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Andy Sullivan: Against the Grain

Ready or not(and I’m always ready), here it comes! The “it” of which I speak is Big Blue Madness! It’s the Kentucky Wildcats’ first official practice of the new basketball season.  There are so many traditions I recall about BBM and some I do not.  

As written in , “Because “tent city” is located outside the basketball team’s dorm, the players can see just how much they are loved”.  I can only imagine the conversations coaches and others in charge have with freshmen players pertaining to what they should expect from this once in a lifetime experience.  

I wondered when the tradition began so I read further.  Turns out, the Madness began in 1982.  Back then it was called Midnight Madness.  Joe B Hall was the head coach.  Midnight Madness itself began in 1971.  Maryland coach Lefty Driesell began the tradition at 12:03 am October 15, 1971 by inviting the public to a 1.5 mile team run.  The early practice session was attended by 3,000 fans at the track surrounding Byrd Stadium at the University of Maryland campus.  The Madness has come a long way in 47 years!

These days, Midnight Madness is a lot more than a simple scrimmage.  There’s dancing coaches.  I always anticipate what women’s coach Matthew Mitchell will do.  In past years, he’s dressed up as Michael Jackson, Prince and James Brown.  Coach Cal doesn’t have the flair for theatric like Coach Mitchell.  I enjoy seeing every bit of it.

I love watching on TV! That said, there’s nothing quite like being there live.  When my sister was in college at UK, she entered the raffle and was able to get tickets.  She took me and it was awesome! Needless to say I was dragging the next day.  Other years, I would stay up and watch most of it but my eyes got really heavy.  Of course I taped it(those were VCR days, kids).  If you wonder what a VCR is, go ask your parents.

These days, Big Blue Madness is at a much more reasonable time of 6pm.  It’s on the SEC Network this Friday night.  Will you be watching? I know I will! 


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