Category Archives: Fandom

Let’s Get This Pigskin Party Started

OK, so the Fighting Schnells of Florida Atlantic have had their game with Southern Miss postponed/cancelled.

Les Miles has come down with the COVID.

Baylor has suspended football operations for a bit.

The health czars in Colorado have given the Buffs approval to start practice.

And the Brigade in Annapolis will be in Navy-Marine Corps Stadium to watch the Middies battle the Owls of Temple.

So it goes.

The yin and yang of football — and life — in this Year of Our Lord 2020. Though it’s hardly in balance. Much more yin — the dark side — than yang.

But we’ve got college pigskin to savor. Thank you, Bronconakurskius, Greek God of Gridiron. Continue reading Let’s Get This Pigskin Party Started

Seedy K’s Peerless Pigskin Prognostications: Week IV

The Houston vs. Baylor battle, put together mere days before, was cancelled. As the Cougars’ buses to carry them to Waco were waiting to be filled with footballers.

Little did I realize that would be the highlight of my weekly predictioneering.

Georgia Tech fell back to the norm against Central Florida. Boston College’s QB transfer from Notre Dame and new head coach won the day at Duke. Tulane let a 24 nil halftime advantage slip away, enabling the Midshipmen their biggest comeback in school history.

Which left it up to my Cardinals to save the day. Of which possibility I began to get queasy, when seeing that the mediocre Flames of Liberty overcame the horrors of the peccadilloes and precipitous downfall of Familia Falwell (Jr.), and upended Western Kentucky, Louisville’s opening game conquest.

Soooooooo, it was, sigh, an ofer weekend.

0-4-1 puts me at 8-9-1 on the season. Buoyed by the spirit force of Woody “Bear” Schnellenbechler, I forge ahead. Continue reading Seedy K’s Peerless Pigskin Prognostications: Week IV

Unrequited Cardinal Hoops Fantasy Exposed

For a long time I’ve fantasized about how the last score of years might have been for Louisville basketball, had Tom Jurich swung and missed on Rick Pitino, and been able to sign his second choice.

Jay Wright.

Whom I will get to in a moment.

First, a for personal story for context. How such a delusion worked out for me in the past.

Thus, I start with . . .

. . . Cindy Turner.

Whom I met in the 7th grade, immediately falling into what would prove to be the eternally unrequited morass of a major crush. Continue reading Unrequited Cardinal Hoops Fantasy Exposed

Last Card Fan in Stands has Hope

Red Ruffansore was not going to suffer the situation any longer.

Though veterans all of such pre-game preliminaries, his gang in the parking area outside IU’s Memorial Stadium had been trying for almost an hour to get a fire in the grill. To no avail, and to the bemusement of other tailgaters in the immediate vicinity.

Red — his nickname used per his request — looked at his watch. Then gazed toward the stadium, with a look of time and distance calculation in his eyes.

Taking one last glance at the cold grill, then at his companions, Red checked a pocket for his ticket, and, head down eyes forward, headed toward the gridiron with dispatch.

Red Ruffansore does not miss a kickoff of a Louisville Cardinal football game. At least not for four decades. With one exception, which we will address in a moment.

Nor does he miss a play at the end of a game, the extent of which dedication shall also be set forth soon enough.

The above moment from an away game is shared merely to underscore Red Ruffansore’s mindset. He is as faithful a Cardinal football fanatic as anybody. Continue reading Last Card Fan in Stands has Hope

Cardinal Pigskin What Ifs?: Pandemic Pondering

During normal times, an existence which we could not be further from, a preseason summertime conversation with your fan buddies might go something like this.

Sportsbee: “I heard Puma Pass has been awesome in workouts. Like the guy we always expected him to be, better than Micale. Quarterback controversy?”

X-Man: “That’s a joke, right? Tell me your kidding. Cunningham had the second best stats in the country last year. He’s on some player of the year watch lists. Are you and idiot?”

And so the colloquy would go . . . until the back and forth turned to the linebacking corps.

During these times, all such conversations always — always — begin with, “Do you think there’s going to be college football at all?”

Such it the reality of this daze we are enduring.

Which is why I’ve fallen into historical What Ifs?.

What if C.V. “Red” Money hadn’t led the Cards to an ofer ’32?

What if Johnny U. hadn’t become so good in the pros?

What if U of L had hired Bobby Bowden, who applied for the job, instead of Lee Corso? Continue reading Cardinal Pigskin What Ifs?: Pandemic Pondering

Fan Moments VI: Harry Bockman & The Schnell

Every campus has a guy.

You know, a character somewhat peripheral to school life, but who’s always around, insinuating, often annoying.

The guy who becomes a running joke of sorts.

In this day and age, he’d become a meme. In my student days, he was an annual mention in the Louisville Cardinal’s April Fools issue.

I’m talking about Harry Bockman, that guy in the Registrar’s Office. Everybody at U of L had an issue with him sooner or later.

I’ll get to his dislike for iconic football coach Howard Schnellenberger in due time, but first, the rest of his story. Continue reading Fan Moments VI: Harry Bockman & The Schnell

Cardinal Fan Moments III: Unknown Musician

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.)

Intro:

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

Covering the Cards from the Diaspora

Sometime in the late 60s or early 70s, I was driving home through Cincy on a Sunday when the Bengals were playing the NY Jets. The game was at UC’s Nippert Stadium, which then hadn’t been expanded or surrounded by buildings.

My pal and I stopped, and, along with a bunch of others, watched the game from a hill overlooking the stadium.

We could sense the action from that distance, but it was hard to observe any details from such a viewing spot. We got a sense of the action, but none of the subtleties.

That’s kind of how I feel at this juncture covering U of L football and the upcoming hoops season.

I blew out my knee in a fall 10 days ago. Surgery to reattach tendons. Rehab. Long long long recovery period ahead due to the nature of the injury and lengthy time necessary for proper healing.

So I missed most of the BC game over the telly because I was just out of it that day after the injury and a fitful sleepless night in the hospital. Continue reading Covering the Cards from the Diaspora

U of L CardFile: Mack keeps Promise, Schedule Conflict +++

Chris Mack, bless his heart, is a man of his word.

At his introductory press conference, he immediately endeared himself to the crowd. Though not as much as his toddler who won over everyone while scampering about hither and yon.

Mack reached out to the former Cardinals that fans have loved through the decades, welcoming them back from exile to again become integral parts of the program.

Which sounded great, but was it just lip service?

Thankfully, the answer to that is a resounding NO. He means it.

I had dinner the other night with some pals from our days matriculating at Belknap Campus. Including Mike Grosso.

I asked the former Cardinal big man if Mack had followed up on his promise.

Indeed he has, I’m pleased to report.  Continue reading U of L CardFile: Mack keeps Promise, Schedule Conflict +++