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Stories From My Fanhood

SB Nation is still collecting fan origin stories, share yours with us!

Connecticut v Rutgers
The greatest running back of all time.
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Welcome to a refreshed The UConn Blog! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!

This may be hard to believe, but the first UConn team I actively rooted for was football.

My family moved around a decent amount when I was younger, eventually settling in Connecticut in 1998. It was the start of a special year for UConn hoops fans, but I merely casually observed as Khalid El-Amin and Rip Hamilton led an underdog Husky team over Duke in the 1999 NCAA Championship.

Though happy for my new home state’s team, I certainly could not claim to have had any investment in what was going on up in Storrs. After they won that title, I didn't jump on the bandwagon, mostly because I didn’t want to jump on a bandwagon.

The success of Jim Calhoun’s Huskies did, however, open my eyes to the wonders of college basketball. I remained an unbiased, but enthusiastic, observer until actually going to UConn. Thanks to that 1999 team, I was well-versed in the ins and outs of college hoops upon my arrival to campus.

I fell in love with college football about 3-4 years earlier thanks to a great passion for running the option offense in EA Sports’ NCAA Football. Playing as UConn in my Dynasty Mode was an obvious choice and I rooted for the Huskies as they started appearing on TV on Saturdays.

As a student, I was never fortunate enough to win the lottery for basketball tickets but did make it to just about every home football game, or tailgate at least.

I was one year out of school for the trip over to Glendale, Arizona when the Huskies broke through for a Fiesta Bowl berth. Unfortunately, UConn lost badly and head coach Randy Edsall left before I did.

This is a picture of me, I promise.

Things really took a nosedive from there, but Husky athletics remained interesting, which is why two years later I jumped on the opportunity to manage The UConn Blog.

They tell you when you start running an SB Nation site that it’s a labor of love, and that’s true. But part of what keeps me going is that fanhood aside, UConn truly is a compelling athletic program to write about.

Who else has a women’s basketball program starring in a documentary series on HBO, or a men’s basketball team with so much success?

The football program has done well and could still meet the upside longtime fans know it has. Baseball, soccer, field hockey, and ice hockey have all won a bunch and are legitimately fun to watch. It’s a damn good athletic program overall.

If I could make one suggestion for any UConn fan who’s made it this far into my self-indulgence, it’s to check out a Husky team which you previously didn’t follow closely. Whether it’s soccer, #Icebus, or baseball, just give it a chance. It’ll probably be a good time.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

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