We have this period that we call the Summer Slump, the Summer Slowdown, or other typically alliterative terms. At times we point out that there is activity going on in Louisville sports programs, just none of it very visible or public. We notice a bit of a slowdown in readership and comments because there are no win/loss results to discuss and review, player performances to evaluate or game day predictions and keys to report.
So what activities are taking place, then?
Well, first it should be noted that working in the sports programs may seem like a dream to many of us, but it is a job, and it's hard work. So summer is a time to take a break, relax and recharge with some time off, maybe go on a vacation someplace with ocean breezes? Each coach and staffer has their own approach to how they vacation. I saw on social media a day or two ago, a picture posted by an Athletic Trainer with a ebook on a beach. One coach has a place on a lake that they retreat to, including getting out on the lake in their boat. If you think about the hours that these folks work during their season, you can certainly understand their need to get away and recharge a bit.
Recruiting is also a big deal in the summer. Most schools are on summer break as well, and many of the best prospects shift their athletics into high gear during the summer. Which is not to say that they're taking it easy during the school year, but many clubs and leagues take it up a notch during the summer. The daughter of some friends is in the pool swimming six days a week during the summer, for example, a pace of work that isn't sustainable during the school year. Coaches can travel all over the country, and even world, trying to find the best prospects. Cardinal Forever Becky Burke, head coach these days at the University of Buffalo in New York, shared a picture of herself on a hotel treadmill here in Louisville at 6am this morning thanks to a big basketball event at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center.
The last big activity of the summer is camps. Volleyball has several more camps this summer, with the last on the 14th. Soccer, Field Hockey, Basketball, Lacrosse, Softball, and more hold summer camps with the goal to help develop younger players as well as giving the staffs a chance to evaluate many of the best players in the sport in a short period of time.
Occasionally we'll see teams get to take international trips. Volleyball traveled to Brazil earlier in the summer, Women's Basketball is heading to Toronto, Canada for the Globl Jam event starting Wednesday. Not every team gets to take an international trip every year. Indeed, trips like the one that volleyball took are limited to once every five years at most. But when they do occur, they can take up a significant chunk of time for the program in the summer.
Planning! All of the above is a lot of work, and requires planning and preparation. Add in the process of arranging schedules, particularly non-conference, and there's a lot of work to be done there. A special shoutout to the Directors of Operations for each of the programs who bear a lot of this burden.
Finally, practices get underway during what we here at Cardinal Couple would still call the summer slump. Particularly for fall sports, Volleyball, Field Hockey, and Soccer, by the time players are finished with camps, it's about time to start individual workouts. And with seasons starting as soon as mid-August, if you have about two weeks of pre-season camp, that starts getting underway about the beginning of August.
So while we lament the lack of material to cover, there really is a lot going on with our favorite sports programs, and we occasionally get glimpses of it through social media. If you think about it, it starts to get the excitement building for the seasons to start.
Cards in the Pros
Of course the other things we get to do more of in the summer is keep track of our Cards in the Pros.
Emina Ekic again saw limited time in the Racing game Friday evening here in Louisville. With the return of Nadia Nadim, competition for time on the pitch will be getting even tougher. The NWSL is starting an international break as many players on NWSL rosters head off to play for their various national teams, including Ekic, as we found out this week. She will be playing for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Check out Case's article from yesterday if you missed that news and are confused at how Ekic, born and raised here in Louisville, can play for B&H's Senior National Team.
Myisha Hines-Allen, leading a roster full of players on crutches, it seems, will be playing at 3pm at Connecticut, where she'll likely meet up with Liz Dixon. Dixon's Suns are 3rd in the standings, with Hines-Allen's Washington Mystics are in 4th, but the Suns are three games up on the Mystics. Streaming and linear coverage for the game on the ESPN flagship.
Emily Engstler with the Minnesota Lynx tip off at 7pm against the Las Vegas Aces in Minneapolis. The Lynx are part of a logjam in the middle of the standings with Dallas and Atlanta just a game behind the Mystics. NBA League Pass has this game.
A late start, 8pm, for AD and the Atlanta Dream as they visit Dana Evans and the Chicago Sky. Dana Evans was honored with throwing out the first pitch at a White Sox game this week. The Dream are part of that logjam with the Lynx, and the Sky are only a game behind, as the middle of the WNBA is a real mess of teams right now. Again, NBA League Pass has this one.
ACC Network Takeover
Don't forget that Louisville is featured tomorrow on the ACC Network takeover. For 24 hours, tomorrow, you'll see nothing but the best UofL sport events from the past year. The times for women's sports:
3am: Field Hockey vs Michigan
7am: Volleyball vs Kentucky
9am: Basketball vs UNC
2pm: Soccer vs Boston College
6pm: Volleyball vs Oregon (NCAA Regional Final at KFC Yum! Center)
8pm: Volleyball vs Pitt (NCAA Semifinal at CHI Center in Omaha)
10pm: Lacrosse vs Pitt
Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast
|( A pic from the "old days" and the three of us "in the basement on a hill")|
A trio on the as Jared heads off to his honeymoon and Daryl was feeling under the weather. Case, Paulie, and myself were on the podcast. We talked about players heading off to international play, and all of the UofL sports news we could find this week.
Find the fun at it's home on anchor.fm/Spotify: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/cardinal-couple/episodes/Louisville-and-International-Play-e26n3bp