I have hazy childhood memories of cheering for the Colonels. Then there is a game where the cards overcame yet another seemingly impossible deficit in an epically short time. The details are gone, but "that Bradley Game..." remains in the family lexicon as a reminder to never give up.
My favorite memory of Freedom Hall is when a friend and I left St. X and headed straight over to the Hall to "WAVE the Cards Home" after the 1980 championship. We had a half day or something because I remember getting there very early to get in line We were so pumped because there was no one there yet and we were sure to get some prime seats. Of course we got bored waiting and started walking around the building and discovered the back loading dock was wide open. Being teenagers, we walked right in.
We knew we weren't really supposed to be inside, so we looked for a place to lay low until they opened the doors to the public. We found this ramp that we thought led up to the upper level, but ended up in what turned out to be Freedom Hall's attic. We found all kinds of dusty equipment, lights, and other stuff that looked like no one had touched for years. I distinctly remember finding a cache of yellowed papers with stage layouts and lighting diagrams for a Beach Boys concert from 1965. We got so engrossed in all this stuff that we completely lost track of time, and the ramp we used to get up there in the first place! We finally found a door that turned out to be one of the spotlight bays and came out at the top row of seats into a jammed packed Freedom Hall. We didn't get the seats we wanted, but we did have a pretty fun adventure. I have tried to find that ramp again several times over the years but like Brigadoon, it must show up only on certain days when the moon is just right.
I'll miss the smell, the sticky concrete, and the fact that the games were great to watch whether you were down on the floor, or up in 330.
And the last thing I'll leave you guys with is my best approximation of the sounds that still bounce around Freedom Hall if you listen carefully enough. Sean Moth is well on his way to creating his own legacy, but no voice rang like a bell over the cheering crowd of Cardinal faithful like that of John Tong.
"At Guard... a 6'4" SOPH-o-MORE from LOOUEY-ville Male High School... "
GOWAAAL byyyye ....!"
"Tiiiime is OUT... on the floor."