We all know that guy that we grew up with who was always running his mouth just a bit too much. A good athlete, he would crow about how he was being “recruited” by all the best colleges and that in the very near future, he would be getting a scholarship offer from some school (usually far away and unverifiable) and be ready to unleash his talent upon the world. A pretty good athlete, this kid would play well in games and then talk about how much better he would do if he had a little more “exposure.” The kid would get on our nerves, in large part because although we liked him and respected his talent, he wasnt Bo Jackson, and he never would be. But then, our friend got a chance to be in the national spotlight, against the rival team from upstate. With the cameras on, he played a subpar game, embarrassed himself and ruined any chance he would ever have of reaching his unrealistic goals. And when it happens, you have mixed emotions. On the one hand, you are glad to see that he finally must accept the fact that he wasn’t as good as his arrogant self once believed. But on the other you feel a bit of pity…..for, without that delusional dream of unrealistic self-importance, what does he really have?
In many ways that kid is like the Louisville football fan base. We all have had to deal with them in recent years and they could truly be insufferable. Letting you know over and over that if the “big boys would just play us”, they would learn how good the Cards truly were. National championship thoughts were bandied about, insistence that their must be a playoff (to hide their Rutgers loss) and continued insistence that they were a “Top 10, maybe a Top 5 program.” After the Kentucky game, the chirping stopped….at least a bit and instead turned into the familiar sound of “what if”, “we got screwed” and “you got lucky.” But now one week later, not only have all of those rants subsided, they have been replaced by “Fire Kragthorpe” chants and the haunting realization that they just got run at home by the worst BCS team in America.
And while all this is in a way a bit humorous…..I kind of find myself feeling a sense of pity for my Cardinal brethren. Over the past year, listening to their delusions made me smile and actually provided great lunch conversation over the merits of their (slightly-off) arguments. But now, they have nothing…..there is no rationalization for what has just happened. No matter how bad Kragthorpe might be or how much talent may have been lost….they have given up 42 points to a winless MTSU team, been defeated by their hated arch-rival and embarrassed by a team that would not make the I-AA playoffs, much less a I-A bowl game. They have nothing left to say, and all they are left with is the equivalent of the “give the world the bird” reaction of their offensive linemen. And in a way that makes me sad. There was always something that provided balance in my life, when I could listen to Louisville fans tell me just how good they were and I could smile at their semi-deluded arrogance. Now that arrogance has simply been replaced by a feeling of pity. Here is hoping the Cards rise up (at least partially again)…..I much prefer to mock arrogance than sympathize with patheticness.