In the truest sense of the term, as University of Louisville fans, we now find ourselves amidst what can only be described as "The Golden Age" of Cardinal Athletics. No need to delve into all of the accomplishments because if you're reading this "blog" then you could list them off the top of your head like the names of your aunts, uncles, cousins, or siblings. No, I do not think that it is a stretch to say that we few, we lucky few college sports fans who pledge our alliance to all things Floyd-Street-Centric, are now looking down from the mountain top.
It's kind of a surreal feeling, is it not? I mean, when you think about where the two flagship sports were just a few years ago it almost doesn't seem possible,.... does it? If perception is reality then the reality was that we had a football program in shambles and a basketball program that couldn't get out of the first round of the NCAA tournament. Then, just when things were starting to look up again we were the smelly kid that none of the cool kids wanted to have at their birthday party.
Now look around at what you see. Are you not squinting from the aura of greatness? Are you not trembling at the sight of Tom Jurich, with his palms outstretched, demanding to know "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!" How could you not be? How could this not be, relatively speaking, close to how Roman Citizens felt when they looked down from the seven hills and beyond the horizon to the greatness of the empire that stretched out before them?
The on-field success, across the board, speaks for itself. There isn't a sport in Thomas Augustus Juricus' empire that doesn't bring pride to The River City. But it's not just the conquests, it's also the student athletes who make them possible. There has never, at least not in my life-time, been a more like-able group of representatives to wear a teethed bird on their uniforms. Kids who want to win, want to succeed in the class room, want to be active in the community, want to spread the message to anyone who will listen that greatness is the expectation here. They all seem to have just the right mixture of respect for their opponents coupled with just enough confidence to let them know that they will fight till the finish.
I marvel at it, I truly marvel at what the athletic department has become. It does however beg the question: Is this as good as it gets?
Will we all look back 20 years from now, at the glory we find ourselves basking in, and wish for a return to better times? I suppose that it would be hubris to want a run of good fortune, good people, and accolades to rival what we now have to enjoy. I just hope that one day I can look at young Cardinal fans and regale them with tales of what they missed when they find themselves overcome with the joy of a big moment. Doesn't that seem right?
Doesn't it just seem like it would be a betrayal to what we have, right now, if we looked back on it more when it isn't this good? I don't know, I guess "to each his own." I only know that now is amazing. It's more than one sports fan could hope to enjoy and I plan on enjoying it for as long as it lasts.
Because I'll tell you something else, if this is as good as it gets, then this is good enough for me.
"Since 2000 Louisville is the only NCAA team to win a BCS bowl game; to appear in the Men's basketball Final Four, the College Baseball World Series, the women's basketball Final Four; and to finish as runner-up in the Men's soccer College Cup. It is one of only six schools that has appeared more than once in each of the following events—a BCS bowl game, the men's and women's basketball Final Fours, and the College World Series. Louisville's span of seven school years (2006–07 to 2012–13) is the shortest among these six schools.
Also, it is the first school ever to win a BCS bowl game, appear in the men's and women's basketball Final Fours, win a men's Basketball Championship, and appear in the College World Series in the same school year (2012-2013)."
-Wikipedia (yeah, I did it)