L-yes it hurt
Allow me to tell you about that kid you knew growing up. For security purposes, we’ll just call him Lil’ L. This was the friend who was really fat and un-athletic, donned a seemingly permanent Kool-Aid and/or Cheeto dust mustache, and probably had a fancy set of shocks on his Huffy that made him feel cool, when all the while you knew they were simply necessary add-ons to support the fatness. His breath stunk, his cankles made you laugh, his toys never worked, and his favorite team was the one that just won the championship. In school, he wasn’t officially classified “special ed” but his classes were still in that remote corner of the school you’d never ventured and he was monitored during recess. As youth segued into adolescence, he hit a growth spurt and Lil’L became UofL. He was thinned out and even found a touch of coordination. As it turned out, there was a heap of athleticism submerged in that gravy balloon. His off-road Huffy became a candy painted Jeep Wrangler with tinted plastic and brush guards, even though we all knew it would never actually leave asphalt. He discovered breath mints, Coolwater, L.A. Looks (#8), and The Insane Clown Posse. Suddenly, the fat kid with cankles and pit-stains became a conceited douche bag with a trashy-hot girlfriend (most weekends anyway) and a chip on his shoulder. So now all he wants to do is talk about how great he is, and all you want to do is tell him, “Remember when you were a fat-ass?” I guess what I’m trying to say is, UofL is Jared from Subway.
And so goes this Kentucky fan’s hatred of the Louisville Cardinals. Before you lurking Card buffs go playing the ‘jealousy card’, this rant in not a consequence of envy. I’ll be the first to admit UofL’s athletic department is making substantial waves, and their football program has certainly exceeded Kentucky’s since the arrival of Brian Brohm and Sssssnake Petrino. But I can’t help but look through my biased microscope at the Cardinal fan base and wonder why and how they arrived at this point. What happened in their lives that steered them red? But when you look at it in the bigger picture, the riddle is but a clear-cut reflection of our polarizing society: some people simply prefer the “new school.” The “crunk” themed PA music, the all black uniforms, and the unapologetically gangster English L logo. If the mantra “L Yes” floats your boat, then who am I to flood the deck? But is this really what you want, Card fan? Are you really that enamored with a commuter school’s athletics, “It’s hot as L in here” signage, Papa John’s new Philly Cheesesteak pizza, and the vaunted Big East that it brings you to detest the school that bares your state’s name? I mean, where is the value?
See, I never really detested the Cards until the inception of their fan base eight years ago. Growing up they were always just that team down the road devoid of conference affiliation, home game seat occupation, and a unified campus. Now, all of a sudden it’s “blackouts” and trash-talking like your fan base comprises 2% of the state or something. It’s the same phenomenon with Johnny Cash. Try and play Cash in front of some girls a few years ago, and you probably got a lot of “turn it, I wanna dance,” or, “who is this, your grandfather?” Then, Joaquin Phoenix (Petrino) learns his songs and marries Reese Witherspoon (Brohm), and “we’ve loved Johnny Cash since we were little.” Puh-lease. Dare I ask Card fan, if you were in full support of this same Louisville program when Ron Cooper steered them to a 1-10 season in the mid-90’s? For that matter, do you even know who Ron Cooper is?
Again, 9 straight Bowl Games, that’s a feat, and with the 10th on the way, why, that’ll equal the number of arrests from LB Willie Williams (tis a shame these Miami partial qualifiers couldn’t have discovered UofL sooner, we’d probably be talkin’ 13-15 in a row). No, seriously, Louisville has been a much better football team since Couch left, obviously. Hey, even Golden Corral can fire up a decent sirloin every now and then. But as good as the Corral’s medium-rare Angus tastes in your mouth Card fan, do you really want to hang out there when you’re through eating?
I don’t mean to paint the entire fan base (aka: Jake, Mike, Scott, Krystal, Ryan, Nick and Kelly) as obnoxious Johnny Come Lately’s; but rather, obnoxious and Johnny Come Lately’s separately. It’s really easy to decipher: Card fans grew up without a team. Probably because their parents were from out of state, or they were too busy playing soccer or Doom to care, but when the team became good, trendy if you will, they were ready to latch on to something and feel as if they indeed belong.
So go ahead L’ yessirs, tell me I’m jealous. Tell me UK is going to get worked on Saturday. Perhaps we will. Sunday will ultimately be a day of prideful arrogance for the winning fans and dispirited indignity for the losers. But win or lose Card Fan, you’re still waking up a Card Fan…with a pulsating Bud Ice hangover.
Almost forgot, please come up with your own cheer. Have you yet to realize C-A-R-D-S- CARDS! is one consonant too long and very awkward sounding?