Slip slidin’ away/ Slip slidin’ away/ You know the nearer your destination/ The more you’re slip slidin’ away
There’s more to my invocation of Paul Simon’s lyrics than the obvious, the stark reality that notwithstanding Joe Lunardi’s projected hard to believe inclusion, U of L’s participation in the NCAA tournament is now a long shot.
There’s also the imperative that diehard Cardinal fans, like myself and most who shall read this, are wise to grab ahold of whatever else they can to move beyond the unfathomable disappointments of the last months.
Part of what I do is rock & roll. So, in the aftermath of Thursday’s numbing meltdown, I completed plans for my annual trek next month to New Orleans for JazzFest, and scored tickets to Simon’s last American concert ever this coming June in Nashville.
I need the anticipation, the escape from depression that the UVa giveaway brought, as well as confirmation that there’s more to life than U of L hoops.
I have often joked that I’m too long in years to allow my personal well being to be dictated by the hardwood fortunes (or misfortunes) of teenaged hoopsters. Yet, I’ve never fully been able to move on.
I keep trying.
* * * * *
I’ve written before how during tense, turning point moments in a game, I’ll invoke the mantra of my pal, The Bail: Be the Cardinals.
What I pray will happen then is that some current Card will morph into Lancaster Gordon in Knoxville in ‘83. With the Cards behind UK in the 2d, the Cats had scored on a too easy hoop to increase their lead. As Caster grabbed the ball falling from the net, he slammed it to the hardwood and angrily proclaimed, “Enough of this shit.”
Gordon took charge, scored 24, pilfered the rock four times and led U of L to what remains in many minds the program’s most cherished victory.
Truth: U of L always Be the Cardinals.
And four losses in the last five regular season tilts is what this team is. This is the Cardinals today.
The meltdown against UVa, sad, incomprehensible, frankly almost mathematically impossible, is what this team is. This is the Cardinals today.
15 turnovers against a similarly mediocre Wolfpack contingent ready to give away the regular season finale is what this team is.
This is the Cardinals today.
That’s the facts, Jack.
* * * * *
Under stunning outside circumstances, these obviously flawed but eminently decent kids have proven time and again that there’s no contender quality there there.
David Padgett, who left a timeout on the table with his team in disarray late against the Cavaliers, has done his best. But his best, at his tender age, not ready for prime time, is Derby Dinner Playhouse, not Broadway.
NIT more likely than NCAA.
* * * * *
Is it necessary to rehash one more once the ill advised habits and tendencies of each of the significant members of the squad, all of which showed up at one time or another against NC State? How there’s never really been any jell?
Correct answers: No.
Those who love the Cardinals and follow them religiously and take to constantly examining the team under a microscope know the flaws all too well.
There’s no reason for reiteration, no need to pile on.
So I shan’t.
* * * * *
It took 36 hours after that Cavalier game winner banked in Thursday night for my anguish to subside.
It took a walk with my darling beagle Abbey in Cherokee on a brisk, sunny Saturday afternoon for the hole in my soul to disappear.
It took the anticipation of upcoming musical frolics, of breaking bread with good friends, to breathe fully again.
The loss in Raleigh was for me a given. I expected nothing more. I’m sad it came about but not distraught.
This is what is. This is the Cardinals today.
Do I pray for a miracle run in the league tourney, some newfound grit and style and substance that might propel Louisville to the Dance?
Of course. I’m a fan.
Bummed as I am about all that’s gone down and is yet to come, I still ain’t goin’ nowhere.
There’s hope scheduled for Wednesday noon.
-- Seedy K