A funny thing happened this morning. The sun came up.
After CardNation was power-bombed through a table from off of the top rope by the NCAA. After being drug through the mud. After being spit on by local media, and local idiots with platforms. And after Louisville Twitter erupted. The sun came up, the world did not end, the sky is still intact. Life. Went. On.
I am as pissed as you are. I want McGee and whoever else that was involved in this scandal to pay the consequences. Too many times, it is the innocent ones that are made to suffer. Sometimes the good guys don’t win at the end of a movie. I didn’t get to go to all of the NCAA tournament games in 2013, I was fortunate to go to the beat-down of Colorado State when the games were held in Lexington. But I still enjoy hearing stories from other Card fans who made every single game. Fans who were there when Kevin Ware’s leg broke. Fans who were there when Tim Henderson earned his Wichita nickname. Fans who were there when Montrezl’s dunk put a stamp on historic stretch in the first half of the Michigan game.
When Louisville won the championship, I posted on Facebook that I have witnessed a black President and a Louisville championship and now I can die in peace. I was tired of hearing about how things went in 1980 and 1986. I was tired of seeing old footage of the city celebrating. Now, my friends and I had our moment. Sadly, there is a an overwhelming possibility that we will only have memories and t-shirts to remind us of that run.
I moved to Louisville in 1991. I didn’t know much about the team, the rivalry, the rich history of Freedom Hall, or the Doctor’s of Dunk. All I knew was that I had to pick a side and quickly. I will never regret my decision.
Louisville fans are a resilient, tough, witty, proud, and storied bunch. Doesn’t matter what happens, we come back the next year. Team goes 1-10, fans are back the next year filling the stadium. Team banned from postseason, games will still be sold out. Coach announces affair and is met with constant ridicule and embarrassing punchlines, we still show our support because that is what our fan-base does. We don’t jump ship, we don’t have another team on standby, we don’t stay home out of embarrassment. We continue to wear our Louisville gear. We buy MORE car flags to have them fly. We throw our L’s up higher until it feels like our shoulder is going to be dislocated.
Andre McGee and Katina Powell don’t get to win. Coach Mike or whoever the hell he is doesn’t get to win. Mark Schlabach’s articles on ESPN don’t define Louisville or Pitino, there is a reason I blocked him on Twitter, he doesn’t get to win. Our rivals down the road don’t get to win. Make your jokes, call us names, make your memes, comment under every Louisville post, doesn’t matter….you don’t get to win. I love reading Eric Crawford’s work. In my opinion he is not a great writer, he is an excellent writer who could easily be writing for a national news chain. I read his post this morning, he made great points, but I don’t agree today Eric. That shining moment will NEVER be taken from us. The NCAA doesn’t get to win. WE DO.
We are built for this and more. The coaching staff and team are built for it. The fans are built for it. If those banners come tumbling down as many expect, guess what. The YUM center will continue to be full. The fans will cheer louder. The CARDS chant will be never-ending. We are so much more than that banner and while we may end up on the wrong side of history, it will only make us better fans in the long run. We don’t forget, we won’t forgive what happened, but we damn sure won’t sulk and cry and hide. Nope, CardNation isn’t built like that.
A few years ago I watched Penn State Football go through an even uglier scandal and face harsher criticism which Louisville has not even begun to see. Yet 100,000 plus fans packed into Happy Valley each week to cheer for their football team because the acts of a few don’t define a fan-base. NOR SHOULD IT.
Someone asked me a while back how I can I cheer for a team that uses strippers and escorts to lure recruits in. Easy, I take my two hands and place them together until it makes a loud sound. I am a fan, I always will be. Got the tattoo to prove it. Got many stories to tell and more to experience. This hurts, but it doesn’t stop anything. On Sunday I will cheer for the Cardinal 9 in Omaha. In September I will travel to Indy. In the fall I will attend every game I can in the Yum. Because I, like my fellow fans, am built for this.
The sun rose this morning. Life went on. I am still a fan.