The period between the end of the Louisville basketball season and Derby has always been the strangest of the calendar year for me. For the first time in seven months there's not a Cardinal football or basketball game to look forward to, and the readjustment to that life which you can hardly remember is...awkward. The best way I can describe it is as a mixture of sadness, relief and confusion.
The come down this year has been as severe as any. From covering the college basketball postseason in its entirety for SB Nation, to keeping tabs on U of L's incredible run through March on here, to spending Final Four weekend in New Orleans, and then capping everything off with a bachelor party in the Bahamas right after getting back; it has without question been the most insane, busy and memorable six-week period of my life.
I wouldn't trade the memories for anything, but I'm almost equally fond of this return to "normalcy" (whatever that is). Last night I laid on the couch at CC Headquarters and watched Armageddon on FX. I didn't have it on in the background to avoid feeling lonely while writing or editing, I wasn't constantly refreshing Twitter to make sure I hadn't missed any breaking news; I was just watching Armageddon.
Right now, it's almost difficult to place anything that happened over the past month. There are oddities like the Davidson game feeling like a blur from sometime in 2010 while the Michigan State win may as well have happened two days ago. I don't know, it's weird. Sometimes all you can do is lie down and watch Armageddon.
There are certainly things to look forward to; Saturday's Spring Game ought to be an extremely good time, the Louisville baseball team appears capable of making it back to the NCAA Tournament and doing some serious damage there, the softball team is tremendous, and then, of course, there will be the big recruiting stories and other madness that make the dead period the ultimate harbinger for long-lasting CC memes.
There will also be proper time for reflection. We just experienced one of the more memorable and significant postseasons in U of L basketball history, so proper celebration and story-sharing is justified. I'll get the ball rolling later today with Part I of my New Orleans experience.
The main theme of the offseason, however, will undoubtedly be the look ahead to what could be one of the most exciting and successful athletic seasons in Cardinal history.
After being picked to finish last in each of Charlie Strong's first two years on the job, the Louisville football team may enter 2012 as the Big East favorite. The Cards appears fully capable of winning double digit games and making it back to the BCS, a pair of accomplishments they haven't hit since the 2006 season.
On the basketball side of things, Louisville figures to begin the season ranked somewhere in the top ten, most likely the top five. There is no limit to the things that could happen between now and early November, but as of right now - considering his team and the national landscape - this appears to be Rick Pitino's best shot at a national championship during his time at U of L.
I'm pretty sure we'll be able to find some things to talk about.
While the past six weeks have been an insane journey that I'll remember for the rest of my life (and I'm sure a lot of you feel the same way), I am so ready to get back into the flow of things here and excited about all the things that might take place in the coming months. And if it's on, I'm probably going to watch Deep Impact tonight.
Possessed by your love, under the influence. And though there's a new lifeline, I won't forget the one I left behind.