The very first event my son attended with me (he was about 5 months old) was the 2012 Final Four celebration at 4th Street Live. That was such a fun season and I became a father. I drove to every game in the Cardinals run in the 2013 NCAA Tournament and then drove back home to be with my wife and then 1yr old. My wife was an angel for letting me do that. Sacrifices made…
I tell these stories because so much of our lives and time is invested into the sports teams we follow and love. So many memories and so many personal experiences that are attached to it all. That’s why we all took it so personally when the NCAA leveled the Louisville Basketball Program.
I had a lot invested in the two seasons, Final Four and National Title that was vacated by the NCAA. And really liked our Hall of Fame coach that got fired. It’s like I woke up one day and had 3 important years erased from my life. I know that might sound extreme but I’m passionate about my Cardinals. It’s God, Family and my Cardinals who take up most of the real estate in this heart.
It’s that way for most of us. That’s why the Louisville fan base is one of the best in the country. It’s not just a past time it’s a part of us. And that’s why a night like Tuesday night meant so much. We didn’t get back all those wins, the Final Four banner or the National Title Tuesday night. We did get some redemption.
The symbolism of it all was amazing. Louisville coming into the game against Michigan as the #1 team in the country. The first number one ranking since that 2013 season. The Final Four MOP Banner being hung in the rafters. That gracious speech by Darrel Griffith. Leaning on that tradition helped in a rough time. And seeing Luke get his moment back. Then for him to turn around and give that moment to us all.
The night wouldn’t have been the same if the #1 Cardinals hadn’t taken care of business. Take care of business they did. They locked down one of the hottest offensive teams in the country on way to the 58-43 victory. They put the exclamation on the night.
This group of players deserves a lot of credit for their resilience. Ryan McMahon had three different coaches and Jordan Nwora got caught up in a coaching change that could have resulted in him transferring. That 2017-18 season was tough for him. They have all endured and overcome the obstacles that can plague a coaching change in the midst of chaos.
I don’t think Coach Mack gets enough credit for the job he has done. The guy came in amidst all the sanctions and chaos. Not to mention the beating we took before all that happened. The program was as low as it has been in my lifetime. Two years later and we are again top of the heap. Ask Dave Padgett how easy it is. Mack deserves all the credit in the world. Can’t just glaze over it as if anyone could have done what he has. They couldn’t.
I was at the game on Tuesday night with my son. He is now 8yrs old and loves his Cardinals. He’s asked me a hundred times this week ”daddy are we number one” and proudly I could tell him after this game yes. Our Cardinals are #1. Louisville Basketball is back…
What a night!