Hey Vince, UofL Golf Course a great setting for Cardinal Caravans

Bring back the Cardinal Caravans.

The observer made it out to Simpsonville on Monday for the annual Press Box Classic at the University of Louisville Golf Club. A welcome respite from the dearth of UofL activities in which to become engaged over the past several weeks.

A reunion of sorts for many of the sportswriters, the bloggers, the broadcasters, the personalities gathering once again for a fun event. The decibel meter reaching peak levels, with the media types and occasional golfers enjoying the free golf, the pulled pork sandwiches, the door prizes and familiar faces.

Kenny Klein is there, of course, overseeing the 21st annual event, along with Athletic Director Vince Tyra, Baseball Coach Dan McDonnell and Volleyball Coach Dani Keely, and Women’s Athletic Director Christine Herring.

“We’re just here to have fun, have a good time and enjoy each other,” he says. “One of my favorite events every year, getting to know people we work with on a more casual basis in a great setting.”

And what a great setting it is.

The UofL Golf Club has undergone significant changes since being purchased by the University five years ago, investing more than $11 million into the golf program’s home course. Changes include numerous new water hazards, new tee sites and longer holes, and continued modernization of the clubhouse and dining facilities.

One thing that has been missing on the UofL calendar the last three years has been the Cardinal Caravan. These were great events, enabling fans, coaches, players, cheerleaders, Ladybirds and pep band members to mingle in an informal atmosphere.

The need for such an event is even greater considering all the changes that have occurred over the last three years on campus. Fans deserve opportunities to get to know UofL people better, the people they have remained faithful and supportive of during some very challenging times.

Having the event at the Simpsonsville venue would be a great way to show off one of the University’s most desirable facilities, a great promotion for the club, probably resulting in some new memberships and strengthening relationships between UofL and its many fans.

Bring back the Cardinal Caravans, Vince. There’s no better setting than the UofL Golf Club.

1,600 jam Cardinal Caravan despite threatening weather

Not too many years ago one could take his time getting to the Cardinal Caravan at Captain’s Quarters, find a place to park close to the door, and casually find a seat. Those days are gone.

Weather warnings are being issued, the cell phone chirping away. Thick black clouds hanging over the area, seemingly targeting the event as the observer drives down River Road. The air is tight, awaiting mother nature’s electricity. But the parking lot is full, cars parked back out to the highway.

The observer will walk a quarter of a mile to arrive, dozens of other fans speedwalking all around. Almost all of the 1,600 people who RSVPed are here despite the threatening weather. A storm is coming, but they will not be deterred, needing a fix, wanting to see their University of Louisville athletes.

Stopping by the concession stand, the observer will order a brat, only to be assaulted by a flurry of Dixie cups from a blast of wind, his money sailing in different directions. Thanks to fellow fans, all $15 is retrieved.

All the tables on the patio are occupied, the steep hillside beside the river packed with fans, every other person with a camera. Difficult to get around, so many fans in such a compact area. The Louisville event may be outgrowing Captain’s Quarters, even without Rick Pitino and Charlie Strong on hand.

Backup quarterback Will Stein and offensive lineman Alex Kupper are looking around at the skies. Gorgui Dieng, Chane Behanan, Russ Smith and Mike Marra of the basketball team are marveling at the crowd, wondering if they can accommodate all the autograph seekers.

Dan McDonnell and Zak Wasserman of the baseball team are talking about Omaha. Sandy Piearsall is talking about her softball team’s returning experience. Ann Kordes of the volleyball team is lauding the schedule. Tia Gibbs marveling about record crowds for women’s basketball, and Karen Ferguson, the women’s soccer coach, is talking about recruiting.

The crowd hanging on every word, not intimidated by the continuing drumbeat of thunder, competing with the pep band for atmospherics. The rain will hold off just long enough, starting to sprinkle as the observer makes his way back to the car hoping to beat the downpour.

U of L fans have their fix, and a healthy dose of optimism that the long hot summer will soon be over.


Cardinal road show

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Here’s that Cardinal Caravan schedule again. Next week, already. 

July 17

  • Frankfort, Buffalo Trace Distillery, 11:30- 1:15
  • Newport, Newport Aquarium, 4:30 – 6:15

July 18

  • Bowling Green, National Corvette Museum, 6:30 – 8

July 19

  • Owensboro, River Park Center, 12:30 – 2
  • Louisville, Captain’s Quarters, 5:30 – 7 


Caravan should include Louisville stop

Captain’s Quarters is not on the itinerary for the Cardinal Caravan and that’s disappointing for local University of Louisville fans.

We’ve always enjoyed the local event, traditionally an opportunity to chat with coaches and athletes. A nice summer event, nothing on the line, far from the maddening crowds and the heat of competition. Here’s the schedule, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at each site:

  • Thursday, May 19, Elizabethtown, Three Putt Willie’s, Pine Valley.
  • Thursday, June 9, Shelbyville, Shelby County Fairgrounds Pavillion.
  • Thursday, June 16, Jeffersonville, parking lot between Buckhead’s Mountain Grille and Rocky’s Sub Pub.

Maybe Captain’s Quarters is holding off because of all the flooding in the area and expects to still be clearning up this summer. Who knows? It has always been a popular venue for local fans. While we pleased to see fan support grow statewide, we’re hoping the organizers add a Louisville site. Gotta keep the home base happy, too.


Cardinal Caravan checklist

Among the most exciting aspects of cheering for one’s team are the inevitable road trips that diehard fans take at least once a year to support their heroes.  The tunes are already programmed, so the next item on the agenda is prepping the vehicle itself.

First and foremost, the biggest fans don’t need an excuse such as a road trip to keep their vehicle forever showing their team colors.  Personally, I will probably never buy a vehicle that does not fall under the umbrella of the University of Louisville’s team colors:  red, black, or white. And as long as we’re being choosy, make that a Naughty Volvo S60.

If that doesn’t happen, there is still a round-the-clock decoration that can be arranged, the team license plate.  Not the ten or twenty dollar variety that fits on the front.  I’m talking the official state license plate that registers you as an official fan/alumni of your school with the DMV of your state.  That way your car is always decorated through the good times and the bad.  No taking it off after an embarrassing defeat.  Have to stay on that bandwagon!   Now, on to more temporary measures.

The team car flag is the official designation to let the world and fellow motorists know that you are on your way to a big game to support your team.  I love traveling the interstates during football or basketball season and seeing the various team flags ripping through the winds at high speeds and trying to figure out who or where they are going to cheer:   “Oh look!  It’s a West Virginia flag driving north out of Atlanta!  They must be coming from the butt-whooping the Eers just laid on Georgia in the Sugar Bowl! (HONK HONK)  Go Eers!  Go Big East!”  My car flag is so tattered from following the Cards, just can’t seem to throw it out – sentimental like that.  Too many miles, too many car windows, to just abandon to the heap.

Two flags at most, both on the rear windows.  Three or more is too much and if you put them on the front windows you’re liable to lose one by accidentally cracking a window for fresh air on those long trips, not Louisville to Cincy, say Louisville to the Big Apple.   Have you seen the All-State commercial?

I’ve never been a big fan of painting the windows;  it just seems too senior-prom for me.  Subtle, yet classy is the goal.  A few other miscellaneous pieces of flair, such as a front license plate, back window sticker with the mascot head or team letter, or maybe even the noble “UNIVERSITY OF…” sticker does the trick.

Secondly, another very important part of the trip is just getting there.  If your ride can’t get you there, what good are the decorations?  Keep the oil changed, use good gas (cheapest isn’t always the way to go), keep the tires properly inflated (and use Armor All Tire Shine to keep that shiny, wet look), and only use genuine factory parts;   you don’t go to AutoZone to for new discs or pads on a naughty S60!

Volvo of Louisville is the only option for properly maintaining your ride correctly.Things like this will keep you rolling down the highway to cheer on your team and have you looking good all the way to the win column!