From Day Dreaming To Reality

Fan Recalls Fantasy Of Real Football Stadium

By Tom Stosberg

Have you seen the bumper sticker that says, “I wasn’t born in Louisville, but I got here as quick as I could.”? That pretty well sums it up for me. I love this town.

Although I have no childhood memories of University of Louisville athletics, my earliest ones date back to the early ’70’s when Lee Corso was coaching the football team playing against the likes of Wichita State, Drake, West Texas State, Tulsa  and New Mexico State.

As I recall those Missouri Valley Conference games were lots of fun even for a college football junkie who grew up just a few miles from Ohio Stadium in Columbus where Ohio State football was then, and still is, a perennial sell out.

In desperate need of a football “fix ” one crisp Fall afternoon in the early Seventies,  I convinced my not-nearly-as-thrilled wife, Linda, that we should invest in a couple of tickets to see what Louisville had to offer in the line of pigskin competition.

While hardly the caliber of the Big Ten major college show I was used to,  the U of L Cardinals offered some of the Southern style razzle-dazzle I had seen on TV games of the old Southwest Conference.

We were smitten. Our love affair with U of L football began that very first Saturday.

“What a kick!” I thought sitting  in the old Louisville baseball stadium at a time when there were not even bleachers on the visitors’ side of the field.

I just flat out loved being in “the South” watching football that was far different from OSU’s boring  “three yards and a cloud of dust”.  The action was good.  Very good. But there was something else I recognized that first game oh so many years ago: This could someday be bigger. A whole lot bigger. But it might take a little time.

So, I let myself daydream a little that first Saturday. I envisioned stands being added on the other side of the field. Wondered what it might look like if they filled in with bleachers behind the North end zone. Then I felt a tinge of something special that I couldn’t quite identify back then. It wasn’t just from what I saw on the field. It was in the stands. It was in the spirit of the die hards.

Even back that long ago there seemed to a hint that there might be a small group of fans who were hungry for good college football.  People who appreciated what I had often referred to growing up as “hot weather football” – a more wide open style played throughout the Southern states.  And, who knows, they just might want to see it played at the highest level right here in their own hometown.

Those early years were memorable ones. It’s been great fun watching it all develop into what was once only a pipe dream…major college football right here at home. Man oh man.

Before you go, let me ask you just one question that takes me back to that day dreaming day almost 40 years ago … Have you seen the new stadium?

Can’t wait to tee it up again.

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Tom Stosberg

Tom Stosberg and his wife, Linda, also an active participant on this site, have been U of L fans for nearly 40 years. Tom is self-employed by MarketFit, Inc., an outsource marketing advisory. Tom worked in radio, television and advertising for 35+ years. His web site is located at http://marketfitinc.net.

7 thoughts on “From Day Dreaming To Reality

  • July 6, 2010 at 11:20 pm
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    “Pipe dream” indeed! Never a bigger dreamer than “The Pipe”, himself. And to think, we nearly ended up in the National Championship against The OSU a few years ago. What do ya’ say to working our way back? Put the Scioto River Rats on notice: We’re coming!

    • July 7, 2010 at 8:24 am
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      Good post, Tom. It’s a shame the university and city were a little late to the table. Lot of wasted years with Mayors like Charlie Farnsley, Bill Stansburg, Frank Burke, Kenny Schmied, and Harvey Sloane. Philip Davidson at U of L almost banned football in the Fifties. Donald Swain almost did us in, too. Thank god for people like Dave Hart, Bill Olsen and Howard Schnellenberger who dared to think bigger.

  • July 7, 2010 at 8:53 pm
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    good article , Tom !

    I went to U of L during the Corso yrs–they were fun and hooked me !

    • July 8, 2010 at 1:48 pm
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      Remember the Pasadena Bowl?

      I was mad at Corso for years afterward for the goofy lateral in our own end zone that cost us that game. We’d have been better off letting them recover the fumble, and getting the ball back so we could kill the clock, than taking the safety, giving up the ball, and ultimately allowing the tying score. (Funny, I’ll never forget that play, but I can’t even remember who “they” were.)

  • July 10, 2010 at 9:21 am
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    I still remember a Corso era game an evening of Thanksgiving weekend when it was cold as can be. Near the end of the game there couldn’t have been 750 people left. Someone started a bonfire in one of the 55 gallon drums that was being used as a trash can. Even the Brantley Security guards huddled around it for warmth. No clue if we won (probably not since so many people left early) or lost because while my body thawed somewhat my brain didn’t.

    And Pasadena was Long Beach State with some stud running back who never really made it in the NFL. Leon Burns?

  • July 10, 2010 at 3:28 pm
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    I enjoyed Corso’s teams, but I’ll always remember him as the first Louisville coach to leave for greener pastures and find that it was a tougher world out there than he had hoped. He flopped miserably at Indiana, and now we have to endure his flapping jaw on ESPN every week. I consider him the Dick Vitale of college football.

    And worst of all, he never gives the Cards their due.

    • July 10, 2010 at 9:28 pm
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      Good observation, Rick. He left here with a chip on his shoulder. I think the only reason he’s still with ESPN is because of his unintentional comedic value. You can almost bet against his predictions and make a killing.

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