Spring football week after next

Not that anyone has entirely given up on the basketball season.

If one needs a transition period, or is simply ready for other distractions, there are some good ones coming in March for University of Louisville fans, like:

  • Spring football practice arrives week after next, March 21st, with the first two or three practices open to the public. Need we say more?
  • The U of L baseball team, off to an 8-3 start, which will be hosting Indiana University (3-5) Tuesday at Jim Patterson Stadium, the first pitch at 3 p.m. The Louisville bats have been much more lively with five starters hitting 310 or better — Cole Sturgeon at .364, Jeff Gardner at .342, Adam Engel and Stewart Ijames at .333, and Nick Ratajzcak at .310. You should also know that Ijames has four home runs and three doubles already.
  • The women’s softball team is undefeated after the first 14 games. Unfortuantely one will have to wait a week to see them again, hoping they don’t cool off. Sandy Pearsall’s team will host Michigan, St. Louis and Illinois State in the Red and Black Classic, a three-day tournament starting Saturday.

Maybe clear out a few cob webs.

Games of life

The tragedy of Shannon Stone, a 39-year-old man, falling to his death while trying to catch a baseball at Rangers Field in Arlington, Texas is a stark reminder of life’s uncertainties.

Most of us probably would have gone for the ball. Had we been successful, we would have experienced the thrill of the chase and cheers that followed, taken the ball home, stuck it in a drawer, never giving it a second thought.

A young private in the U. S. Army snared a baseball that cleared the right field wall in Seattle many years ago. Today he couldn’t tell you who hit the ball or where it is now.

He does recall, however, the exhilaration of the moment. No thought of the dangers of running up stadium steps, scrambling over seats, edging out other excited fans. Had to get that ball.

Could have been a T-shirt or a sponge ball.

We feel bad about the fan and anguish for the family. A life lesson for all because it could have been any of us.

Quiet intensity at U of L

Things have all but come to a standstill in the athletic department on Belknap Campus as best we can tell.

  • Rick Pitino probably in Florida sipping martinis beside an exotic patio pool when he’s not attending basketball camps. Reflecting on the year that was, from ridding himself the Karen Sypher mess to developing a University of Louisville basketball team that became an all-time favorite. The same look in his eyes in July as was there in March.
  • Charlie Strong keeping one eye on the weight room, the other on the telephone awaiting more telephone calls with good news from Clint Hurtt. Confident his team can continue to show improvement, but all too aware of the challenges that come with inexperienced offensive lines, quarterbacks, and wide receivers.
  • Dan McDonnell recovering from a disappointing baseball season, but not losing 10 players in the Major League Baseball draft this time around. Not accustomed to mediocre baseball or slow bats, determined that the magic will return to Jim Patterson Stadium. Making occasional calls to Ken Lolla.
  • Ken Lolla out making motivational speeches, sending inspirational tweets, wearing the Observer out with his eternal optimism. Hawking season tickets with that eternal scarf. Knowing it works, driving him and those around him. Enjoying a nice recruiting class, maintaining an iron-clad focus on a national soccer championship. Knowing how to get there.
  • Jeff Walz crisscrossing the country for recruits, taking his kids to Walt Disney World, meeting himself coming and going, getting the women ready for exhibition games in Canada.
  • Tom Jurich shaking the money trees for a 5,000-seat soccer stadium, expanded seating for baseball and women’s softball, occasionally pulling out plans for another expansion of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Enjoying a second summer without all the Kragthorpe sniping. Life is good.

An all-too-brief reprieve from the spotlight for them. But the pressure is always there, eating at them, haunting them, motivating them, propelling them forward. A break from the fans, the fanaticism, the nuts, the analysts, the ups and downs. A time to recharge. The dog days will be gone soon enough.

Andre’s Top 10 U of L YouTubes

Boudreaux

When University of Louisville soccer goalie Andre Boudreaux isn’t deflecting balls away from the net, he is contributing to the Louisville Cardinal, the campus newspaper. In a recent article, Andre compiled a ranking of the top viewed UofL videos on YouTube.

The junior from New Orleans was credited with 63 saves during the team’s 20-1 season in which the Cardinals finished as the national runner-up in the College Cup.

As Boudreaux notes in his article, the number of views was not his only criteria in compiling the list. He also considered “the importance of a play, the game in which it occurred and the achievement of the team.” Here’s Andre’s list:

As Boudreaux concludes, “There could be a top 10 list of just basketball, but this is a school where athletics excel across the board.”