Tomorrow, starts my favorite time of the year. No, it’s not Christmas or Thanksgiving (even though I like to eat) it’s better than both and more. This time tomorrow, Louisville football will be getting ready to start their 2017 season. Louisville football has been in my life for 21 years. In these past 21 years, I have seen Louisville football grown just like I have. Louisville Cardinal football has gotten me through all the ups and down I have encountered in my life.
I started watching Louisville when I was a little baby. My family had little cardinal outfits they would throw me in on Saturdays and Dallas Cowboys on Sundays (That’s another story for another day). I grew up watching the last 3 seasons of the Old Cardinal Stadium then the transition into a new stadium which is the Papa John’s Cardinal with the new athletic director, Tom Jurich. I was always happy on Saturdays because it meant I got to spend quality time with my dad and his friends while watching the team I love. Louisville football whether win or lose, I didn’t care because this was MY team.
My mother bought us season tickets for the 2003 season when we had new coach, Bobby Petrino and an excellent quarterback that I always wanted to be like. That quarter back was Stefan Lefors. I was happy to run to our seats on Saturdays and cheer on Stefan. We were lighting up the scoreboard and winning big. Bobby Petrino brought me into a new era that I had never seen. My first cuss word came in 2006’s season opener when Michael Bush broke his leg. I remember looking around at my father in tears and saying “Oh Sh*t”. He looked at me and said, “Don’t cry because Bobby will turn it around.” That was the year we ended up going to the first 12-win season in program history and first BCS game. My father was right.
My grandmother always called me after each football game to get my assessment of it. I remember telling after Coach Petrino left for the NFL that I felt this was going to cause us to downfall and of course it did. Mr. Jurich hired a coach, Steve Kragthorpe that was supposed to be like Coach Petrino and we all know that story. The program declined just like my grandmother’s health. I remembered thinking we will get through this we just have to be strong just like her.
When Charlie Strong was hired we felt this was the guy we needed all along. She told me Charlie will be the answer after watching her final Louisville game with me. She passed away right before Charlie’s first big test. Charlie got me believing again and I felt like my childhood all over again. Charlie rebuilt this program for the best and I was ready to see it through. In 2013, I never thought when I saw how we were going to play Florida in the Sugar Bowl that we would be back to the way Coach Petrino had us before. After beating Florida, I remember saying “LOUISVILLE IS BACK!!!”
I never thought Charlie would leave. We would build the dynasty that all fans always wanted then I got the dreaded tweet that Charlie was leaving for Texas. I felt crushed once again and knowing a coach I had grown attached to was leaving for a greener pasture. I just remember thinking In Tom I Trust. Then, it was a familiar smile standing next to Mr. Jurich as I watched a press conference of naming our new head coach who was Coach Petrino. The inner child in me was screaming for joy. I couldn’t believe it.
Going into the 4th season with Bobby Petrino as our coach, I am not worried about this upcoming season. We have the HEISMAN coming back as quarterback and the defense returns a very talented unit. Like I said before, this is my favorite time of the year and I can’t wait to attend this game tomorrow with my family and my girlfriend as we cheer our cards to victory!! Go Cards!