Waiting For Football

Two months away from the beginning of the football season and tailgating. Seems like forever. The fall weather, combined with football, parties and marching bands, makes PaIMG_0034pa John’s Cardinal Stadium the place to be. This observer just enjoys ambulating through the crowd, getting a natural high from being around so many University of Louisville fans.

Wonder about the person or persons who bought the old bus, painted it black and red, emblazoned with it with Cardinal logos. How long have those guys been U of L fans? How many fans have they converted to U of L over the years? Get their friends together six, seven or eight times a year, coordinate an elaborate smorgasbord.You can’t eat the same thing every week, or can you? Have to wonder where these guys store that vehicle between games and during the off season.

Then there’s Yoda. Wouldn’t be a University of Louisville football game without Yoda perched high atop the recreational veIMG_0049hicle in one of the rows closest to the tunnel leading into Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Yoda is chauffeured to the Green Lot weekly by the good folks at Pepsi, who have held the concession rights for soft drinks at U of L games for over 30 years. The Pepsi people always seem to be having a good time entertaining their corporate clients.

You never know who you will run into in the Green Lot, sometimes people you didn’t know were U of L fans. Funny, how your perception of them changes when they follow the Cards. Fortunately ran into a guy from church a few years ago when we were needing some extra tickets. He had extras, no charge, and we have continued to bond since that game.

Card March is never to be missed. Fans can tell a lot from looking at the faces of the players as thIMG_0083ey descend the steps from the Denny Crum overpass. A lot. Do the players have their game faces on? Or are they expressionless, bored, scared? Are they distracted by the Lady Birds or cheerleaders to the point of losing focus?

Stopping at the marketing booths outside the front gate, pick up free lottery tickets, free cookies or doughnuts, throw a football and try to win a new T-shirt, sing at the Fischer’s Bacon Making People booth, get the free posters, key chains, all the stuff. It’s part of the experience.

Getting inside the stadium an hour early to watch the players warm up, still marveling at the facility built largely by Card fans and how far things have advanced since U of L was playing football at Fairgrounds stadium. Catch up with how neighboring fans have fared since the last season or the most recent game. Learning to ignore the cliches and comments of some fansIMG_0082, knowing when to interrupt the guy with the ear plug to get the scores of other games. Knowing that the guys behind us will quietly leave sometime during the third quarter.

Sitting on the edge of the seat, knowing which of my frantic pleas work and don’t work when trying to shut down an opposing offense. Praying my wife will forgive for being irritable during football games. Leaving the binoculars at home because U of L always seems to do better when you don’t bring them. Getting a new cap every season, wearing it as long as things are going well. Some seasons – like last season — going through several different hats.

Leaving the stadium, the cheers echoing in the tunnel, tossing coins in the jazz player’s bucket, dodging the porta pots, marveling again at some of the elaborate tailgating setups, including the one on the main aisle with the super loud sound system. Having no desire to party with those guys, but knowing they know how to rock. Nudging the car through the parking lot, listening to the coach’s post-game show.

Nothing like it. Can’t wait to do it again.

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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.

4 thoughts on “Waiting For Football

  • June 28, 2008 at 5:29 am

    Yes, it is not a good sign

    when you see the players are bored

    or scared!

    of the Ladybirds and cheerleaders…. ; – )

  • June 28, 2008 at 8:18 am

    Scared of the opponent, Frank. Could have phrased that a little better.

  • June 28, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    that Cardinal bus and he is a die hard, love ’em win or lose Cardinal fan who bleeds Cardinal Red and Black. Gerard is a great guy and he loves that bus……it rocks on road trips !!!!

  • June 28, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    when I posted my comment, for some reason it cut the beginning of it off…..Gerard is the guy who owns that bus……

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