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Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Cardinal Couple -- Card Fan from afar

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FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


- Guest columnist today : Jim Sykes


( Jim Sykes is the oldest brother in the Sykes' family. He is a school teacher at Ganado High School in Arizona. He has been a UofL fan for years. ) 


My earliest recollections of Cardinal Sports are from the late fifties. Yes, I am a senior citizen. Our father liked to listen to basketball games on the radio in the evening in our den. He would sit in his recliner, tune our huge Philco Radio to WAVE 970 and follow the action of The University of Louisville men's basketball team. As kids, we were allowed to listen with him, but we knew we had to be quiet and attentive. He would send us out of the den if we became unruly. When my brother Paul told me that Joe Reuther had been one of the softball referees in a league he played in, I reminded him that he had played basketball at UofL. Paul's comment was: 


"Maybe so, but he has a horrible knowledge of the strike zone." 


During my college years at Centre, my Cardinal Sports following dropped off a bit. I was busy with academics, participating on the swim team and following the exploits of the Colonels. I remember thinking that Denny Crum would never last at UofL and he'd eventually migrate back to UCLA. Goes to show you how wrong you can be at times. 


Photo by Charlie Springer - UofL Card Game
When Louisville won their first National Championship in basketball back in 1980, I was watching via satellite in Switzerland. I tried to call Paul after the game, but found out later that he was in Indianapolis cheering the guys on. 


Paul and I actually watched the 1986 Championship Game together. We were at my parents' house, with Mom and Dad and all four of us saw Louisville beat Duke. I remember Paul had just married this cute, strawberry-blonde named Sonja who was there also. I guess that turned out pretty well...


I now live out in the desert of Northeastern Arizona and teach high school at Ganado High School. It is located on the NAVAJO Indian reservation and it's a pretty desolate area. Most of my students are native Americans. There has been a marked interest in Louisville women's basketball on the "rez" since the Schimmel sisters enrolled at Louisville. My students are very proud of their accomplishments and I can't help but wonder if someday we might have a girl or sisters who graduate from here and emulate what the Schimmel's have accomplished. 


I follow Louisville sports via Internet. Fortunately, there are a lot of great sites available to read about the sports and I can watch most UofL Cards via a CARDS TV subscription.


My interest in Louisville womens' sports began basically because of my little brother (and Sonja's) writings and love for them. I've had a lot of fun this year following them. I was very proud of the women's soccer team and their success. Basketball gave me fits at times, but I was really proud of the way they advanced to the NCAA Tournament and played. Softball was great fun to watch via TV. 


I also use Sportstracker to follow events that aren't on TV and   I receive Louisville Sports Report to catch up on all the news I might have missed. Those guys do a great job!


When I get back to Louisville, (and it's been awhile) it's usually summer vacation time...so there aren't any live events to go watch. I still haven't seen the inside of the KFC YUM! Center but I have been inside the expanded Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Paul and I attended some great football games back when a former coach who also likes motorcycles was there. I got to see some great games in Freedom Hall, too. I remember going to a women's basketball game with Paul and Sonja and hearing them rave about this player named McCoughtry on the way to the game. A couple of hours later, I was a "raver" as well. 


And, I read CARDINAL COUPLE almost daily. I'm very proud of the way my "little bro" has built the site and the work he, Sonja and the writers do here. They have a following here "at the rez".


We're excited about Cortnee Walton being on campus for Louisville WBB. She's a Arizona girl, you know, and played for a very good team in Phoenix. 


Thanks for reading this transplanted UofL fan's writings.


GO CARDS! 


-- Thanks, "Boats" (my nickname for Jim). We'll get you in that YUM! Center eventually and maybe even a Italian sausage. (Jim has a fondness for those back from the Freedom Hall days)  -- Pablo.
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3 comments:

  1. Jim, I've never met you but if you're ever in Louisville when the Lady Cards are at the Yum! I'd be glad to let you use a couple of my mid-court seats. Reading your story makes me proud to be a Cards fan.

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  2. Thanks, Mike! Unfortunately, when the Lady Cards play most of their games I am teaching but I might swing a trip to Louisville during Christmas vacation.

    JAS
    Ganado, AZ

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  3. I want to see the Springfield Oregon billboard promoting the Louisville women's basketball team. Has anyone found a picture? Genius idea.

    The TN message boards are blowing up with the subject but TN needs a couple of years to reorganize themselves and see who they are going to be in the future and what support the women athletes are going to receive from the reorganized athletic administration now that without Pat a chunk of the women's power is up for grabs. Hold tough UT women's sport fans because none of the good old boy structure is going to voluntarily give it to you. Just ask Debby Jenkins of UT how she was treated. Fortunately with the current administration we do not appear to have that problem at UL

    It will be up to the TN fans to hold the athletic departments feet to the fire long enough for Holly to get her sea legs.

    Can't wait till Thursday to watch the Elite camp participants. We could be watching several future Louisville players during one afternoon.

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