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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Performing Under Pressure...Producing Under Pressure -- Sunday Cardinal Couple

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 much time do you give a coach or player to adjust, react and eventually perform successfully in a newer and more prestigious platform? 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'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 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...



Don't forget about the Feb. CARDINAL COUPLE Contest and your chance to winin a  


The latest CARDINAL COUPLE Radio hour should be up and posted on the SoundCloud at Crescent Hill Radio...WCHQ 100.9 FM. We spend time with softball, hoops and other UofL women's sports topics this week. We always have a lot of fun "doing it live" and we hope you enjoy listening to it!

Link it and go! :




  1. Great Piece Paulie. No matter what conference we compete in it's always going to be about what the kids learn while competing and how they leverage that knowledge into successful lives as adults.

    When you get old and have done some stuff you end up understanding why competing in athletics should matter to folks. Just like in real life in athletics:

    - You don't win them all but you can always learn from your mistakes and get better
    - Sometimes fate intervenes and you should always be ready to step up and perform, whether its in sports or in real life. Always be prepared to succeed.
    - Learning to work successfully with others in a team environment is probably the most important leading indicator of success in life and athletics teaches it in spades
    - Understanding that sometimes you won't win and it isn't the end of the world is probably up there too. We learn more about ourselves and out team when we lose then when we win.
    - Developing the ability to accept well meaning criticism and being mature enough to differentiate between that and small minded foolishness will also guide a person's success in life. None of us is perfect but figure out what sources are legit enough to deserve your respect of their input.

    And finally if a person learns nothing else from playing ball the biggest thing is that you are going to get knocked on your ass in sports and in life. The winners get up and keep competing and fighting. The losers either don't get up at all or find an excuse why it's someone else's fault. Taking personal responsibility for your life outcomes should be the main lesson reinforced by playing ball. Don't Quit.

    Here's a pic I never thought I'd see. Makes me think momentum is on our side:

    Go Cards!

    1. Burn Brother, your comments were pretty powerful and a big help to me. Thank you.

    2. Hey Wade - If you pick some useful things out that's a beautiful thing. Big Game tonight Bud. Go Cards!

  2. I'll add another perspective to the idea of the pressures that exist in trying to cover women's athletics and the niche that Paulie and Sonja chose, and that I have bought into.

    Think about the UofL Sports coverage that...let's call them mainstream sports media, or Football, and Men's Basketball is covered in depth. Women's Basketball gets a fair bit of attention. Baseball will get a bit of coverage, and occasionally you'll see MSSM show up for particularly big games of other sports, or if a sport is having a particularly good year (and usually, up in the press box, ask Paulie and I who the players are). So...four sports get any real amount of attention from MSSM.

    We here at CC do our best, as a hobby basically, and next-to-zero budget, to try to cover all *12* women's sports teams at UofL.

    We love what we do. As I said Tuesday, I have an absolute ball doing it, so we're not asking for anything to change, just trying to share some perspective on things. So, if you ask why our coverage level of what you want to hear about isn't larger, there's your answer.

    We're able to dive pretty deep into Women's Basketball in the roughly two months between the end of fall sports (volleyball, soccer, field hockey, cross country) and the beginning of spring sports (lacrosse, softball, rowing, track & field), with a smattering of other sports that have some year-round scheduling (tennis, swimming & diving), but to paraphrase a popular HBO show, "Spring is Coming" and its about to get really busy around here at Cardinal Couple HQ again.

  3. You guys rock with your coverage! As a former Louisvillian that is now in Arkansas, I appreciate the news and updates you provide. The campus has changed so much since my days as an undergrad but my love of Cardinal Sports never will.

    I will also guess Myisha Hines-Allen (the second M of the M&M's) for 101 points.

    Third and Long

    1. Thanks, all...for the kind words and comments! I struggled to get today's article up and of those mornings where my mind was a blank piece of paper and I had no mental pencil. I almost did a dissertation on why we need ten toes. I probably would have settled on eight...easier to clean and two less that are susceptible to stubbing or breaking.

      It's a thought for a July article when nothing is happening, I suppose...


  4. Pressure is being the one to beat when the shorts that you wear are creeping up your "seat".

    Give me Bria Smith and 90.

    Ted the Bear

  5. Looks like 502 has put a huge amount of thought into and also chosen the right people to develop their website. If the rest of their operation is as professional, they are off to a good start.


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