More Than A Game

By Charlie Springer

People being much too reserved in their predictions and comments. Are fans looking forward to Sunday’s matchup or are they dreading it?

Kentucky has fattened up a 13-3 won-lost record with schools few people knew even existed before this season started. How about Ouachita Baptist, Mississippi Valley State, and  Longwood? They have basketball teams, too? What do you learn about yourself playing teams like Virginia Military Institute, Florida Atlantic and Delaware State? A freshman-dominated Indiana University team?

Not much.

Louisville limps in with an 8-3 record, having learned quickly that it doesn’t faintly resemble the third ranked team in the nation. Surprising losses to Western Kentucky, Minnesota and Nevada-Las Vegas. Cockiness has been replaced by uncertainty, the future clouded by doubt, and an ugly offensive attack plagued by poor field goal and free throw shooting.

Are the Cards as bad as they looked against UNLV?  Probably not.

All of which adds to the unknown and drama of Sunday’s showdown. No time for reflection. It’s much more than a game, and everybody knows it. You had better come to play. Win or lose, everybody has to live with the outcome for quite a while.

Make all the ugly K baseball caps, the UK car flags, the fat Wildcat shirts go away. Make them disappear.

Dream Game At The Sykes

By Sonja Sykes

I’ve slowly come to the realization that I am the only Cardinal fan over 45 that wasn’t in Knoxville Coliseum back in 1983. Maybe I can get some props for my attendance in 1980 at Market Square Arena to see the Cards win it all. I was eight months pregnant at the time, had to pee the entire second half and almost marched down several rows with full intent to cuff a loudmouth UCLA fan whose mama would have been very upset about the language he was using.

We were there in Nashville in 1982, to see the ‘almost’ dream game between the University of Louisville and Middle Tennessee.  Way before cell phones, I-PODS and laptops…I stood in line at halftime to call my mom and see how my two year old Angela was feeling, talked to her and got a incoherent lecture from a drunk Cardinal fan behind me in line that pay phones were for people who had pressing business and not to coo over the phone to their daughter.  If I’d had a gun, I would have shot him. Instead, I looked him squarely in the eyes and told him to place a certain part of his anatomy in a very unnatural and probably uncomfortable part of his body. Even Paul was shocked.

‘I still believe to this day
that it was that
evening/early morning
that was the conception date
of my youngest daughter …’

When it was determined that the Cards would, in fact, actually meet the Cats in Knoxville in 1983…we went to work to obtain tickets. That search ended a day later when Paul informed me he had to work a half day that day, no way to get out of it and he encouraged me to make the trip anyway. I declined. Back then, I was less inclined to enter into away and neutral venues without the big guy riding shotgun.  We accepted an invitation to attend a “Dream Game” party and kids were welcome, too.

I made a dish to take to the party that morning, don’t remember what I concocted…but I used to make a pretty tasty lima bean casserole back then. Paul’s buddy Bob phoned from his apartment, from the party waiting for us to arrive. Angela and I were waiting impatiently on the couch when the big guy got home. Practically changed his clothes for him and shooed him out to the car.  He revealed to me on the drive over that he’d stopped briefly after work to have a pregame drink with a few co-workers. If looks were daggers, he’d been terminated on the spot.

The party was warming up when we arrived. It seemed Cardinal fans were gravitating to the basement TV, and the Cat clan had dibs on the living room console. Fair enough, we had the keg. They had the food. Paul’s buddy Bob..who had hair back then and resembled a young Jimmy Buffett, was already more than tipsy and planted a kiss on me that would have had us legally engaged in some areas.  He then proceeded to sit in my lap and bemoan the fact he couldn’t find the “right” woman.

Paul was nowhere to be found (He told me later he had been upstairs antagonizing the Big Blue faithful and sampling without consent a Big Blue backer’s bourbon from the kitchen.) We watched the pregame hoopla, and Bob fell asleep on my shoulder, drooling just like my daughter. Somewhere the photos probably still exist of a dozing Bob wearing a UK cap and hastily scrawled sign across his chest reading: “GO WILDCATS!! DENNY IS A BUM.”

Finally, tip off. Most of you know how the game went, Master’s lucky basket and the incredible Cardinal overtime domination. We shouted, groaned, exchanged cheers with the folks upstairs and Bob and Paul danced around the room as if they were on the court themselves. My daughter Angela played contentedly with a couple of Big Blue kids in one of the bedrooms…unaware of the war that raged outside that door.

When the Cards went up by six, Bob and Paul exchanged flying ‘high fives’ that sent both of them sprawling back to the seats of their pants on the carpeted basement floor. If only You Tube had been around back then. Our hosts, with mixed school loyalties, cracked bottles of champagne for us right after the final buzzer. She beamed happily and he forced a rueful grin.

After the contest, the Cards fans celebrated with giddy glee and we eventually extended good sportsmanship condolences to the UK fans that were still there. The afternoon eventually drifted into a calm, laid back evening…a happy ride home and I still believe to this day that it was that evening/early morning that was the conception date of my youngest daughter Rachel.

And, I’m pretty sure Bob wasn’t there.

Who Gives Up Tickets To UK Fans

Why kind of Louisville fan gives up tickets to UK fans for UofL-UK basketball and football games in Louisville? Despicable types, that’s for sure.

By Charlie Springer

What kind of person buys season tickets to University of Louisville basketball games and hands them over to Kentucky fans for UofL-UK games? The question is relevant because Freedom Hall will have more than a few blue-clad partisans on Sunday. It’s inevitable.

  • The self-serving boss who wants to reward customers out in the state with the ultimate gimme, tickets to the biggest game in the state. They make most of their money in Louisville but take advantage of a rare opportunity to kiss Big Blue butts.
  • Transplanted brown nosing employees from out in the state who lay claim to the company tickets three months in advance.
  • The Benedict Arnold types, the neuter-genders who say they like both UofL and UK but pull for Kentucky when the teams face each other.
  • The spineless wimp who marries a UK fan and gives in to pleas to let the brother’s family in Burgin or Paintsville use the tickets.
  • Fans who lost bets to UK fans during the last UofL-UK football game.
  • The shameless hucksters who sell their tickets to the highest bidders.
  • Victims of clueless people born and raised in Shively, St. Matthews and parts in between who call in favors from UofL fans who owe them big time. Their parents were UK fans so it was bred into them.

You don’t have to go out of your way to be nice to UK fans in Freedom Hall. That may be asking too much. Just make up your mind that you will be courteous and civil with them. Their brains are wired a little differently that ours, and they can be a little looney.

Save your ire for the people who gave them the tickets.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Backsliding: UNLV 56, Louisville 55

By Charlie Springer

What was that about being a basketball school? The basketball season is not providing the emotional lift that University of Louisville fans had hoped would help them get over football. Sorry, folks, this is not the eighties. With the strength of the Big East this year, this could turn out to be another one of those rebuilding phases.

— Someone once said at least ten thousand times that if you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse. The Cards seem to be stuck in reverse gear at present. Still going through the motions, despite the Western Kentucky and Minnesota drubbings.

— Samardo Samuels is still on the first chapter in the instruction manual on playing college center, despite all the preaching and tormenting during those torturous practices. Don’t expect any kind of meaningful help from George Goode or Terrence Jennings anytime soon.

— How long will it be before fans start speculating against about a possible return of Derrick Caracter? It’s been a while now.

— Jared Swopshire goes from a starter one game to playing one minute in the next game. That promising performance in the UAB encounter must have been some of that “Fool’s Gold” that Rick Pitino keeps warning us about. Or is really just saving Swopshire for Big East play?

— I know this is getting redundant, but this team is never going anywhere until Earl Clark considers it cool to get excited about playing aggressive basketball. By that we mean using his superior height and strength to overpower people in his way. We’ve seen brief glimpses of it, but it usually disappears as quickly as it appeared.

— Does anyone want Terrance Williams to get rid of that ridiculous shooting cast on his arm? His best shot will always be the in-your-face, thunderous dunk. If he hits half of his layup and free throw attempts, UofL wins. Forget about the layups, T-will, dunk the blasted basketball.