Back in 1982, the family made the 12-hour trek to New Orleans for the second Final Four appearance in three years for University of Louisville basketball team. Along with many other fans, as part of a caravan some of the way, enjoying the UofL camaraderie, genuinely fun times.
Much of the time we were entertained by the music of Louisville’s own Mickey Clark, a country entertainer who composed and recorded his own version of “The Battle of New Orleans.” A musical tribute to the 1981-82 basketball team, recapping the highlights while saluting the individual players.
The Springers arrive at a motel about 80 miles away on a Friday night before the game. Sleeping late the next day, only to realize that New Orleans is on central standard time. Pushing the gas pedal to the floor, arriving in the vicinity of the Super Bowl to discover there are no parking spaces. Panic stricken the observer winding up in the main U.S. Post Office parking lot, very close to the unloading level. Have to gamble that the car will still be there after the game.
We hustle over to the Superdome, finding our seats on the next last row in of the upper end zone for the Louisville-Georgetown game. Somehow making the tip off. Thankfully there’s a video screen above because the players are little more than specks on the floor. UofL would lose the game 50-46. All was not lost, however, because the car was still in the same place after the game. And the Cards will return to the Final Four, held in Albuquerque the next year.
Mickey’s cassette tape will be played and replayed, before, during and on the return trip to Louisville. His music an integral part of the memories and the total experience. He would come out with numerous different recordings for various basketball trips over the next 30 years, including the UofL’s third national championship in the 2012-13 season.
Clark passed away Sunday night in Louisville, surrounded by his family. He will always occupy a special place in the hearts of many UofL fans.
Other music is available on Brennan Clark’s (his son) YouTube account.