As in, like this easy.
There’s a cutie in your 10th grade Chemistry Lab, whom you stare at daily through the foaming beakers and Bunsen Burners. But are always afraid to talk to. Until one day, when exiting class, she smiles and says hello.
A few days later, your heart beating rapidly, you see her at her locker, and summon up the courage to approach. She doesn’t shoo you away with a “Outtamyface, creep.” She actually laughs at something stupid you say.
You float through the rest of the day fully in love. You are so fantasizing out the rest of your life with her. That night at the dinner table, your parents ask about your obvious ebullience. You turn crimson.
Your brother immediately starts ragging on you, “Chuck’s got a girlfriend, Chuck’s got a girlfriend.”
Easy like that.
Which I am inclined to be about Louisville Cardinal basketball, the great love of my life since way before 10th grade.
Truth be told, some teams through the decades have been more lovable than others. It’s not always how much success or talent. It’s the personality of the squad, and collectively as a team.
My least favorite Cardinal edition ever was the #1 overall seed.
Pluck counts a lot.
Provide me the slightest provocation and I’m smitten.
OK, we’re but two games in, exhibitions at that. Buuuuut I feel somethin’ stirring inside.
It’s too early to pen love letters, but to use the parlance of a high school pal, I am in serious “Like A Lot.”
* * * * *
Jarrod West’s mature presence, and Lock Down Defense. Midway through the 1st, he perpetrated a strip and steal, then fed the rock to Malik Williams for a breakaway slam, to push the score to 27-18.
All the catches & shoots. And makes. In rhythm. Feet square. In the flow of the O.
Be still my beating heart.
Jae’Lyn Withers aggressiveness at the 4, where he belongs. His feed to Sam Williamson along the baseline. Sam’s intensity off the bench.
That duo’s drives & dribbles to the hoop. So too, those of Dre Davis and Matt Cross and Noah Locke and El Ellis, and well everybody but the Bigs. They’re doing their own back down the defender deal.
Sydney Curry’s manly man rebounds.
That physical specimen Roosevelt Wheeler, who heretofore has looked like he hasn’t a clue, now looks like a does.
The ball movement.
The Ball Movement!
That, whatever issues we might have with Chris Mack aside, he’s turned over the offense for a Total Makeover.
How that’s increased the defensive tenacity.
* * * * *
Yes. I know. There is but a two exhibition game sample. A couple of walkovers.
West Georgia was a lot better than Kentucky State. But U of L was a lot lot better than against Kentucky State.
A shooting slash line of 57%/ 48%/ 74% would be worth noting, even against the Atherton Raven Rebels JVs.
I am not ready to start singing, “I have often walked/ down this street before/ But the pavement’s always stayed/ beneath my feet before.”
But I am, as if you couldn’t tell, excited and optimistic.
I am in full on Like A Lot.
Let’s get this party started.
—c d kaplan