With the end of the college baseball season, summer has officially begun for University of Louisville fans. The best year ever in UofL athletics, the Year of the Cardinal, is history. A great year to be sure, one to savor for about three months and then get on with life.
Memories are short, often selective, in college athletics, and there are some who don’t share the joy in the university’s amazing success over the past year. One doesn’t have to look far for an example of a fan base that will continue to disparage and disrespect the school and its fans.
The more successful your school is, the more they want to beat you. If it's your rival, they want you to get out of their sight, vanish, disappear altogether. Their program is only thing that matters to them. They worship their teams and they hate yours.
Sports fans have a difficult time acknowledging the success of other schools, and the problem is acute between rival schools in the same geographic area. A basketball team can win a national championship, for example. Fans of a nearby school won’t acknowledge it, trying to pretend it didn’t happen, point to their own success, how many more championships they’ve won.
The football team can win a BCS game over a team the rival school hasn’t defeated in 23 years. A women’s basketball team can knock off the No. 1 team and go on to the national championship game. The baseball team can go to the College World Series for a second time in six years. The athletic program can be accepted into the Atlantic Coast Conference, one of the most prestigious conferences in America.
One shouldn’t expect even some close friends to acknowledge or congratulate UofL fans for all these accomplishments, especially the ones who follow the rival school. It’s just not going to happen. UofL’s success is seen as a threat to their own school. For them to acknowledge your success would be seen as admitting their athletic program has shortcomings … or not as good as yours.
Their school comes first, yours is trash as far as they concerned. They would much rather see rival fans being miserable, not celebrating the best year in the school’s history. Especially if their own program had one of the worst ever. Part of being a fan at many schools is the desire for superiority over other institutions, resulting in the ugly underbelly of sports that too often leads to shortcuts and cheating. The same kind of pettiness and selfishness that led to a reshuffling of the college conference landscape over the past five years.
The more successful your school is, the more they want to beat you. If it’s your rival, they want you to get out of their sight, vanish, disappear altogether. Their program is the only thing that matters to them. They worship their teams and they hate yours.
Lots of things can happen between school years for fans, a long hot summer of gloating on all the successes, forgetting what it took to get there, then wondering what the hell happened when things don’t go well. Tom Jurich has it right when he says UofL must remain humble and hungry if the program is continue to be successful. What UofL accomplished this year could make the future much more challenging.