Our seniors, as we best remember them
Immediately after the buzzer of the UK/Wichita State game, I started thinking about writing this stuff down. I’ve found over the course of my life that writing helps to clear my head and really identify how I feel about a given situation, and this is no different. I also normally don’t assign a lot of impact to sporting events (I’m already over the Super Bowl, and I’m a huge Peyton Manning fan and have been since he was at Tennessee).
But this time, and this team, is different. I’ve been a UofL fan since I was small – both parents graduated from UofL, and my family’s had a presence in this city for decades – but I was not really invested in those teams much. Maybe it has something to do with the fact I was born less than a month before the ’86 championship game – my mother always tells me I was a good luck charm, and for years it felt like all my luck got used up before I even got to realize it.
Then 2012 happened, and 2013 followed it. I got to invest my son in it, this time in a (hopefully) more positive way for him. Through some of the challenges this season, we’ve gotten to watch the last act of a truly amazing senior class of players that we will likely never see the equal of ever again. There may be better groups, and there may be those that win the same or more number of games, but for this generation of fans they’ve already carved themselves into our collective myth spaces.
That’s why when I started to write this post as an Every Day Should Be Saturday Hate Week style post, I stopped. If you haven’t already checked that site out, frequently, (especially for the Hatin’ A** Spurrier posts, among other things) you should, and they do great work.
But writing a Hate Week styled post would make this into a post about why I don’t like Kentucky and give them time they don’t deserve. As I thought about it more, I realized two things: One, this game is hugely important because we’re playing Kentucky, and I’ll get to that in a minute, but also, how lucky are we? As I said, this team is already in our collective memory as the GOAT class of players from a wins/loss perspective, and for those of us not really alive for Griffith, Unseld, and Pervis, for their heart and their character and their stories. I know that’s been repeated, almost ad naseum, but repetition bears fruit when it’s something as important as this. I’ve come to realize it, and it’s heightened my enjoyment of this last postseason run with Luke and Russ and Tim and Steve. You should as well.
Getting to the whole reason for this post – I want them to win. Well, of course I do! But again, this game is different. Consider this – losing this game, in this way, will hurt. It will hurt because it will allow all those insufferable coworkers who have finally had to shut up for the last twelve months, because, well, NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP, to come back and once again claim that the preceding Year of the Cardinal, in basketball terms, was nothing but a fluke. I disagree. But that’s why we don’t want to lose. Here’s why we want to win.
We want to win for Luke and Russ, because winning this game means silencing the haters and the doubters, once and for all.
We want to win because it means proving that last year’s "weak field" didn’t matter, because we were strong.
We want to win because it will finally, once and for all, put to bed the "talent beats experience" mantra.
We want to win because, as Mike pointed out in N&N, this existed less than a day after Kentucky finally did something meaningful with their season.
We want to win because this is not pride or belief in your team, but unrivaled hubris and entitlement from a group of fans that cannot even acknowledge our success when it has nothing to do with them.
We want to win because Louisville First, Cardinals Forever is NOT just a slogan. It’s a way of life that has been building to fruition over these past few years, and for it to reach its’ full potential we need this game more than they do.
That’s all I have to say about that. Oh, this too: