By Ed Peak
As I leaned back in a chair on my deck on a beautiful spring day during this Covid-19 pandemic, I glanced toward a University of Louisville flag my wife hung in the yard. There is no doubt when you pass this house, it bleeds Cardinal Red.
My editor Charlie Springer suggested a post a while back on how I got to be a Cardinal fan. Full disclosure here and some background is needed. As a reporter and journalist I try to be honest and balanced (Fox News like). If the Cardinals play poorly. I report it. If they do extraordinary things, I report it. I’m a fan of good stories. But every journalist will tell you that.
How did I get to be a Louisville follower? I go back to the basketball season in 1968 when Wes Unseld was a senior for coach Peck Hickman. A local television station had a special on Louisville playing Houston and Elvin Hayes in the NCAA Tournament.
The special finished with an airplane leaving Standiford Field with the plea, “Please come back home Cards with two wins. Please Cardinals, please.” That stuck with me. The Cardinals lost to the Cougars but that’s how I began following UofL as a 15-year-old.
I started attending Louisville football games at the old Cardinal Stadium. I’d go to Convenient Food Mart and get a $1 ticket. I did the same for basketball. Just think, $1. I’d take the bus from my home and walk from Crittenden Drive to the stadium or Freedom Hall.
One game when the Cardinals played rival Cincinnati I had to sit on the steps in an aisle about halfway to the top of Freedom Hall. It was more than a sellout. There were no seats, plus the Cards lost by a point. Tough night.
Unseld, Beard, Holden, Grosso bring back great UofL basketball memories. Football’s Gatti, Welch, Boggess played for coach Frank Camp who did a masterful job with very limited resources.
I later attended UofL after graduating from Waggener High School and a couple years at Jefferson Community College. I worked in the Courier-Journal Sports Department which seemed to have a lot more Kentucky fans than Cardinals. But it was the state newspaper and its leader Earl Cox, from Irvine, wanted a well-rounded sports section.
The CJ officially didn’t tolerate cheerleaders, so I wasn’t wearing UofL hats or sweatshirts around Fifth and Broadway. I had to stick up for the Cardinals in a fair and balanced way.