Saturday, December 29, 2012

Louisville vs. Kentucky


CATS VS CARDS: IS IT THE BIGGEST RIVALRY IN COLLEGE SPORTS?

Louisville and Kentucky basketball renew their rivalry Saturday at 4 p.m. in the KFC YUM! Center and on CBS Television. The Cards, #3 in the nation, are favored this year...for the first time in about a bazillion years.

This worries me. I've gotten used to Louisville being the underdog in the game. Ever since
John Calipari arrived in Lexington and set up his NBA Training program, the Cats have had a succession of "one and done" players breeze in and out of Rupp Arena that would rival patrons walking in and out of the Starbucks on Shelbyville Road. Without mocha delights.

I haven't followed this UK team very closely this year. Normally, I do like to have a broad-based familiarity on whose going to kick the crap out of my Cardinals...and I understand that
this particular Wildcat roster is not in the top-25.

They're probably not getting paid as much as the previous state employees either.

I have heard about the guy in the middle, Nervous Noel. Or Naworleans Noel. Whatever. My buddy "The Solo-Man" who lives and breathes Cardinal men's hoops tells me that he's OK around the hoop but the Cats will have trouble getting the ball to him because of our guards Russdiculous and Peyton. (What...they're going to take him to Waffle House)?

I understand UK also has a pretty good guard named Archie Goodwin. What a great sports name!

"Hey, Archie. Good win!"

I also think of my pal Bread Boy, who's first name is Archie. He's a big UofL fan. Then, there's Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica. Along with Nervous Noel, I assume that's
the UK starting lineup...

I am fond of this UofL team. They seem to be very talented , deep, prolific at scoring and they like grits, eggs, waffles and sugar. That gets a big O.K.! from me.  

The coaches...well, the only other thing that I'll say about them is this:

Sonja and I were in Memphis several years ago to attend a UofL vs. Memphis football game. This was the year we found a tailgate party for Newby's (a popular Memphis bar/restaurant)  that was being held in this big warehouse-type building, music blaring...fans of both schools having fun and dancing to recorded music.

It was near the lot we were tailgaiting in at the Liberty Bowl. Since her maiden name was
Newby...we went to go check it out and happened to run into the guy who owns Newby's and was running the tailgate. He invited us in, gave us food and drink wristbands at no charge an even a blue Memphis t-shirt with the Tigers and Newby's logo on it. I was talking
to a Memphis fan whose table we were sitting at and he mentioned that he saw we had
gotten Rick Pitino to come to Louisville. I'll never forget his words.

"Ya know, now that you got Pitino, it means that neither UofL or Memphis have basketball coaches anymore (referring to then-head Memphis coach John Calipari). What we have is
a couple of Italian Salesmen."

Louisville won the game that evening and we decided to check out his resataurant/bar after the contest. It was full of twenty-somethings and they had a rapper DJ. We didn't stay long.

So, in today's game, I'll watch and see which salesman has the best product to promote. Even though I'm worried about the Cards chances, I do think they have the superior talent.
I hope it shows up.

Cards 88 - Cats 83.

-Paulie


Thursday, December 13, 2012

ME AND THE BOBSTER

I read with humorous interest that Bobby Petrino is planning of becoming a Kentucky
resident again. At least it isn't in Louisville. The fine folks of Bowling Green, KY will
get The Bobster for a year or two. The beautiful thing about all this is that Hilltopper
football fans are excited that they're getting a nationally known football dignitary just
two days after USF played tag with Willie Taggart and won.

Be careful what you wish for. It just might come true.

The word is that Petrino has changed his ways, accepted that his previous mis-doings
were wrong and he's taking steps to re-brand his image and make amends with his family.

That's a good sign.

All this reminds me of my first encounter with the former Louisville head football coach.

It was shortly after he had arrived on campus and was doing the weekly shows on WHAS
radio with Paul Rogers. We had been attending the shows for several years, first with Ron
Cooper and then John L. Smith, at the Kingfish restaurant on River Road. They used to set
up a great buffet for those pre-show meals and it was a fun event for a dozen or so months
a year. 

When the Bobster arrived, the locality eventually got switched to the old Tumbleweed on
Mellwood Avenue. It became increasingly hard to call-in and get a table reserved for these shows...
but we still managed to get a table most weeks...with another couple who we tailgate with.

I have this football I got as a Christmas gift years ago. It came with Howard Schnellenberger's
autograph on it. I liked it and kept it displayed in my basement. When Cooper came on
board, I got his autograph also. Same with John L. So, when Bobby breezed into town, I
figured I'd ask him to add his name to it also.

I approached him shortly before the show began while he was dining with his wife and kids
at the Tumbleweed. Other people had been going over to his table, so I saw no harm in
joining them. I smiled, complimented him on his success as UofL football head coach and
asked him to sign the football. I even had a Sharpie with me for him to use.

He never looked up from his plate of food. Mumbled that I needed to take it to the football
office and leave it with the secretary and he'd take care of it there. I backed away from the
table. Stunned. Surprised. A little baffled.

We stopped going to the weekly football broadcasts shortly after that and we haven't been
back to one since. Don't even listen to them much on the radio anymore. I did accidently
stumble upon one when I went to the Tumbleweed on River Road for a wedding rehearsal
dinner and the show was there that night also. Saw Charlie leave. Shook his hand. Smiling
broadly, he thanked me for being a Cardinal fan.

I bet he would have signed a football, too.

I never got around to taking that football to the football office. I never got around to getting Steve Kragthorpe to sign it either...while he was here. Haven't approached Charlie about it yet. When we moved, I put the football in a box with other things I had displayed in the basement. Haven't gone
through that box in a long time.

I hope Bobby Petrino has a good stay in Bowling Green. I wish him success. I hope he's sincere
about changing his lifestyle and reconnecting with his family.

And I hope he signs a few footballs for fans in public.
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Friday, December 7, 2012

CHARLIE STRONG DECIDES TO STAY IN LOUISVILLE

All the drama that has swirled around the football program and head coach Strong has now
finally been abated with Strong's announcement that he's turned down the offer to coach
the Tennessee Volunteers and remain at Louisville. On the surface, this appears to be very
good news for UofL football, athletic director Tom Jurich and the community as a whole.

I was able to talk to a top-secret source at UofL yesterday, though...and the terms for re-
negotiating his contract are...well...simply unbelievable! Here's what my clandestine
informant told me.

1) Charlie will now be mandatorally referred to in all media releases as: "The Great and Powerful Strong...seer of seers, divine light shining brightly above us all and best thing that ever happened
to Louisville" Good luck in getting all that in an article, on a business card or on his office door.

2) Charlie will receive a raise and will be paid in cash. Daily. In one, five and ten dollar bills...
to be delivered by knights dressed in armor...riding shiny, strapping white stallions. By 9 a.m.

3) Papa John's Cardinal Stadium will be re-named "The House that Charlie Built" and all patrons
who attend will be required to bow and genuflex in front of Charlie Strong life-sized statues...which
will be placed at every entrance, in every restroom and in front of each beer stand.

4) The teams' football uniform jerseys will have a smiling image of Charlie on the front and his
current net financial worth (updated for each game) on the back. No player names anymore and
player's numbers will be written in with eraseable magic markers...at coach's discretion and subject
to change without prior notice. The helmets will feature the Cardinal Bird kissing Charlie's feet.

5) Two holidays a year will be set aside to celebrate him. His birthday and the day he decided to
stay at Louisville. All state and local governmental offices will be closed and cars will be banned
from highways. All local television stations will pre-empt regularly scheduled programming and
devote 24 hours of coverage to Charlie. Paul Rogers is expected to emcee.

I think these are pretty great ideas and wish Charlie the best of luck in getting these implemented.
After all, football is king and we now have a royal figure for life now in Coach Strong.

Meanwhile, in Lexington.....
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