There’s just something about tournament time that makes everyone a little bit crazy.

I can imagine that Lexington police and firefighters are preparing for madness of even greater magnitude following the Final Four game.

Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites are already exploding with comments about the match.

I’ve learned that fans will express their love for the Cats in any way they can. And obviously there is no shortage of outlets for them to do so. Unfortunately, fun is sometimes had at the expense of our university’s dignity.

When students behave drunkenly in the streets and make snide marks about U of L, they may not realize their actions reflect poorly on our school, city and state.

The media documents much of this foolery to be shared with others and I’m sure that not everyone is as impressed with our means of celebration or comments about the upcoming game as we are.

You may already be shaking your head and dubbing me “Negative Nancy,” but let me finish.

I was raised a die-hard UK fan and despise U of L as much as anyone else on this campus. On Saturday, you’ll find me making jabs at the brave U of L fans who dare to enter Lexington, yelling at the TV screen (Calipari-style) and going wild somewhere on State Street after the game.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; I’m certainly going to embrace it. However, I plan to do so respectfully. There are lines that shouldn’t be crossed, and as college students we should be mature enough to recognize them.

I urge everyone to focus on cheering the Cats to victory this weekend, rather than talking smack about Rick Pitino and Peyton Siva.

No matter the outcome, I know that my basketball team, my university and my city are superior.

People love to hate UK. I’ve always chalked it up to jealousy. Let’s give everyone one more reason to be envious: a big, humble fan base that beats any other in college basketball.

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