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By Mary Chellis Austin
Saturday’s game isn’t the only rivalry this weekend. Some of the more bitter conflicts are between families who have students and legacies at both UK and Louisville.
“They’ve been taking shots at each other on Facebook all week, making fun and joking on UK or U of L fans,” said Keith Sanders of his son, Scott, who is a senior at UK, and his daughter, Kathleen, who graduated from Louisville in 2007.
Sometimes the siblings watch games together, but things can get ugly, Sanders said.
“We almost have to sit between them and have to keep the bantering down,” he said.
He recalled a game from a couple years ago where the rivalry escalated.
“U of L was making a huge comeback,” he said. “My daughter grabbed a box of Kleenex, tossed it to my son and said, ‘Here, you’re going to need these soon!’”
Louisville came back and won, he said, and his son left the room and they didn’t see him the rest of the night.
“We’ve always rooted for UK,” he said, “but we root for U of L when they’re not playing Kentucky and vice versa.”
Kathleen Sanders received scholarships to go to Louisville, he said, so he felt financially obligated to cheer for that team. But with his son at UK, he finally had a reason to support the Cats.
“All my money’s going to UK now for Scott’s tuition,” he said. “We have to stay neutral to keep the peace, but I secretly think UK will win.”
Unlike Kathleen Sanders, some Louisville students were raised die-hard UK fans and risk supporting the Cats on the Cards’ territory.
Brandon Collins, a Louisville student, has a twin brother, Bryce Collins, who attends UK.
“Everyone in my family loves UK and most of them attended UK for their undergrad,” he said.
He said the criticism he receives from Cards fans as he walks around campus wearing blue is worth it.
“I even had one person scream at me as they were driving by from their car window,” he said.
He’s not the only Cats fan in “The ‘Ville.”
“I pass at least two other blue shirts when I go to class. You would be surprised at the number of students here that are UK fans,” he said.
Even though he follows tradition and roots for UK, he takes jabs for attending Louisville.
“My uncle loves to call me ‘traitor’ and my friends and brother back home call me a closet Louisville fan all the time,” he said.
He does, however, try to show support for other sports, such as soccer.
“For the education path I have taken, I had to look past the sports aspect of the university,” Brandon Collins said.
He said his parents are supportive and cheer for Louisville if they are not playing UK.
“My dad likes to see all the Kentucky schools do well,” he said.
Collins’ support extends to his prediction for Saturday’s game.
“If UK plays their best ball, there isn’t any way U of L can match up,” he said. “Louisville is streaking. The Cats have to stay mentally strong.”