Diving into a sea of blue while wearing a red sweatshirt might seem silly (especially in November!), but that is exactly what I and hundreds of Transylvania fans did at Rupp Arena for the UK vs. Transy game on November 5.
Before game night, Transylvania hosted a dinner for both teams on our campus, and once again: I was lucky enough to be in attendance! My roommate is a cheerleader, so she knew she was going from the beginning. I, on the other hand, was more-than-pleasantly surprised that a girl from my class messaged me two hours before the event, asking me if I would like to fill in for a friend of hers who couldn’t make it. OMG YES was my exact response.
So, we went to the dinner, saw the UK players up close, ate some great food, and heard Coach Cal auction off priceless (for a Lexington basketball fan) memorabilia for Transy’s athletic program. Unfortunately, I did not get any pictures with the coach or the players, but just being there was such a privilege for me.
Monday night was game night. Rupp Arena is only a ten minute walk from campus (so no students needed to pay outrageous amounts for parking!), and the excitement filled the cold city air. As we rode the escalator up to the arena, I turned to look down at all the people. Spotting the Transy fans was easy not only because of their Crimson attire, but also because I recognized so many of their faces. They were folks who were in my small classes, who stood in front of me in the ice cream line in the cafeteria, who work in the library when I’m there studying. These friends, classmates, and Transylvanians came together to cheer on a team and a tradition.
Although we lost the game, Transy gave the UK stars a run for their money in the first half. We came within one point of tying UK with the highlight of the game: a dunk by senior Brandon Rash over Kentucky’s seven feet tall freshman Willie Cauley-Stein. Transy was again within two points, 20-18, when Ethan Spurlin scored. I had not realized until that night that he was also in my volleyball class, and we, as partners, won the two-on-two tournament in that class the week before. Talk about a multi-talented kid.
This game really solidified my perception of Transylvania as more than just a community of learners. We are a community of competitors, a community of athletes, a community of diversity, and a community of supporters.
And that is why the Crimson stood out in a sea of blue.