Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sports Talk: Champions, again... sort of...

As a correspondent sports writer for The Casey County News, I write an weekly editorial column for the publication. Published Apr. 10, 2013. 
Sorry all of your hard core Wildcat fans… one more week of Cardinal love from this sports fan.
On one hand I can understand those that call themselves “true blue” fans who will never cheer for Louisville… because that was me on Monday night, the true Buckeye fan that would never find herself cheering for those dirty Wolverines.
But stinkin’ Michigan being the opponent or not, my reason for staying up late when I had to wake up extra early to work in Louisville in the morning was 100% to do with cheering on the Cards.
Albrecht gave me a scare, but Louisville’s stamina really seemed to win out. When Michigan looked tired, the Cards never seemed to. That and, of course, Hancock’s sweet streak there at the end of the first half. What a cool and unique thing to see a non-starter earn the MVP for the Final Four.  No doubt his performance deserved it.
What is unfortunate for the die hard UK fans, is they miss out this awesome feeling.
In 2011 Bellarmine University won the NCAA Division-II championship. In 2012 the Wildcats took the DI crown and this year it’s the Cardinals… and, if we’re lucky, those Lady Birds will have done it on Tuesday night.
 A year ago I stayed up extra late cheering on the Cats and this year it was the Cards.  I loved seeing the Cats win the title last year, as that is what I grew up with as a child admiring and knowing: UK was the basketball powerhouse.
In high school when I realized that certain people in our state cheered for Louisville and were against the Cats, I kind of found it strange. Why live in Kentucky and cheer for the team that wasn’t as good?
But my seven year tenure in Louisville came on the coattails of Pitino’s hire at the school. Between following the team more closely, seeing them improve, gaining many hardcore Cardinal fan friends, watching many games wearing red, and now continuing to spend time working in that city on a weekly basis, I too have come to understand why it’s so easy to live in this state and love the Cardinals.  
It’s fun to see the kids you’ve been watching for awhile capture this moment. A fan that gets to experience a championship through different teams in back-to-back years must be rare, so I will relish the moment, knowing it may not happen again too soon.
Go Cards!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sports Talk: Look past the jersey and love the TEAM

As a correspondent sports writer for The Casey County News, I write an weekly editorial column for the publication. Published Apr. 3, 2013. 
Considering this is Wednesday and the Louisville-Duke game took place on Sunday, there is little I can probably write about the Cardinals and Kevin Ware’s terrible injury that has not already been said by a sports writer or commentator that  closely follows the Cards or sports in general.
However, I still cannot bypass the opportunity to comment on the incident.
I know we live in a dense Wildcat region and the NCAA tournament has been less than thrilling this year. I know that because of our Big Blue Nation, there is a high amount of Louisville loathing.
I hope most of those Cardinal haters and Kentucky lovers have been able to see what so many sports fans across this country saw from this occurrence. We should all be able to look at the players on the University of Louisville’s team, as well as Kevin Ware himself, and desire to have a team of that stature.
Much of the reason I love college sports more than professional sports is the innocence that still exists in the love of the game. Sure players want to go pro from that level, but there is less possibility for corruption in your love of the game.
These are very young adults on the court who still have vulnerable hearts. There is nothing better than to see that heart going 100% into a game we love to follow.
If you love sports, you know that despite the jersey and colors being worn by those guys on Pitino’s bench, those are the type of people you want to compose your team—whether it is one you simply cheer for or play on.
Everyone wants a team that cares most about each other and the achievements you bring to the name on the front of the jersey, not the back. What’s even better is that a team like that gives people like us—the spectators—the ability to really feel like a part of the team as well. They are so all encompassing of the factors outside of themselves that matter, that we can even feel like we, as fans, matter.
Seeing several of my die hard Wildcat friends take time to step back and recognize this group of players has really said a lot to me about this team and what being a team should be all about. It is about being there for each other and truly caring about each other as people and not just as ball players.
I know there is not a lot of Cardinal love out there in this area, but I hope you all have a team—whether it be basketball or another sport; college, high school or professional—that has the quality of people, not just players, as this year’s U of L team.
Go Cards!