Saturday, July 30, 2011

Wait, What? There's Another "Go Big Blue" Bunch?

As you may know, I live in the Lexington, Kentucky area.  In the Bluegrass, we have a handful of passions.  For some, it's bourbon, while others live (and/or work) for the thoroughbred breeding and racing industries.  One thing that most of us share, however, is our support for University of Kentucky athletics, commonly known as "Big Blue."  UK is one of that handful of NCAA athletic programs that actually pay for themselves; a big piece of that financial success comes from merchandising.  Quite frankly, the variety of UK merchandise can be absolutely frightening, and as a former member of the UK Band, I certainly own my share of "Big Blue gear."  Furthermore, the "Big Blue" moniker is unique among athletic programs - or so I had thought.

Imagine my surprise in learning, during my business travel to Japan, that two other groups of "Big Blue" fans exist on the other side of the world.  In Japan, professional teams are often "sponsored" by major corporations.  As it happens, IBM sponsors teams in both the X-League (Japan's American football league) and the Japanese Rugby Union.  I checked out the teams' websites; while the BIGBLUE RFC is currently relegated to the second-tier league, the BigBlue American Football team has done well, reaching the Japan Bowl (the X-League championship) just last year.  Of course, the game is much different in Japan; a quick check of Big Blue's roster shows that their entire team is smaller in stature than is my 13-year-old son, who plays OL/DL for our local high school.
Nonetheless, it was a "touch of home" to find a Big Blue fan community in Japan; I'll have to buy a few shirts/hats/whatever, just to confuse folks when I wear them in Lexington.  If you're interested in either team, links to their websites (in Japanese, of course) are below.

IBM BigBlue Powered by BigBlue Fans
BBB IBM Rugby Football Club BIGBLUE

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