Tame Trip To Lexington

No Incidents, Almost Boring

By Paul Sykes

You know it’s a rivalry game when you pull up to your tailgate spot and people start booing you when you get out of your vehicle. At 7:30 in the morning. From people you’ve known 25 years.

The trip to Lexington every two years for this game has become sort of a ritual for Sonja and I. Tailgating with Lexington friends. The abundance of food and drink coupled with friendly bantering about the upcoming contest creates a festive atmosphere that makes the few short hours of merriment before game time fly by.

Despite brisk morning weather, the area where we tailgate filled up quickly and by 9 a.m., all areas were filled, the corn hole boards were getting steady action and the “Cardinal stew” was bubbling and ready to eat…along with breakfast food and burgers.

The rowdy pro-blue group next to us kept the good-natured insults flying, causing first time visitor Joe Hill to comment that Don Rickles and Rodney Daingerfield would have felt right at home with us this morning.

We made the walk to the stadium at 11:15 a.m. and 10 minutes later we were seated in the end zone next to the UofL pep band.

There is a certain anticipation that flows through you as the teams take the field for the opening kickoff. Although it lags and rallies throughout the contest, we spent the majority of our time in Commonwealth on our feet, cheering and groaning as the game developed.

After it ended, despite the losing effort, I took a moment to reflect on what I actually saw, and several UK fans came over and congratulated us on a well-played game.

An instant classic? Maybe, but this one will be remembered for the things that didn’t happen, could have happened and opportunities missed. UK fans after the contest were thankful, free to admit they were way too overconfident before the game and quite worried about the schedule ahead. Cardinal fans encouraged by the performance of the team, a bit rueful over the miscues and not as pessimistic about the rest of the season ahead.

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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.

3 thoughts on “Tame Trip To Lexington

  • September 20, 2009 at 8:20 am
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    Instant classic? Well, no. It was an exciting game by two teams who TO’d it back and forth enough to keep it very exciting.

    Two very mediocre teams, each of which will be lucky to get to 6 wins

  • September 20, 2009 at 8:36 am
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    Almost disappointed you didn’t stir things up a bit, Paul. You didn’t live up to UK fans’ stereotypes of us, nor did they.

  • September 20, 2009 at 12:20 pm
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    Although we get a pretty extreme picture of the UK fans that take to the various message boards, the majority of the ones I was around yesterday were pretty blase about the whole thing. I can guarantee you, though…that there is a ton of anticipation and excitement about the impending “Cal Ball” this winter in Rupp. Tailgaiting at UK for football has just about always been a laid back, social eat, drink and be merry thing in the years we’ve gone up there. There isthe occasion alcohol fueled college kid or redneck who lays it on a little too ehavy, but…lord knows…all fan bases have those.

    Funniest moment of the afternoon was when we were walking into the game and passed this little old lady and her husband. As we walked by she piped at me..

    “Didn’t you get the memo? Blue clothes!”

    I smiled and fired back..

    “Server’s down.”

    Not sure if she understood that or not, but the two neutral clothed Asian guys walking next to us got a big kick out of it.

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