My first Louisville sporting event was the Russell Athletic Bowl on Dec. 28th, and though I was aware of what might happen afterward, I never expected that I would witness first-hand the end of an era.
Little background about me: I'm from Long Island, NY, and have never been to Louisville. My first Cardinal experience was watching Edgar Sosa hit the game-winning shot vs. UK at Freedom Hall. From there, I slowly grew to become a Louisville Cardinals fan.
I have met many UofL fans and alumni through Facebook and Twitter, and have even left my stamp (an odd one at that) on Card Nation: I am the co-creator of Louie Cardinal's Fan Page (along with a UofL student). Yeah, call me crazy for creating a fan page for a mascot, but what I have said is: If The Oregon Duck, Brutus Buckeye, and other collegiate mascots can be common features on ESPN and other sport networks, why can't we help put Louie up there? Louie has all the characteristics a mascot should have, and Cardinal fans know their truest Cardinal is the best. Through the fan page, I wanted people to show some love to Louie by sharing cool memories and stories about him. I feel that one of the best methods of promotion is from the people that have positive experiences and wanting people to share them.
I'll stop there with the fan page promotion, but if you're interested, the fan page is on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/258430097592566/) and on Twitter (@LouieCardFanPag).
I had the amazing opportunity to witness my first Cardinal game in Orlando. I got to experience the Card pep rally, Card March, and the overall atmosphere of a Card gameday. I was fortunate to meet Red Bird (Gary), James Burgess's grandmother, and of course, the bird I created a fan page for: Louie. I even got to high-five Teddy. It's crazy to think he entered Louisville a year after I entered college & graduated a semester before me.
Every Louisville fan would agree with me, the game was amazing. Aside from the one little blemish in the beginning, the game was a Louisville classic.
But during the trophy presentation, Charlie Strong said something that stings me after what has occurred over the past week. When asked about the fans, he said "the best fans in college football". Nobody knew what would occur over the next couple weeks but seeing him leave was especially hard for me. Not only had he helped me become a Cardinal football fan, but he said those words at my first Cardinals game. I am stung, but I am still glad to be a part of Card Nation, one of the most loyal fan bases in the country!
The hiring of Bobby Petrino is one I cannot withhold myself from questioning but I think it's a good move given the circumstances. Petrino has won consistently on the collegiate level and he has helped us making conference changes. My hope is that he has genuine forgiveness and that he will move on from his past personal mistakes. Once he has proven he has moved on, then I will be all for it. I am cautiously optimistic, especially after the integrity Strong and Jurich have put in at the UofL. I hope we win at all levels, not just on the football field. Welcome back Coach Petrino.
I am glad to be a part of Card Nation and am excited about the future. Right now, I am working on my application to UofL's Sport Administration Master's program. The opportunity to be a UofL Cardinal, a student in one of the best programs in the country, and becoming a Cardinal fan present at games excites me. I love being a Cardinal fan outside of PA & hope to be a UofL student to add to the best fanbase in college sports. I'm excited about the future and what Tom has built.
You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Card Dominance, and here on Card Chronicle.
S/O to Mike Rutherford for all the wonderful content and Brandon Pry/Prudat for all the amazing photos.
S/O to the many members of Card Nation that I have gotten to know. Thank you for accepting me a part of the fam!