Skip to content

Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.

L is for Life

Pleased to be joined by ESPN’s master of emotion, Tom Rinaldi, who brings us a story that hits close to home. Too close to home. Like, watching you shower and stuff.

 

Gameday.

For sports fans around the world, this is their day. A day, for them, the sports fans.

The anticipation, the anxiety, the confidence, the trash talk…it all leads to today. Gameday.

In college football, gameday goes by another name: Saturday. Here in Louisville, it can also be known as Tuesday, or Wednesday, maybe Thursday, but typically Saturday, when tens of thousands of University of Louisville fans flock to Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium to do what fans do: root, root, root for the home team.

They come in red, in black, meshy tank tops and weathered wife beaters. They paint themselves like warriors on the precipice of battle, or like birds with yellow beaks and bright red feathers, hoping for a chance to fly.

Then there is the ubiquitous hand signal that unifies them all: known simply as L’s upLouisville fans use this sign like a badge of honor, a fraternity handshake of sorts that lets everyone know that they indeed belong. That they, are home. That they are in fact L, and at least in this moment in time, up.

But what would you do if you could not L?

 

(Ed.’s note: to get the full Rinaldi effect, keep this music playing as you read.)

Would it make you less of a fan? Does it mean you are not really a part of the club? Do you pee sitting down?

These are the questions Kyle Reed must answer, not just on gameday, but everyday. For Kyle Reed, you see, can not L.

[Kyle]: “I’m Kyle Reed, Louisville’s biggest fan. Go Cards, Go Krogerin. L1C4. And I suffer from acute carpal tunnel syndrome. I’ve managed to get by alright, I know I’m lucky to have the rest of me in working order…but it’s tough on gameday…when you want to L-up and…and it’s just not there. Best you can do, on a good day, is a lowercase ‘r’ lookin thing, sometimes it just looks like I’m flippin people off.”

There are millions of Americans suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome but perhaps none who suffer more than Kyle.

“I ran a jackhammer for Metro for 11 years. My hands would hurt and lock up on me sometimes but I didn’t think much of it. Then one day about 8 years ago, my thumbs and index fingers just…gave out. It’s like they went to sleep and haven’t been heard from since.”

The pain in his eyes reflects the pain in his hands and inside that bleeding Cardinal heart.

“Some people wish they could fly, or go invisible. I just want to L-up man. I just…I want my boy to see his dad L-up, one time.”

It’s an especially cruel twist of fate. Imagine, a pirate with no sword. A hen without any eggs. A stripper, with no pole.

“One particular gameday a couple years ago, we’d just scored a Touchdown and the guy behind me is like, ‘hey doofus, get your L-up or get the L-outta here.’ I tried, and sure enough, all I got up was my middle finger. So, we had it out. Got asked to leave.”

Asked to leave. Kicked out of his own home. For something, he could not control.

[Shelia Reed, wife]: “It got so bad, last year, when we was scorin all them points, everyone’s high-fivin and twerkin and got their L’s up, Kyle just got up and walked out. Said he was done with it, never goin back. But he settled down and we moved on. My heart just hurts for him. God, please send a miracle.”

Sure enough, earlier this year, God sent his miracle.

Reed has been meeting with a team of specialists who are prepared to perform a series of operations on his hands that could give him full usage of his digits, and maybe, get his L’s up.

“Doctors told me it’d be a longshot but I’ve been counted out my whole life and always seem to hit the board.”

 

Today is gameday. Today, after 4 grueling procedures and countless prayers, Kyle Reed gets to remove his cast and find out once and for all, L’s up, or L’s forever down.

At the hospital, Kyle struggles with his emotions, but his patience and perseverance, are soon rewarded. The cast comes off. It’s the moment of truth.

Finally, after 8 long years of anguish, of feeling like an outcast, of unintentionally flipping people off, Kyle puts his L up.

Laughter, cheers, hugs and generally inappropriate groping fills the hospital room.

“Tell you what…(fighting back tears) that was, that was even greater than I ever imagined it could be. (now sobbing) I feel like…I feel like I can do anything now. I got my…I got my L’s up dad, this one’s for you, I know you’re watchin.”

Someone else is watching, too.

[Charlie Strong, entering the room with a teddy bear and balloons]: “See you got those L’s up man, that’s great. That’s strong, Cardinal Strong. I want you to have these balloons and this teddy bear.”

“Thanks so much Coach, you didn’t need to do this, you’re the greatest.”

“There’s one more thing…I want you to lead us out of that tunnel on Saturday, with them L’s ablazin. Can you do that for me?”

“Oh my God, you better believe it Coach! I’ll have my L’s up like this…”

“Whoa, whoa big man, let’s keep them L’s in the holster ’til it’s time to fire. Don’t want anyone gettin hurt.”

 

So there Kyle Reed stood last Saturday, in the tunnel, L’s up high and perfectly pointed, emotions on his sleeve as he charged onto the field and into salvation. He was home again.

To love. To feel. To heal. To cheer…to L. It was gameday. His day.

 

Article written by John Dubya

The Twitter: @Johnawilk

31 Comments for L is for Life



  1. HillbillyInBC
    9:56 pm September 12, 2013 Permalink

    Solid work, J Dub.



  2. Louisville1Cal4
    10:08 pm September 12, 2013 Permalink

    As much as I hate UofL & as stupid as the “L” hand sign is, this was a good read. Almost makes UofL fans seem like people instead of animals too haha But seriously, glad the guy is okay, hope he never has trouble with his hands again & he can throw up all the L’s he wants.



  3. Travis
    10:11 pm September 12, 2013 Permalink

    Excellent piece! Very creative and hilarious. Great post, man!



  4. Chris
    10:12 pm September 12, 2013 Permalink

    I understand the hate and all of the back and forth, but why do something like this when you have no chance? This game is already over.



  5. Tim from Hendo
    10:22 pm September 12, 2013 Permalink

    I am so happy for him. Here’s hoping his team can put a game in the L column on Saturday for him…..seems fitting.



  6. Ha
    10:23 pm September 12, 2013 Permalink

    Gotta love UK fans. Even their satire is awful.



  7. Dan
    10:27 pm September 12, 2013 Permalink

    Everyone in Louisville needs to password protect their wireless to keep the u of l fans from stealing their connection and posting on ksr.



  8. Bob
    10:29 pm September 12, 2013 Permalink

    #2 as much as I enjoyed the post, your comment made me laugh even harder. Thank you.



  9. Joe
    10:34 pm September 12, 2013 Permalink

    I see Tom Ronaldi got his phd from the Jim nantz school of gay! A tradition unlike any other!



  10. BackdoorSlider.com
    10:43 pm September 12, 2013 Permalink

    That is AWESOME!

    I stand by my thought that God and Vegas will not let Louisville win this weekend.



  11. Micki DeMoss's Mustache
    11:16 pm September 12, 2013 Permalink

    The music really does make it better.



  12. The High Priest
    12:02 am September 13, 2013 Permalink

    I thought this was a website dedicated to UK Sports, not an Oprah episode. Now if this was about a UK fan who had CTS and after surgery flipped off a stupid UofL fan, now you are on to something.



  13. Sarcasm
    12:24 am September 13, 2013 Permalink

    Louisville1Cal4 and High Priest, please tell me you’re not dumb enough to think this was a real story.



  14. Wha hoppen...
    1:06 am September 13, 2013 Permalink

    Did anything ever happen with that Bridgewater/Manziel signing a bunch of merchandise? That die on the vine?



  15. Willdaddy Cards Fan
    1:08 am September 13, 2013 Permalink

    Hahahahaha. I’m a Cards fan and thoroughly enjoyed this article. I don’t get on here much, but I feel like this was entirely made up and sarcastic. Still, great creative story. I’ll have my L’s up high in honor of this guy, whether he exists or not. This kinda shit is what makes our rivalry so much fun



  16. UKBlue
    1:17 am September 13, 2013 Permalink

    It would be hilarious if one of the idiots in the national media picked up this story, and got the other idiots in the Lville fan base to believe it. L1C4, L’s up, o wait, that story wasn’t true. L’s up only makes UL look even more sad & pathetic nationally then everyone already thinks of UL. UL fans don’t think UK fans respect them, they should see what people outside of KY think of them. It’s even more sad & pathetic UL has had to use a PR firm to try getting out all this positive national media coverage.



  17. kittylitter
    1:28 am September 13, 2013 Permalink

    Gay. Robo gay. Liberace gay.



  18. ktmiln2
    8:06 am September 13, 2013 Permalink

    Excellent



  19. Jeremy
    8:15 am September 13, 2013 Permalink

    Masterpiece, truly a masterpiece.

    I cried from laughter.

    CATS



  20. red headed step child
    8:24 am September 13, 2013 Permalink

    What a great story, until Kyle finds out he is going to lose his disability check. Now the guys sitting behind him will have class envy and still want to fight poor Kyle.



  21. Poppschmidty
    8:54 am September 13, 2013 Permalink

    Great read. Glad for the guy. Now, get this stuff off of KSR. Let them throw their “loser” signs, perfect their line beards, and drink Crown….Go Cats!



  22. RahRah
    8:55 am September 13, 2013 Permalink

    Gold! Made me laugh out loud for real.



  23. Jax Teller
    8:57 am September 13, 2013 Permalink

    *stands*
    *starts a slow clap*
    Excellent.



  24. jimbob
    9:11 am September 13, 2013 Permalink

    *stands*
    *farts loudly*
    Taco Bell.



  25. RealCatsFan
    9:18 am September 13, 2013 Permalink

    I always thought that sign was the worldwide universal sign for “loser” anyway. Even Smashmouth wrote about it as such in one of their songs. So in effect, when a Card fan throws his “L” up to another fan, is he in fact telling that fan he is a loser? Are they telling each other?



  26. theWilkman
    9:29 am September 13, 2013 Permalink

    If you can’t tell this is sarcasm from the start, you should probably log off the internets for a while.



  27. Card Fan Here
    9:52 am September 13, 2013 Permalink

    Funny. But how come none of those typical Cards fans in the photo are wearing “a red (or black) meshy tank top or weathered wife beater?”



  28. GC
    10:20 am September 13, 2013 Permalink

    This is the funniest thing I’ve seen on KSR in a long time. You nailed it!



  29. Rockfield, KY
    10:22 am September 13, 2013 Permalink

    The “L” sign was ripped off from LSU fans. Their fanbase is completely unoriginal.



  30. john
    10:38 am September 13, 2013 Permalink

    can we get this in a link so we can share it on social media as a legit story?



  31. Grumpy
    12:51 pm September 13, 2013 Permalink

    They only thing that would make this story funnier is if someone created a Facebook account for this sad cawrd fan. Classic