I loved going to Cardinal games in the early years at Freedom Hall, where they started playing full time in ’57.
Actually I’ve loved going to Cardinal games anywhere anytime, but, you know what I mean, work with me here.
My parents got season tickets, so we weren’t beholden any longer to dad’s employer for use of his seats, as we were at the Armory.
And, during one of those seasons in the late 50s, if under a certain age, kids could get a pass to get into all the games for, like, a dollar.
For the whole season, not per game. A Knot Hole Gang kind of thing.
Or, so I recall.
My pal Larry, whose folks were also super fans and season ticket holders, and I would roam the arena. There would only be 4000 or so for those games, so we could sit most anywhere we wanted.
A lot of times, we’d sit up at the top, far away from any fans. And announce the games.* Continue reading Fan Moments V: Early Days at Freedom Hall
Verbal provocateur that I would consider myself, I’ve never been a street fightin’ man.
Most certainly not now that I’m firmly embedded in my dotage, nor in my youth, frankly, have I ever been inclined toward fisticuffs of the physical variety.*
*As if there is any other manner of fisticuffs.
Truth be told, I came close to being in a fight only once in my life. Ironically, my propensity for using language as an attack tool played a role.
In English class my junior of high school, we were discussing something or another. And apparently I was more than a bit too critical of a fellow student, whose name was Frank, if I recall.
So much so, that Miss Miles held me after class for a moment and admonished me not to be so openly sarcastic in the future about another student’s opinion as I had been.
I walked out of the classroom, and the next thing I realized, I was laying on the floor, having been thrown across the hall against the lockers. Frank was, shall I say, displeased with how I had commented on class input.
He was ready to get it on right there, between 2d and 3d period. I had the wherewithal to suggest we meet after school instead to settle the matter. To which fortunately he assented. Continue reading Fan Moments IV: Smackdown in Stokely, Sorta
Here are excerpts from a winter 2005 piece I wrote after interviewing a fabled character from the greatest decade of Cardinal hoops, ’75-’86, a decade so abundant, the Cards cranked it to 11. Like, 10 years +1, get it?
(So I guess you could say I’m sorta plagiarizing myself.)
This would be the not so incredible but smile-inducing, true tale from those days of yesteryear when fandom was less scripted, more fun and wackoids ruled Freedom Hall. Fostered by the hard fact that Louisville’s Cardinals were the mack daddies of the college hoops universe.
So thank the bleak February heavens for Charlie Gabriel, with whom I had arranged an appointment for coffee. The married, fortysomething father, computer network consultant/job hunter living in Clifton, the brother of a broadcaster on the — egads! — UK radio network, was sunshine on a cloudy day.
In that magical season 25 years ago – a season when the Cards ruled with a thumbless power forward whose prosthesis was once retrieved from the garbage; during a campaign when U of L freaked out foes by setting up plays in pig Latin; when the Cards were champs so fresh that only a new gimme-some-skin five up high would do, Charlie Gabriel was also a pivotal player.
Ready or not, here comes the gory details of the origins, not only of the Unknown Musician, but of the C-A-R-D-S cheer and the roles of Earl Cox, “Wild” Bill Hagy and the pep band from Cincy. Continue reading Cardinal Fan Moments III: Unknown Musician
You know the 2A, like a bill collector with bad BO, is going to drop in for a not so social visit, but it’s always bracing when you hear the knock on the door.
So the long expected, but far from eagerly anticipated Notice of Allegations against U of L dropped like a shroud on a gorgeous spring Monday.
What I’d love to do is invoke the old saw about UNLV, that the NCAA is so mad at Tark the Shark, they put Eastern Idaho State (Or some equivalent non-power school) on five years probation.
So I wish I could be saying this: The 2A is so pissed at Louisville, it’s threatening Iona with the death penalty.
But no, so anyway . . . Continue reading NoA: Grim Reaper at the Door???
We’ve all got our own superstitions, our own manner of coping when our favorite team is playing. Especially when a game isn’t going well.
Here’s the tale of one of mine that’s worked pretty well at some critical times.
In the early 70s, there was a Missouri Valley away game against Wichita State I watched with friends, all Cardinal faithful, but not my usual gang.
The Cards were behind at the half. During that intermission, we filled our plates and cups, returning to the TV room for second half action.
The Shockers made a run out of the break, took the lead and pulled away a bit. The room turned tense, uncomfortable.
During the first timeout, our host realized that not all of us were sitting in the same seat as in the 1st half. Also somebody had turned off a lamp to avoid some glare on the screen.
He immediately implored, no demanded, we move to our original places, and that the light be turned back on.
Being Cardinal acolytes all, we realized the importance of doing our part, providing 110% spirit force to best help will U of L to victory. It worked. We moved to our original seating. Light on. Louisville came back, prevailed 91-84.
Like the diehards of every team and school, we have our quirky manner of dealing with such situations. Mojos. Talismans. Magic trinkets. Victory garb. Chants. Invocations. Continue reading Cardinal Fan Hoops Memories II: The Cardinal Meter
A quick explanation here at the starting line.
This series won’t really be about great or even gruesome incidents on the hardwood. Though such might creep into the dialog from time to time.
What it shall be about are those peripheral memories diehards cherish.
The term fan comes from fanatic, you know, indicating excessive and unabated zeal. The Latin derivation also includes a nod to divine inspiration.
Which any Cardinal fan should agree with, having experienced a moment when Wes Unseld would snatch the ball off the boards, turn in mid air and hurl it overhanded to Butch Beard at midcourt before landing. It’s a unique, oft mentioned talent that remains the gold standard still, decades after Westley’s retirement.
This series will be about memories, scenarios apart from action on the court. Stuff we remember, and rehash often, fostered by our fandom.
* * * * *
Francisco Garcia and Taquan Dean were a match. Continue reading Cardinal Fan’s Hoops Moments I: The Carbondale Escort & Francisco on Fashion
Since it can’t be ignored really in these weird times, just a brief mention of the oversized pachyderm in the room. Then I’ll move on. Or, at least, try to.
I miss the NBA playoffs, as I missed the culmination of the college hoops season, as I miss baseball, college and MLB.
Oh, for a day, catching the Cardinals at The Jim.
Sigh. Continue reading Random Thoughts on the World of Sports
I remembered very little about the June ’90 exhibition for charity, other than the “underdog” elders won.
And that Freedom Hall was filled with adoring fans, there to pay their respects, and catch one more look at the the first two Cardinal champions.
101-96 was the final, which I can say for certain, having just watched the replay, thanks to Doc, who sent me the link.
The game, which I’ve surely never before thought of rewatching was as sloppy as my sliver of memory seemed to recall.
But I’d forgotten how it played out. Continue reading Reflections on ’80 vs ’86 Exhi
In her piece at theathletic.com about how Charles Minlend Jr. ended up committing to continue his graduate studies on the Belknap Campus, Danielle Lerner tells this spicy tale:
In his three seasons as a high-scoring guard at San Francisco, he was often spotted dancing down the street on his way to class or practice. To put himself in the right frame of mind, before games he would curate weekly playlists spanning a variety of genres. The playlist content sometimes depended on who the week’s opponents were and sometimes on Minlend’s mood.
In advance of the 2020 WCC tournament, which would end up being the last week before the season shut down, Jack Harlow’s “What’s Poppin’” was the final song to pulse through Minlend’s headphones before he walked into the arena. The catchy single by the Louisville rapper includes the lyric, “I’m at the club with the basketball team / Me and the Cardinals are sharing a section.”
Jack Harlow. Ace Recruiter. Who knew?
Earlier in the week, after declaring for the Transfer Portal, Minlend listed these potential landing spots: Arizona, Indiana, Gonzaga, BYU, Butler, Arkansas and Mississippi State.
No University of Louisville.
Credit mind games. Continue reading Contemplating the Cards: Minlend’s Subliminal Recruitment & More
As if you hadn’t noticed, I’m somewhat of an obsessive when it comes to U of L Cardinal basketball.
There have been times in the days of yore when I allowed the fortunes (or misfortunes) of the Cards to dictate my well being. Not so much anymore, but, eh, you know . . .
Because of my fanaticism, you might say I’m a reliquary of Cardinal hoops memories.
(OK, I’m making myself laugh here. Though it is far from the only purpose of this little diversion, I vowed to somehow use that new word I just learned — reliquary — in the next thing I wrote. Tom Waits is quoted in NYT, using it in reference to the passing of his friend, noted music producer Hal Willner. So I have.)
Anyhow, back to the biz at hand.
In response to my recent gamecap of the Cardinals’ L to UCLA in the ’75 national semi-final, one regular member of my commentariat, send me a missive with the following list:
Best teams in U of L history by rank: Continue reading Seedy K Makes a List: Top 10 Cardinal Hoops Teams