Some sports fans are so confident in their teams' abilities to win that they get inked up in their honor before a championship is even over. For some, these decisions unfortunately end in bad tattoos when the team loses – but for others, they can prove to be a pretty good story. Recently, a man who's rooting for University of Kentucky's basketball team in the NCAA Tournament did just that.
Only time will tell whether Tyler Austin Black, a 22-year-old Tennessee resident, is ultimately happy with his choice or whether tattoo regret might set in. The Wildcats are in the Final Four, though, and just a couple wins away from victory, so his decision may actually end up working out.
Here's the story behind one die-hard fan's body art.
Taking a risk
What's most surprising about Black's tatt is not that he got it before the Wildcats won the NCAA Tournament – it's that he went under the needle March 13, a week before it even began. This was an especially bold move considering the fact that the Wildcats entered into the tournament as an eight seed, and continue to underachieve for most of the season. When he hit up the tatt parlor, the Wildcats had recently suffered three losses in the final four regular-season games. As a result of being destroyed by both Florida and South Carolina, the team plummeted from being a top team preseason to being out of the rankings.
So what design did he opt to get? Black had "2014 NATION9L CHAMPIONS UK" emblazoned on his calf in black and blue ink, the team's colors. The Los Angeles Times explained that the 9 represents what could be the ninth national title for the University of Kentucky. Black, who constructs transmission gears for Honda, said that even though there was a lot of uncertainty regarding the Wildcats' standing this season, his tatt is proof that he's a true fan.
"Everybody, even the most die-hard fans I knew, had just completely lost faith in Kentucky altogether," said Black, as quoted by USA Today. "They were done with the team. Everybody pretty much gave up. I know we had a rocky season. I'm not blind or delusional. I was aware how bad we were doing. I was just thinking: What could I do to make people laugh, just put some life back in Big Blue Nation?"
A promising prophecy
Oddly enough, the day after he got inked, the Wildcats gained some ground, dominating Kansas State, Louisville, Michigan and Wichita State in the Midwest Regional. In fact, their only loss was against the Gators in the SEC title game, and it was merely by one point.
Kentucky may not have won yet, but things are definitely looking up for fans of the team. What does that mean for Black? He's less likely to consider the premature inking to be a mistake.
"I'm just going to leave it," said Black, according to USA Today. "At this point, it's a part of my story. It's the ultimate conversation piece."
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* Source: Harris Interactive, 2013