Last weekend the Appalachian News Express ran a big story in their Weekend Edition (July 13-14) on The Rivalry: Red V. Blue.
The RVB story occupied the top half of the sports page, taking up the entire above-the-fold area! A big thank you goes to the Sports Editor, Randy White. Read all about it below.
Red V. Blue: Documentary explores the rivalry
by Randy White
The battle lines are clearly drawn when it comes to Kentucky vs. Louisville basketball. If you’re a Kentuckian, you either bleed Red or your bleed Blue.
How did it start? Where do loyalties lie within communities and homes during the game in the Bluegrass?
An upcoming documentary titled The Rivalry: Red V. Blue will look at every aspect of the Commonwealth feud.
Film director Rory Delaney is from Louisville and his friendship with Paintsville native and Kentucky fan Wade Smith kind of helped fuel the idea of the documentary.
“I’m from Louisville and am a Cardinal fan and Wade (Smith) is from Paintsville and a Wildcat fan,” Delaney siad. “We kind of started texting and interacting and smack talking each other. He sent some hilarious texts after Cal picked up his fourth straight win over Louisville. That’s kind of how the idea got started. Then we started asking around and did some research and we found that there hadn’t been anything on the rivalry.”
The rivalry is at its peak right now with both Kentucky and Louisville winning a national championship in back-to-back seasons.
“It’s kind of the perfect time to do this film about this great rivalry,” Delaney said. “With the success that Kentucky has had under Cal and winning a national championship in 2012 and Louisville winning it this year, the rivalry may be at its all-time high.”
“It got really interesting when the Cats and Cards met in the Final Four in 2012. Of course, UK won and went onto win the national championship. But with Louisville following that up with a national championship this year it’s kind of unprecedented that one state could win back-to-back championships and be on such different sides and point of views of each other.”
The documentary has footage from both Final Fours in New Orleans and Atlanta.
“We filmed both title runs in New Orleans for the Cats and in Atlanta for the Cards this year,” Delaney said. “New Orleans was special because the two of them met in the Final Four. It was one of those great games and seeing the fans celebrate in Bourbon Street at two in the morning was awesome. And then this year we were excited to get to shoot in Atlanta and it didn’t disappoint either!”
The film isn’t just about the past two seasons; it goes back into the history of the rivalry about the schools located just 75 miles apart.
“We interviewed a lot of different people from both sides of the rivalry,” Delaney said. “We got to interview Oscar Combs about being in the original Dream Game. We got to interview Tom Leach in Memorial Coliseum. Joe B. Hall talked about playing with the Globetrotters and it was an interesting interview. We also talked to Denny Crum too about building Louisville into a premier program coming from the tutelage of UCLA and Coach John Wooden.”
Everybody knows the dynamic. Everybody knows that UK refers to Louisville as “Little Brother,” but the film looks at the origins of the term and the bad feelings it exposes within Cardinal fans.
“We definitely look at the relationship between the two schools and their views on one another,” Delaney said. “Everybody knows that Kentucky refers to Louisville as ‘Little Brother,’ but not everybody knows that Eddie Sutton came up with the term before they played the Cardinals one year. It’s one of those terms that Louisville fans can’t stand and it’s used as an insult from Kentucky fans to Cardinal fans because Kentucky has the tradition and Louisville basically came into the national spotlight in the ’80s.”
The rivalry goes beyond the court as well. Friendships pause for the day. Bragging rights are at stake for a year and lives can change on the outcome of the game.
“We visited this barbershop in Louisville and one of the barbers was a UK fan and in 2012 after the Cats won, he was getting so much business and getting such a hard time form his co-workers at the barbershop that he decided to open his own barbershop eight blocks away,” Delaney said. “You also get to hear the story of a small business owner in Paintsville who does frame work and won’t frame anything associated with Louisville fans. And then you get to see husbands who root for Louisville and wives who root for Kentucky and how they root against each other. The rivalry has so many dynamics in people’s lives.”
The rivalry has only been viewed by both sides from one person. Coach Rick Pitino. Pitino caoched UK in the ’90s and brought the program back from the dead and won a national title in ’96. Pitino also coached the Cardinals to the national title this season; he’s the only coach in NCAA history to accomplish that feat, especially 75 miles apart.
“If you loot at it, Pitino knows this rivalry better than anybody,” Delaney said. “He’s coached on both sidelines and has won a national title for each school. That’s Shakesperian having that much success for two different teams, especially rival schools. And when Coach Cal took over, it kind of put the protege against the mentor.”
“There are so many story lines and plot twists in the rivalry. With 11 national championships between the two schools and their winning back-to-back seasons it makes this rivalry the best and most heated rivalry in the country. DUke and North Carolina are in the same conference and meet two or three times a year. Kentucky and Louisville are in different conferences and only meet once a year unless they meet again in the national tournament.”
The film isn’t quite ready for a release date just yet. Delaney is pushing for a late November release right before the upcoming season which holds so many story lines going forward and will be one of the most hyped games of the season because of the Wildcats’ stellar recruiting class and the Cardinals hailing as the reigning national champions.
Fore more information on the project or to donate money visit the website at redvbluefilm.com. There is also a kickstarter campaign for this project to help with costs of paying for licensing and trying to get the film released by November.