I'm a fairly young Uofl fan. I'm also not from Louisville so I didn't grow up with the great stories of the 80's championship team. Hell, Darrell Griffith was actually sitting on my couch one night when i was a kid and I had zero clue that it was him or who he was for that matter. But I know sports, and I know what being a great fan is.
Being a great fan has nothing to do with how early you show up to tailgate. Nor does it have anything to do with how many people show up for College Gameday. It has nothing to do with how much paraphernalia you possess or how many games you attend. It doesn't really even matter how many people show up to the game at all.
Being a great fan comes down to one word: Appreciation. Great fans appreciate the fact that we get to cheer on one of the most recognizable Universities when it comes to sports. We appreciate that we live in a great city with great sports heroes that put things in perspective for us. This helps us appreciate guys like Kyle Kuric when he gets to showcase the talents that we all knew he had, but never got to truly see. We appreciate the fact that we have, and have had, great coaches in all of our sports that can recognize talent that doesn't just jump right out at you. Deion Branch, Jason Spitz, Angel McCoughtry, Chris Cates, Boomer Whiting, Harry Douglas, Larry O'Bannon, Taquan Dean, the list goes on for what seems like forever. What's great about being a Uofl fan right now is the fact that we appreciate the fact that these guys weren't "top 50" kinds of players. They have all cemented their place in the history of this program when they could have all been afterthoughts.
It's easy to look to the final four year or the orange bowl year as the best times to be a fan. But for me being a great fan is appreciating the adverse times for your program. People were stunned when we made the College World Series a few years ago. Now we're in the top ten and will more than likely stay there. Our football fell off the map during the Kragthorpe era. But Coach Strong has already made strides in turning the program back around. When people said that we wouldn't make the tournament another one of those not "top 50" guys cemented his name in the lore of Uofl basketball.
I love being a fan right now because of the unknown. I love not knowing what's going to come at the beginning of a season. But I love not being surprised when a guy like Kuric has the game of his life. I love not having the ridiculous idea that we should win a championship every year. I always have faith that our program will never fall too far.
Games like Saturday's win over the Orange make me feel bad for people that don't get to cheer for the 'ville. I love being a Uofl fan.