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Thursday, October 10, 2013

KHSAA and Women's basketball tip off luncheon


(Jenny O'Bryan is feeling better and back to bring us the Thursday edition of CARDINAL COUPLE. Today she discusses the questionable decision of the KHSAA to eliminate handshakes after contests and the Louisville WBB luncheon. Good to see her up and around again! )

It’s good to be back!  I’ve been under the weather with a nasty respiratory bug and it has kept me sidelined.  Any ramblings below you disagree with, well, just consider it a side effect of my being oxygen deprived lately. 

Speaking of oxygen deprived, file this under “hair brained ideas that one wishes they had the excuse of oxygen deprivation”.  On Tuesday the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) released a statement of some variety doing away with the handshake between teams, after competition is complete.    The reasoning given was due to two dozen fights breaking out (during this process) over the three previous years.

Just what exactly the first release stated, and how it was read and interpreted, apparently left a lot of room for misinterpretation.  By nights end ESPN was talking about it, it made national headlines, and was on Good Morning America, Whoopi was talking about it on her show, and the list goes on and on.  Oxygen deprived maybe? 

Releases and re-releases trying to clean up the PR nightmare indicated the handshake wasn’t banned, it would just not be overseen and supervised by the referees.  Teams would have to monitor and supervise the handshake and if any fights arise they are to be reported to KHSAA where a fine can/will be issued. 

Good grief.  What a mess!   When I first heard it on the news I immediately had a negative outburst about the decision.   Sure enough, Tuesday night at the kiddos volleyball game (which I did not attend for having been under the weather), no handshake.   I am still shaking my head over this.  Actually, I wonder if perhaps I have violated a KHSAA rule here, no head shaking allowed either? 

This will all work itself out, I believe.  The negative media attention already has spin doctors at work to right the ill-conceived and ill received original release.   


In the meantime, let’s keep shaking hands, folks.  It is about respect.  It is about competition.  It is about humbleness in victory and graciousness in defeat.  At a time where we are already helping to foster “soft” athletes/young adults (see cardinal couple commentary on Lacrosse and disgruntled former athletes) do we also want to foster poor sportsmanship?   Heavens above, the youth of today will be running this nation when we are seniors.  Do we really want a bunch of thin skinned, soft, entitled, I’ll win or go home crybabies governing us?  I know I don’t!    Let’s get back to basics here.  Not everyone wins.  Not everyone gets a trophy.   Let’s shake hands and work harder so we can be the victor next time! 


In other news the Louisville Women’s Basketball Tip-off Luncheon was on Wednesday afternoon.  It was a packed house of 800+ folks at the Crown Plaza Hotel, a new venue for the luncheon.  Presumably the luncheon outgrew the KFC YUM Center and called for a bigger venue.  I have to say I was pleased with the move, with a bit more elbowroom amongst the fans.

It was business as usual with Coach Jeff Walz being the keynote speaker.    Each of the players were able to introduce themselves to the fans, with some humor peppered in from them.  A few notable comments:  freshman Emmonnie Henderson is studying civil engineering (WOW!), Sophomore Megan Deines is still undecided in a major so “I am just doing basketball”, and senior Tia Gibbs got a laugh from the crowd introducing herself as an “8th year senior. “

Fans were treated to highlights from last years improbable run to the championship game.  If that video does not get a little tinge in your step or tickle in the bottom of your belly, you’re rooting for the wrong team!  It furthers this fans anticipation of the season, and the team and coaching staff are ready!

Make no mistake, U of L Women’s Basketball is not happy just making it to the final game, the goal is to win that last game.  The teams effort during the off season (workouts and skill development) is said to have reflected that, as well as that of the coaching staff who have spent an enormous amount of time out on the recruiting trail. 

It was an exciting atmosphere, one where you could feel the energy in the room.   In talking about this upcoming season we were reminded that the Cardinals return 4 starters from last years National Championship runner up, and add injured players Asia Taylor, Shawnta Dyer and Tia Gibbs to the mix.  This team is undoubtedly one of the deepest talent at all positions, let’s just keep them all healthy this year.   Now that is something to get excited about!   

The woman who sat next to me is a new season ticket holder this upcoming season, and was a first time attendee at the luncheon.  She told me that after going to a couple of games each of the past two seasons it was too much fun, and such a great value for the entertainment that she and 3 girlfriends bought season tickets. 

That story of my tablemate brings me to the most exciting news of the day, which was Coach Jeff Walz announcing that Louisville was “ just announced as a 2014  NCAA Regional Host” (actually, we were given about a 2 hour heads up on this, the official announcement was not made until 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday).  

This is huge news and very exciting for Louisville women’s basketball and for fans of women’s basketball in general.   This means Louisville could, in theory at least, play the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games in front of a home crowd!   What a HUGE advantage that gives this team to make yet another run at the Final Four, which is down the road a bit in Nashville.  It is pretty exciting to think how little the team may have to travel to make it all the way to the championship game again! 

Coach Walz issued a challenge to fans, and we will repeat it hear often, to get your seats for the Regional round of play as soon as tickets become available.  Do NOT wait to see if Louisville makes it, by that time it is too late, as you are likely to be seated in the upper decks of the arena.   (As an aside, this past season when Louisville hosted the 1st and 2nd round action, I bought my seats the day they went on sale.  At that point I was able to handpick my seats, and I was able to keep my exact season ticket seats, which are pretty frickin’ awesome.  Moral of the story here is to buy early and buy many!)
I have been ready for basketball season since about the first of May.  But for some of you more tempered fans, the event had to stoke the fire and have you ready for the season.   The season is 26 days away, with an exhibition game on Tuesday, November 5.  Are you ready?  I know I am .  

Jenny O'Bryan

( EDITOR'S NOTE:  I was saddened to hear of the passing of Ted Huhn on Wednesday. Ted was a good man who was a huge UofL fan and friend at 80 Under 80. He will be missed on game day, road trips and his company...Jack Huhn Plumbing...bailed me (literally) out of several plumbing malfunctions over the years. Our prayers and thoughts with his wife Nancy, his family and the employees of Jack Huhn Plumbing. Adios, amigo...see you on the other side.   --Paulie)



  1. Sorry to here about Ted Huhn. He was a good man and Jack Huhn Plumbing is my plumber. Prayers to the family.


  2. Has anyone heard if U of L is planning a bus trip for the WKU game?


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