UofL's ACC entry turns up the pressure
We see it every day here at Cardinal Couple. Why is "so and so" not doing this? What happened to "this one" in "that" situation? Where is "she" thinking about going? The pressure of running a site that tries to speculate, predict, entertain, relate and observe can be tumultuous at times. Good thing it's a labor of love and not my day job, right?
Fans want to know. Fans want results. Fans look ahead and also turn the magnifying glass on past and present. With all the sources of 'information-gathering' out there, it is hard to keep up with the many ways that stories and issues become news. Worldwide Jeff teases Paulie about his Twitter infrequency, yet we run Worldwide's Twitter feeds on the Right Side of the Site and it's become a popular feature. It's good to see someone else's pressure valve rocking there...
You find a niche, you adjust it to your style and you go with it. We cover women's sports at UofL here from a fan's perspective. Sometimes...we do an "OK" job with it. Still, we get questions about why we just do women's sports? Why don't we provide more women's basketball? Why do we say this about that? We feel the pressure of being timely, informational and still staying within the scope of what our mission statement is.
Sometimes...we wonder why ourselves. As the senior, chief writer here at CC...there are mornings I wake up and wonder to myself...what in the world will I write about today? Some mornings, the choice is very evident and easy.
The pressure varies...but it is always present.
The information society. The microwave society. People want the latest before it happens and then speculate about it until the "next big thing" breaks. Information overload and misinformation also now occur at a greater rate.
Pressure. It's something that every coach, player, staffer and administrator feels on every campus. If they tell you they don't...they're lying to you.
When Louisville entered the ACC, the pressure to perform in arguably the best college conference in the land became evident and under scrutiny. The question is...how much time do you give a coach or player to adjust, react and eventually perform successfully in a newer and more prestigious platform? And...is what was considered successful in an old venue now successful in this new venue?
Athletic directors have pressure to enlist coaches that can perform. Coaches have pressure to retain assistants and players that produce. Players have pressure to create wins and gather playing time. Fans have the pressures of speculation when the results don't meet the expectations.
In pain, there is pressure to recover. In success, there is pressure to continue.
ACC competition has produced UofL results. We'll look at a few.
We speculated way before the inaugural ACC season that field hockey and lacrosse would feel the pressure of joining a conference that is far and away the best in the nation in these sports. In Lacrosse, we have no results yet...but a top ten team (or better) will compete against a conference full of the same. In field hockey, a tough and veteran team competed well against the best...produced upsets...and gave the program its best season in the Field Hockey sports' history at Louisville.
It did not go quite as well for others.
Women's soccer, faced with the aspect of having to play numerous freshmen and former reserves struggled against the best. It was a rebuilding experience. The future looks bright for Karen Ferguson Dayes young squad. The question is how much better will they become? Can they reach the level of a Florida State? Time will tell. How much time do you allow before changes need to be addressed? Only Tom Jurich can answer that.
Volleyball leapt from a perfect record in the AAC to a demanding ACC schedule and also was faced with filling in some gaps due to graduation. At times, the team struggled against these new conference foes. There were post-season changes made in coaches, players and obvious areas where improvement can be made. A promising recruiting class and continued growth from the returnees indicates that next season will relieve the pressures of the past season.
And, of course...there is the current.
Women's basketball has faced the pressure and performed to near-perfection. The adversity of graduating four of the best to ever wear the Cardinal uniform, the uncertainty of how the freshmen would step up to next level play and the challenge of facing top-quality conference competition..all these issues don't seem to be a road-block (so far) for Walz's women. The freshmen have been "moore" than bargained for. The returnees have filled the shoes of the departed.
Softball? Time will tell. This isn't Pearsall's first dance at a new country club. Pitching woes appear to have been problem-solved by adding talented freshmen hurlers and the continued growth of Becker on the mound. Hitting will be a question...we know that Duncan, Jones, Soles, Arion and Becker have the talent to reach base and blast fences. Who will help them?
In the end, we need to remember that...it's only entertainment. These are only games. The losses on the road...the lack of this...or that...pales in comparison to real world challenges, situations and issues. These young women are learning the transition to life after school. They are student-athletes and...as much as we fans delight in successes and vent over losses...these ladies will go on to more important things when they get the cap and gown and move into the "work-a-day" world.
And, that's when the real pressure begins...
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