Let me preface this rant by saying we have some great, loyal fans that have stuck with us through thick and thin as well as some very supportive media. Also, let me proceed with the admission that I, having been a member of the football team from 2001-2005, am going to be a touch biased. However, having been on the inside looking out and now the outside looking in, I feel that I can offer a somewhat unique insight into some situations that others may not.
The issue that I speak of is the seemingly constant barrage of negativity that seems to come from some entities in the media as well as many fans, in particular, booing.
As a player, I recall how excited, inspired and encouraged my teammates and I would be when in an opponent's stadium, the fans were quiet or even better, turning on and booing their own. This act nullifies the concept of home field advantage. I understand fans get frustrated and want success, but nobody wants success more than the coaches and kids on the field. It is sickening to listen to some fans talk of all they have had to put up with and the punishment that has come with being a UK football fan as if being a UK fan is like incurring a painful, chronic illness or dealing with cruel and unusual punishment.
If they want to know what is tough, try dedicating 12 months of the year to football and coming up short or even being successful and not appreciated. That is what some of the young men at UK have had to deal with in the last few years. Again, why boo and hiss at college kids that have dedicated the last year of their lives to training and working to put a good product on the field for themselves, each other, and for the fans? Now is the appropriate time for legions of offended fans to respond with, "We are not booing the kids, we are booing the coaches and administration." That is like me telling you not to take offense when I insult your mother.
At the University of Kentucky, we are a one big family, and a tightly knit one at that. The heads of this family are the coaches and administration, and when you boo them, you boo us, period. Down of the field, a boo is a boo and nobody can tell at whom it is aimed, so it hits everyone.
The bottom line is that I hope that the critics and cynics would get on board with the rest of the fans, players, coaches and administration and all work together for the common goal, supporting our student-athletes in their endeavor of having a successful football program. That means on game day, putting differences in opinion of who the quarterback, coach, athletics director or president should be and cheering on our Wildcats to a victory!
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Taylor Begley is a former all-state kicker at Boyle County High School and academic All-American at the University of Kentucky who holds numerous UK school records for his kicking.