I’m hardly a diehard basketball fan; nonetheless it would take a colder soul than mine to remain unmoved by the impending UK-Louisville Final Four matchup.  In particular I’ve been fascinated by a phenomenon that has come under particular scrutiny — that of the “dual fan.”  The “dual fan” idea is that every Kentuckian, regardless of his particular preference, should root in the championship for whichever team wins on Saturday.

This attitude was recently treated to some playful criticism on the Kentucky Sports Radio blog:

Let’s put this to rest once and for all: it is impossible to be a fan of both Kentucky and Louisville. I’ve met far too many people in my life who say that they root for both the Cats and the Cards. It just doesn’t work like that. There’s no way [to] support two entities so fundamentally opposite from one another. Some of the unenlightened might try to hide behind the excuse that they root for all teams from Kentucky but that’s just cowardly. Sure, we all love when Murray State and Bellarmine play well – that’s fine. It’s even ok to feel a little sorry after knocking the Hilltoppers out of the tournament, but Louisville is a totally different animal […]

My impression is that the “dual fan” mentality is most common among more rooted and/or older-generation Kentuckians, for whom basketball is a pastime whereby regional loyalties are expressed rather than a replacement for religion.  Personally I admire their sentiment.

Unfortunately the idea of Louisville being a part of Kentucky is not, so far as I can tell, much in vogue in Louisville, a decidedly avant-garde city which radiates embarrassment at being located in a state full of Bible-and-gun clutchers. 

Then again, if John Calipari is right and Louisville doesn’t exist, I guess it’s a waste of time wondering where it is.

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  1. The “is Louisville in Kentucky” question has been around since at least 1861 and I’m sure every FPR-ican can identify it as a regular theme in Mr. Berry’s literature. Nevertheless, I find it ironic that it’s the Wildcats, under the leadership of Calipari, who are transforming NCAA basketball to a sport that will look nothing like home-grown talent and commitment to a team and its community. Sure he (and they) will win championships, but at what cost?
    On a separate note, I thought I heard gun shots after the game while sitting on my front porch enjoying some BBC beer. But then I realized there are more NPR tote bags per capita than guns per capita in the Deer Park Neighborhood and therefore no reason to take cover.

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