Being a Louisville basketball fan has had its ups and downs the last two years. We have seen the Cards beat Kentucky, Duke (twice), North Carolina, and Indiana. We got to meet and grow to love Damion Lee and Trey Lewis. We have also suffered through half a season in which we knew we would not be participating in the NCAA Tournament because of a self-imposed ban. And when we finally did have a “normal” season, we felt more sanctions just looming over us, and we had an early second round exit against Michigan and Moe Wagner. And just when things started to feel normal again, this FBI mess started, and here we are.
It’s been tough as a fan. We grew up with and love this program. It’s who we are. It’s what we know. But in saying that, I can’t imagine what these players must feel like. Damion Lee and Trey Lewis came to UofL to play in their first NCAA Tournament. They were denied that experience because of something that they had nothing to do with. Quentin Snider is a hometown kid who chose to stay here and not go to Illinois. In his four year career at Louisville, he will leave having dealt with a postseason ban and then whatever the hell happens this year, if anything. And I say “if anything” because if it’s up to the NCAA, we might as well play in the next 10 NCAA Tournaments until we are told otherwise. Anas Mahmoud, Deng Adel, and Ray Spalding have also had to deal with all of this turmoil dating back to the 2015-16 season.
Speaking of Damion Lee and Trey Lewis, although they were only here for one season that was cut short, they were definitely fan favorites. And they gave us the slogan “I’ve got your back.”
Well it’s time to prove that. The first Red-White scrimmage is Friday night at 7:00. Tickets are $10. We know the regular season games will be packed. That’s just what this fanbase does. But this is the first chance to see the team and rally around them since all of this crap happened. They were recognized at halftime of a football game, but that was pretty impromptu. This event is planned. If you can be there, do it.
I know that it’s Friday night and there are other things going on. High school football will take some people away, as will the Zoo and all of that fun stuff in this city. However, if you can make it to this scrimmage, I am pleading with you to. Not for me. Not for David Padgett. Not for the University. But for the team. For these kids. (I realize they are young men, but as long as David Padgett calls them kids, I will follow suit.) For Quentin, Ray, Anas, Deng.
In true hyperbole, I think this is the most important Red-White scrimmage in the history of the program. We have had our ups and downs as fans lately. The players have been dealing with it too, but on a much more real level since, you know, they actually play in the games. We have all been hurting. It’s time to all be on the same page and come together.
This scrimmage is not a time to argue about if you think Tom Jurich should come back or not. It’s not the time for that. It’s not even the time to talk about hoping that other programs get brought down with us, because then that puts the attention somewhere else. This scrimmage is about the team and this fanbase showing how much we are behind them. We all need to be on the same team. We can talk about it all we want. Will we show it?
These Red-White scrimmages historically do not get very much hype leading up to them. I challenge you to post on your social media about it. Make people aware that may not be. Maybe we get some extra people in there that normally wouldn’t be. If you are going, post about how excited you are. If you can’t go, post that you wish you could be there. Maybe some people will see it that had no idea about the game. Hey, life happens and sometimes these scrimmages go overlooked by the common person. I know that doesn’t pertain to anyone reading this.
It doesn't matter what you think of Rick Pitino, Tom Jurich, the University, Postel, the Board, the Student Activity Center, the Thinker statue, or anything else. What matters is this team and the support that they need from us. Do you have their back? Prove it. See you at Yum.