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Becoming a University of Kentucky fan happened by chance for Amanda Davis.
Davis, who moved to Grant County from the West Coast, found out how fanatical UK fans were when March Madness came in 1998 and her fifth grade class took time to watch games.
“I was 11 years old and I’m sitting in my class, when all of the sudden the teacher says, ‘Go ahead and do your homework. We’re going to turn on the basketball game,’” Davis said. “It was so new to me, but UK was in the NCAA tourney. I didn’t know about all the hype. I was watching games at home on my TV and it was amazing. I had never experienced it before.”
Despite only being 11, she made a life decision about what she wanted to do when it came to choosing a college.
“There were so many devoted fans and the commitment that everyone had to UK amazed me,” Davis said. “I realized that I wanted to go to UK when I was watching the 1998 championship game. That started my love for sports.”
“When we first moved here and saw UK win, we got caught up in March Madness,” Diana Tonan, Davis’ mother, said. “She said she was going to go there someday. She became obsessed with UK. She lives and breathes it.”
Davis’ passion for the Wildcats isn’t limited to the basketball team, as she stood out in the cold supporting the football team and loved watching any and all UK athletics.
“I stood in the cold, rain, snow and sleet to watch my Wildcats play football,” Davis said. “I stood in the cold a couple hours before a basketball game to get good seats in the Eruption zone (student section).”
Davis cherished the opportunity to go to games in Rupp Arena.
“It was amazing to see all of the people there and all of the blue,” Davis said. “Getting into the Eruption zone was amazing. Just being there and doing the chants were my favorite part of going to the games.”
Davis, who worked at Commons Market, got to meet Derrick Jasper and Perry Stevenson when they came in to get a drink.
“Some people are star struck,” Davis said. “To me, they are just another student. One time, my friend saw Jasper getting a drink in the campus center. I asked him why he hadn’t been in the Commons lately. He said he had been busy. Then my friend said, ‘I screamed when you came out of the elevator the other day.’ She wanted to know how I could talk to him like he was a normal person and I told her that he is just a normal person.”
Her favorite player is Chuck Hayes, who she got to meet when Hayes, Josh Carrier and several other players came to GCHS to play the Braves’ alumni.
“He was an awesome player,” Davis said. “A lot of loyal UK fans want his name raised to the rafters.”
Davis’ most prized possessions would be the diploma she received in 2009 and a shirt signed by John Calipari, which she won when she was chosen from a list of Calipari’s Twitter followers.
“I’m an alumni and it’s gotten to the point where I just love UK sports,” Davis said.