NOW IS THE TIME, fellow Cardinals, now is the time. Today we have the chance to firmly plant our flag in the state of Kentucky. To declare, RESPECT or GET OUT OF THE WAY. Many of us, like myself, were born in the mid eighties and our parents lived the Cardinal dream. Oh the stories we’d hear, Darrel this and Pervis that, while Rick Pitino rebuilt the Cats into a powerhouse.
Denny had some good teams, even made the sweet sixteen, but Uk was getting final fours and then Championships. As a boy, my family moved from the Highlands to just outside Louisville, at that time firmly Cat territory. I would wear my Louisville gear to school and get made fun of for it. Taking shit from UK fans became the name of the game for many of us young Cardinal fans, but we kept the faith, Louisville would not be the next Cincinnati, or worse…. Depaul.
And so Rick came. Things were better. There was a life about the program that I hadn’t felt since the early nineties. The spirit was BACK, we could WIN. 2005 was a good year. I was 19 when Louisville went to that final four and I really loved that team. Cisco, Fish Face, Dean, what have you, I fell in love with the Cardinals like a child again.
But nothing could compare to 2012. 2012 was the game changer. In 2012 Louisville basketball became the most individual club in all of division 1, and I believe that’s all because of 2 young men. I’m not going to sit here and type out all my thoughts on Peyton Siva, I’ll only say a few: Peyton Siva did amazing things for Louisville basketball. He personally transmogrified Rick into Louisville Rick. His passion, his spirit, his love, his heart, made Louisville Basketball what it is today. Oh, and then there is Russ. Russ Smith is probably one of the 5 greatest basketball players to ever put on that uniform and he does it with a style unique upon himself, with a power, a language, a theory, that are mysteries to all of us laypersons. Russ Smith does not play basketball, Russ smith molded Basketball around his own personal sport. He makes me smile.
The Louisville Cardinals make me smile. We are everything that the University of Kentucky is not, and for that I am proud. When they complain about false adversity, we ARE adversity. When UK smugly brings up the past, we humbly embrace the present, and the FUTURE. We are the misfits. We are the rag tags. We are the outcasts. We are the toys that Andy forgot, and we’ve become America’s darlings.
So, Fellow Cardinals, NOW IS THE TIME. The stage is set. The curtain rises at 9:45PM.