The phrase jumped out at me.
It was in theathletic.com’s Justin Williams’ autopsy of the travails of Cincinnati basketball, and the mass exodus of Bearcat netters, unhappy with the style of their coach.
Louisville fans are far from the only ones wallowing in angst, while watching 68 schools other than their favorite dance.
Given my forgiving and, I believe, understanding view of the Cardinals’ underwhelming performance this campaign, the words resonated.
Referring to the mental strain of college aged youngsters playing in this weird, COVID-impacted season, Williams underscored the difficulties, citing this:
“restrictions of the pandemic and the emotional anguish it levied”
* * * * *
I do not wish to rehash the issues the Red & Black Faithful have been arguing over since about 6:43 last Sunday, when the last name not Louisville appeared in the bracket.
Stagnant offense. Lack of player development. Mack seeming to somewhat blame his assistants. Etc, etc, etc.
We’re all on one side or the other. Arguing about such matters is what diehards do.
Here is what I am going to say — again really — and then move on.
(Because the Round of 64 tips in 47 minutes, and, sad as I am that my favorite team isn’t playing, I’m going to lock in and savor Ohio Bobcat Jason Preston, whom I told you about early in the season, every dribble, wrong block/charge call, Clark Kellogg’s rambling attempts at erudition, and missed or made buzzer beater.)
In my mind, because of the COVID, U of L as a team, all its players and Chris Mack (and his staff) get a pass.
The virus egregiously impacted the entire sport.
Some contingents have been able to deal with it easier than others.
The Louisville Cardinals were one of the others.
My guess is teams with more maturity, more connection with each other, more familiarity with their team’s system of play had an easier time.
Louisville, with one of the very youngest squads in the land, two transfers, and a spate of injuries, simply never fired.
From no summer practice, no campus activity, no hustling the ladies together at a campus party, too much isolation, too much time on Zoom, too many virus tests, several stoppages, missed games, is it legitimate to extrapolate and understand why four guys might stand around on offense, while Carlik Jones tom tommed the ball at the top of the key?
I believe it is.
I’m long in the tooth, have too many decades of life experience. Which I am seriously aware helped me deal with the last year.
I cannot even conjure what it must have been like for twentysomethings, teens, and subteens. And, those whose job it is to mentor them.
That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it.
I’m movin’ on.
— c d kaplan