Once upon a time fans tailgated before games before joining thousands of Louisville fans at Cardinal Stadium.

Remember When: Tailgating and full football stadiums

How much longer must we endure this interminable pandemic?

Nine months in and going on forever, encroaching deeply on our lives, friendships and family relationships. Dictating that we hunker down on holidays, weekends, our daily existence. Daily exercising disease prevention, sometimes wondering if every ache and pain is the beginning of the end.

The masked Observer at a recent University of Louisville basketball game.

For the first time in 50 years, missing seeing every University of Louisville football game in person. None of those fun tailgating events, no sampling of new drinks, no pigging out, period. The only good news is tickets are already paid for the 2021 season. A huge assumption there will, in fact, be a season, and that there would be no limits on spectators or media, presuming the new vaccinations will permit a return to normalcy.

The basketball season proceeding on hit and miss basis, both the UofL men and women’s teams missing almost three weeks. Games being scheduled on one day’s notice, in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week. The Ivy League rushing to cancel the rest of the season already. One really has to wonder whether the NCAA basketball tournaments are at risk for a second straight season. Maybe the NCAA could go ahead and issue sanctions on UofL this year? [sarcasm]

If the pandemic is not brought under control soon, the financial well-being of college athletics will be seriously threatened. Numerous Olympic sports under the microscope, their futures being weighed. Numerous support staff getting the pink slips at schools across the country.

Thankful for big-screen televisions, streaming services, and creative approaches to media retrieval that enable one to see every game — regardless of whether they are blacked out locally by regional sports networks. If one waits until kickoff or tip off to find the network or channel, one risks being shut out of the game.

Hoping and praying Covid-19 vaccines and luck will enable fans to return to the arenas and stadiums en masse some day, not having to worry about mingling with friends and fellow fans. Fans cheering, roaring, their voices unimpeded by masks or other protective equipment, that’s the goal. Hopefully not just a dream from which we awaken, realizing where we really are, turning over and going back to sleep.

Charlie Springer

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

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