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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Reeling in the years...Cardinal Couple reaches a milestone -- Saturday Cardinal Couple

2001: A (web)Space Odyssey.

This is the 2001st. article to appear on the pages of Cardinal Couple. It hardly seems that we've been publishing this blog turned website for over five years now. Then again..some early mornings, it seems a whole lot longer.

People actually wanting to meet our staff intern Timmy the Chimp in the cardigan sweater. Or pet Bill the Goat. 

Oh, the things we've seen...

Championship runs and losing seasons. Freshmen turning into seniors. Basketball brawls and joyous, last second wins and heartbreaking losses. Covering events in blizzards and sweating through heat advisories. The transition from Freedom Hall to the KFC YUM! Center. Midnight and early morning article writing. Endless cups of coffee and tea.

From tripping over lacrosse sticks (that stumble was quite embarrassing!) to dodging softballs flying over the left-field fence at Ulmer. From "Q" to Muffet to Geno, Doug and Harry and back to Muffet and "Q" again. Witnessing games in Memorial Barnyard, Diddle Arena, the Hartford Civic Center, Knights Hall and all points in-between.

A blog turned website started basically on a dare from a colleague...claiming that no one could write about Louisville women's athletics 365 days a year. 

Been there, done that. Still doing... 

The early days consisted of Sonja and I alternating back and forth on write-ups. The first column...Thursday Jan. 14th, 2010 was an introduction by me on what we were hoping to do here. The next day Sonja wrote about WBB getting ready for Big East play. That 2009-2010 WBB team was a hard one to watch at times but it still remains one of my favorites because they battled so hard with so little talent and players.

After awhile Sonja "retired" from writing and now handles the administrative end of things. If you've ever received a card, prize or shirt from us...or followed the results of one of our contests...thank her. She's still there with the idea process for articles and her "at event" with me comments are priceless and refreshing. She downplays all of it.

We've had some great writers here. David Watson was the first on board back in the early days. Controversial and opinionated but always a good read. We still get articles from him from time-to-time...but with two kids in college and a budding high school golf star, his time-card stays punched. 

Sandy W. and her weekly "laundry" articles. Jenny O. and her recruiting expertise. Mark "the commish" and his affinity for professional bull-riding commentary and the WNBA. 

Others have also contributed from time to time as well. Quentin (not Hillsman). Gary Witherspoon. Guest writers from other websites. A few names I've probably forgotten. All welcome back anytime if they decide to put thoughts to print again. It's not for everybody. Life gets in the way...'s Worldwide Jeff and I. Who would have thought back then at the beginning of it all that we'd be doing radio also? Sam Draut onboard as our radio intern and an accomplished writer in his own right for the Louisville Cardinal student newspaper/website.

Where does it go from here and will it end? There are times we've wondered about that. When the income didn't meet the expenses and we weren't just non-profit...we were flat broke. Times when I was suffering from writer's block and couldn't put together three paragraphs in three hours. Summer days when there were no events going on and it seemed at times I might end up recapping the play-by-play of two squirrels out in my front yard in a contest to escape a menacing Mockingbird in and out of the hedges and trees.

Our resolve is firm, though. 

We'll stay the course and continue to try and provide you...the readers and listeners the best coverage we can on Louisville women's athletics. We may still be controversial at times and might even displease a coach or administrator or two again in the future.

Most times, it is not intentional.

We've endured the icy stares of players, coaches and administrators we've taken to task and accepted the compliments and thanks of those we have feted. 

You can please some of the people some of the time, none of the people plenty of times...but you can't please all the people all of the times. Maybe this quote is attributable to Abraham Lincoln...maybe Jeff Walz or Tom Jurich...but one thing rings true:

If the people don't like what you're representing, they won't follow. We've been fortunate to see our readership and listeners grown into an incredible amount and number since we went to these pages. Maybe we're doing something right every once in awhile.

We've had good teachers and mentors from the beginning. A few I'd like to mention here: 

Charlie Springer. It was from his UofLCardGame pages we sprung...covering women's basketball. The Observer has been kind and gracious to us. Sharing photos, ideas, journalistic tips & most importantly...his friendship.

Shannon Ruffra. Another source for us to detail women's sports at his Cardinal Dominance site in the early days. Helping us sponsor contests. Running our articles when no one else would.

Howie Lindsey. Encouraging us to fill up his Louisville Sports Report message boards with Louisville women's sports items. He started Floyd Street Federation. He deserves his own radio show on 93.9 FM.

At the end of the all breaks down to this. We try to be wise and informative guardians of what consists a story and what sometimes is best left unsaid. We're still always open to advice and tutelage. We're fans...we certainly don't "know it all". We guess and wonder with you about things.

The bottom line is that we try to be the fan's voice for Cardinal women's sports. And, being a fan is mighty fun these days. We remember the days when the wins weren't as frequent and the coverage tough at times.

Perhaps the worst moment we ever sat through was a 21-run beatdown from UCLA in softball. Sonja was ready to go out and pitch and try to stop the bleeding from inside the circle. The best would be "the shot". Schimmel over Griner in the biggest upset in women's college basketball history.

Thank you for being here. Thank you for your comments, support, advice and spreading the word. I have a feeling that if my parents could have been around to see this site come to pass...they might have been pleased. 

We hope that most days...we please you.

paul and sonja sykes


Softball has been moved to a 4 p.m. start today vs. Virginia to try and avoid the rain. Lacrosse still goes at noon against Duke. We'll be previewing both on CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR this morning at 11 a.m. on WCHQ 100.9 FM and at

We'll also be attending the events after the show.

We've got audio from Lacrosse's win over William & Mary and softball's Sandy Pearsall for you review and discussion of women's sports galore. We'll see if Sam the Intern fulfilled his first assignment and maybe even administer a Worldwide quiz & get a visit from Don Paulie.

Be a good sport there, and give a listen...right? 



  1. Congratulations. Reading the blog is certainly part of my morning routine. Thanks for your effort.

    1. We are glad you are along for the ride. A special thanks to you for bringing up my co-host. Wouldn't want to do this without him.


  2. Paulie, I've been awake for maybe 10 minutes, just chugged down that first gulp of coffee, and this is the first thing I've seen today. (Not to flatter you TOO much, but you're my first click every day - even before email, Facebook, C-J, etc., etc. etc.)

    Congrats on your milestone (and. as you've been doing lately,you nailed the lead, or actually the headline this time).

    I can't remember how I found you but I'm glad I did. You do it the right way. Coverage from a fan's perspective by writers who know what they are talking about, with a little "inside" information thrown in, and a community where ideas and opinions can be discussed openly and honestly without vitriol and name-calling. Can't do much better than that.

    Congrats again!

    1. Mike, we certainly appreciate you following us and also gracing our comments sections with your accurate and insightful reads into Cardinal women's sports. We sincerely hope you'll stick around for the next 2001 and beyond.


  3. Paulie, I have enjoyed your work for years and am excited for the future. I appreciate the fact that you took in Jeff and made him feel so welcome. I hope Cardinal Couple continues for many years and I will continue to read and support you. Keep up the good work.

    1. We plan on being around and thank you for raising a son that has been a driving force behind our site and is a pretty good guy to know. Thank you also for your encouragement and backing.


  4. Congratulations Paulie! I continue to read everyday, even though my busy life with a full time job, part time business and a volleyball playing daughter about to go to college keeps my plate all too full. I get an itch to write every now and again, but there is always too much to do and little time to do it.

    2015 basketball commit Ta'ja Cole is playing for the 5A State Championship in Virginia this afternoon. This season, I hope, is far from over, but it is hard not to look forward to U of L Basketball for the upcoming years. Exciting times in the "ville if you are a women's basketball fan.

    1. special Jenny. You came along at a time when we were looking for direction and support and you picked us up, gave us what you had and we'll always be thankful for that and proud to have you as one of ours. This door is always open to you when you are ready and able to walk back through it and I couldn't know much finer people than you and Renee.


  5. You folks do a great job. I don't think there is another blog out there that tries to support the entire range of women's sports at a given university as completely as you guys do. It's a great objective and I believe will only grow over time.

    Although you, Sonja & Jeff receive periodic praise for you efforts I doubt it is in any way proportional to your efforts. It's impressive.

    1. Burn, my brother...we appreciate you for the support and readership you have provided us. We pride ourselves on having a knowledgeable, well-informed and relevant readership base and commenters core and you sit at the top of that designation. Thank you for being here with us. Onward to the next 2001 and more.



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