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Why I’m a fan of the Louisville Cardinals

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Welcome to the new-look Card Chronicle.

DeJuan Wheat

Welcome to the refreshed Card Chronicle! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card [http://blog.sbnation.com/2017/5/24/15685020/why-are-you-a-fan-reader-sweepstakes-announcement-and-official-rules]. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!

I can't tell you when precisely when I "decided" to become a Louisville fan. My guess is that many of you reading this can't either. All I know is there are tapes of me asking which team is "the good guys" very soon after the time I first learned to talk. All I know is there are videos of me in a U of L basketball uniform performing mock starting lineups at an age where psychologists say I couldn't form conscious memories. All I know is that for as long as I can recall, Cardinal sports have been something that I've cared about far more than I care about most things.

The seed was planted early.

For all of us, the timing of our entrance into this world comes with some positives and negatives. As far as my Louisville basketball fandom is concerned, most would say I was born at the perfectly imperfect time. I missed the '80s. There's no way around it. My parents hadn't met one another when the Cards cut down the nets in 1980, and I was hardly a living, breathing being when they did it again six years later. That's something of a bummer.

On the flip side, I didn't have to suffer through the years of futility that the other Cardinal sports outside of hoops endured in the decades before my arrival. Instead, I was able to watch and appreciate every step of the Louisville football's team climb to national relevance. From playing miserable opponents in front of small crowds inside a Minor League baseball stadium, to producing major bowl victories and a Heisman Trophy winner. I was able to experience firsthand programs like Louisville baseball and men's soccer go from not even being worthy of a paragraph in the local paper to feared national powerhouses. And when the Cardinals finally got back to the top of the college basketball mountain in 2013, I was able to appreciate it in a different way than I would have had I been spoiled by years and years of top-notch success.

Like many who are cut from the same cloth, I often associate years and life events with specific U of L sports memories. My first year at a new elementary school was the year Louisville beat Alabama in the Fiesta Bowl. My senior prom was the night before the Cards were stunned by Butler in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The year I got engaged was The Year of the Cardinal.

I’m sure most of you, regardless of when you became fans, have similar stories. This place and this program have a way of getting in your blood.

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