Ironically, on #LouisvilleHateDay, the tenured student (8th year senior) who dons the Cardinal Bird mascot outfit during games disappeared, and the costume along with him. For once, KSR didn’t have a hand in this Louisville catastrophe. This disappearance was by choice, as this mascot decided he couldn’t go on with life any longer in The Ville.
Oh no, he’s not dead. Don’t worry. He’s just hitting the road like Kerouac, in search of meaning – something he just could not find in his many years at UofL. This guy has a really interesting story to tell. Actually, it’s more sad…kind of like a car wreck that you just can’t look away from. Don’t take my word for it, though. They found this note next to the empty bathroom stall pictured above, with a few urine-soaked red feathers next to it. Give it a read:
To whom it may concern…specifically you, Tom Jurich,
I can no longer live Dat Louisville Life. It’s too much. It’s suffocating me. With weed smoke and this damn Bird suit.
This outfit’s a hand-me-down, anyway. I’m a third generation Cardinal Bird; my older brother wore the feathers before me. I guess that makes me a perfect fit to represent ‘little brother’. But I accepted that a long time ago. What really drives me crazy is realizing that we will never be as good as we think we are. Our own inferiority complex has driven Louisville fans to lengths further than the worst UK fans are willing to go.
All I want to do is wake up every morning, trim my line beard into a perfect curve, crack a Keystone, and go on with my day. Is that too much to ask? I’m tired Cards fans abandoning reason. Tired of guys tailgating in flat bills with Crown Royal dripping on their Jordans. Tired of ignorant haters calling into rival radio shows to blab from their demented heads that we’re better than the Cats. We’re not. And it’s getting worse by the day.
And that’s not to mention the awfulness of the football team. These guys run around campus like people owe them something…and for what? For being in the cellar of the Big East? I remember my freshman year when a fraternity invited me to their party, but made me wear the costume for ‘morale support’ of the team. Before long, a crew of football players burst in. Trent Guy wielded a gun and pistol-whipped me on the head.* The next year, with breath smelling of a white grape owl cigarillo, Willie Williams often forced some walk-ons and myself to buy him breakfast, despite him having a meal card.* Brian Brohm would try to help, but I didn’t like the way he’d invite me back to his room for some ‘personal consoling’.
But that’s beside the point. Other than Will Stein offering me a chance to see his pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow and Vic Anderson requesting full body massages, I stopped paying attention to football players. But the basketball team I just can’t seem to avoid. It seems like just yesterday I was trying to tell T-Will and E5 that it was a bad idea to smoke out Michel Beasley while he was in town for the McD’s game.* Look how that turned out for him. From seeing Earl trade his McD’s shorts for … controlled substances* to seeing to UK fans beat the pants of Van Treese and Mike Marra and beer pong**, the basketball team has been a joke as far as character.
The worst happened one day when I was leaving the practice facility with the cheerleaders and I saw T-Will being locked out of the gym. Turns out, he and Jerry Smith got into a scuffle over a femme during practice, and T-Will went to his car and grabbed his gun.* The coaches had to talk Jerry into not transferring from a locked room.* I sat outside and watched…crying.
The salty tears tasted even more bitter from inside the mask. I learned that during many home game final buzzers.
I dedicated my life to these Cards, and got nothing in return other than the worst BCS bowl in history. Our 15 minutes of fame felt more like 15 seconds, except we’ve got nothing to show for it other than a creamy stain on our paints and a doctor’s bill from Cincinnati. In fact, because of all my time spent traveling with the teams, my girlfriend of 8 years left me. Sure, part of the reason was the fame she got from her second time being featured on Teen Mom, but she promised it wouldn’t happen a third time with a different guy. She lied.
On the way to the basement equipment cage where they keep the costume next to a Pat Forde-frequented notorious glory-hole*** this morning, I noticed all the people around U of L’s campus wearing Kentucky gear. I realized they had it right. They weren’t this big evil group of people I should hate. Instead, they were a crowd of loyal followers for a team with class and history, and now an insane amount of talent and star-power. I looked in the mirror a moment ago and finally took the Cardinal Bird mask off for the last time. This was no longer the place for me.
It is time to move on to a new home, like…Lexington.
Purvis Wesley Darryl Ignatow
* = not a joke, actually happened.
** = actually happened, and one of the UK fans was me.
*** = there really is a notorious glory-hole at U of L…so I hear