Card Fan Captive In ACC Country

By Steve Kottak

Jumping to your feet and cheering for the University of Louisville comes easily when you’re among thousands all screaming C-A-R-D-S at Papa John’s or Freedom Hall! But what’s it like when you’re 500 miles away living in ACC country?

Not so easy. Think about being surrounded by UK fans 24 hours a day and you get the idea.

Steve Kottak stuck in ACC country.
Steve Kottak stuck in ACC country.

Shortly after relocating from Louisville with several Brown & Williamson employees to Winston-Salem in 2007, the local newspaper did an article about the upcoming U of L-Wake Forest game in the Orange Bowl. The focus was how transplanted Louisvillians felt about seeing their former home town team play their new “home town” team on the national stage.

Many transplants just wanted it to be a close game. Others were happy both teams were in the Orange Bowl. Not me. I told the reporter I was a Cards’ fan and always would be – no matter where I live. The reporter would subsequently write: “And Steve Kottak said he’d like to see the Louisville Cardinals hang 50 or more points on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.”

I got a lot of flack from my co-workers for that one. I couldn’t resist reminding them that Louisville not only won, but they also covered the point spread.

'I am often asked to defend what is going wrong with our football team. People also want to know what Rick Pitino was thinking – and if I’ve ever been to Porcini’s.'

I am often asked to defend what is going wrong with our football team. People also want to know what Rick Pitino was thinking – and if I’ve ever been to Porcini’s. And it is always a spirited conversation when they starting gabbing about how great the ACC is – that it is the ONLY basketball conference – and how much better it is than the Big East. It helped tremendously when U of L got the No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

I wear my Louisville gear proudly, attempting to represent the passion we all have for the Cards and take the high road as much as possible. I don’t want to do anything that would paint Cards’ fans as anything other than good sports.

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Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

13 thoughts on “Card Fan Captive In ACC Country

  • September 1, 2009 at 5:44 pm
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    As an expat Card fan in Virginia Tech country, I know just how you feel!

    My boss laughs because I only wear red on the golf course. And I refused to play in a match play event for my club because they wanted to wear blue shirts.

    Keep the faith, brother!

  • September 1, 2009 at 9:21 pm
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    Way to represent, Steve. A little reality is good for North Carolina people.

  • September 2, 2009 at 6:44 am
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    I’m there with you, Steve. Here in Gatlinburg, it’s Big Orange 24/7. We get a lot of tourists from all over the place, so that helps break it up a little…but the locals back the Vols pretty intensly.

    I’ve got the UofL football schedule hanging up in the bar, but I’ve received (2) UT schedules, (1) Georgia schedule, (1) UK schedule and…believe it or not…a Wyoming schedule to hang next to it.

    One of the UT schedules has made it to the wall…not by
    me, but my bar manager. The other (4) still sit in the corner. No way that Big Blue one EVER sees wall space.

    Hang in there, Steve.

    • September 2, 2009 at 11:36 am
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      Bar in Gatlinburg? What place? Next time I visit the Smokies, I’ll make sure to stop in and support a Card fan.

  • September 2, 2009 at 8:02 am
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    please don’t ever describe kentucky or it’s fans as being anything similar to the ACC, particularly in football. We play in the SEC, hands down, the best
    college football conferance in America, and fill our stadium every week. Even a bottom feeder Sec team that loses all but two of it’s conference games could
    quite possibly run the gammitt in the Big East, or ACC on a normal year. There’s absolutely no comparrison!

    • September 2, 2009 at 8:06 am
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      You have a point, Michael, even if it is wrong. Steve might want to apologize to North Carolina fans for comparing them to the UK crowd. That is a huge insult to some classy Tidewater people. The SEC is only good in football because of the trashy way it conducts business, which is awful, teaching kids all the wrong things about how to succeed in life. Michael, you might want to get a spellchecker if you want to represent UK in a more positive light.

  • September 2, 2009 at 12:20 pm
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    That would be the Bulls & Bears English Pub in Gatlinburg. Stop by and see Joe.

  • September 2, 2009 at 1:42 pm
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    Thanks for asking, Chris. We’re on the south side of Gatlinburg in the Arts and Crafts community. Off Glades Rd. Would be glad to see you stop in and have a frosty one with us.

  • September 2, 2009 at 4:46 pm
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    Just don’t let Joe talk you into a “friendly” game of darts while enjoying a beverage there. The man is brutal.

  • September 2, 2009 at 5:22 pm
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    My wife and I went to a resort town in Western Mass a few years for a reunion of my college pledge class. We had a group dinner at a pizza parlor while UofL was playing an away game on ESPN. I asked the manager if he could change the channel. Two guys from Jersey of all places overheard me and jumped in “demanding” that the TV be changed to our game.

    I was certainly surprised and asked what was the connection. I was even more surprised when they told me that they had adopted UofL as their favorite team. They loved our offense. They loved we played on Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. They had buddies back in Jersey who were big UofL fans for the same reason.

    Wonder what they think of us in the Kragthorpe era.

  • September 2, 2009 at 8:37 pm
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    If they’re Rutgers fans…they probably love us even more.

  • September 3, 2009 at 7:55 am
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    I’m not Tech fan, but the Hokies would beat the crap out of UK. The Cats would bottom-feed in the ACC–thought they might beat Duke.

  • September 3, 2009 at 8:24 am
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    Thanks for the comments and support. Glad to hear I’m not alone!

    Interesting comments on the SEC (sounds similar to what I hear in Winston-Salem from North Carolina fans).

    Wonder how the two SEC “powers” – Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama will fare this weekend?

    Zagnut – didn’t mean to paint UNC fans with a broad brush, just sharing my experiences. I used to live in the Tidewater area (Virginia Beach and Chesapeake) and I know there are some great people there. Just didn’t meet any great UNC fans when I was there.

    As always, GO CARDS!

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