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Sunday, July 9, 2017


Ruminations on the Meaning of "Success"

In yesterday's article, Case wrote a fantastic short essay about the nature of Success.  Ok, there was more to it than just a philosophical and epistemological discussion about what "Success" means, but it was definitely an article that made many of us pull up short and think about the meaning of the term.

I couldn't just let the topic go, though, so, on this lazy Sunday morning, I find myself ruminating about some of the ideas, and I'll also share where I agree and disagree with Case on what I would consider a successful season for each of the women's sports teams at UofL.

Sports fans seem to frequently define success as achievements specifically within sports for their team and/or the individuals of that team.  Towards the more reasonable end of the sports fandom spectrum, you'll find fans that see success not just in National Championships, but steps along the way.  It seems pretty rare, in my perception, to find many sports fans that look for success beyond that, and I think that's something of a shame.  Case mentioned Brian Brohm and Luke Hancock.  Brohm is in the coaching staff at Purdue where his brother is head coach, and Luke, after playing limited pro ball suffered a career ending injury and is now a financial advisor.

Of course, my sport of choice is Volleyball, so I'd like to highlight some of the spectrum of success that see coming out of that team over the past years.

Let's look at a few players, and let's start with some of the players that have gone on to play
professional volleyball.  The first that come to mind are Lola Arslanbeckova, and Erin Fairs.  Lola had several years of playing professional volleyball, mostly in Puerto Rico, but has since had a child and is spending some time being a mother.  Where does more success come from there?  I have no children of my own (I have a niece and a nephew, both of whom are absolutely delightful, and I find tremendous joy in being an uncle), but I surely tip my hat to those who chose to have children and raise them well.  That's a contract that's at least a couple of decades long.  Erin Fairs is about to start playing professional volleyball with her 4th team in Romania.  She has already spent time in Sweden, Puerto Rico, and Turkey and has seen a great deal of team success on those teams.  Is there non-sports professional life ahead for Erin?  I have no clue, but from the little I got to know her in her year with the Cardinals, I have little doubt that whatever is ahead for her, it will be able to be described as successful.

But what about some other volleyball players?  Emily Juhl was a great hitter and server for the Cardinals, but chose not to pursue a professional sports career.  Emily is enrolled in the UofL School of Dentistry, and has already had the opportunity to put her developing skills in that field to some charitable use.  You could disagree about how much success she had on the volleyball court at UofL, and what impact she had on the team, though I think, pretty clearly, it would be an disagreement about degree of success, rather than success vs failure.  Clearly, though, she is a success story in what she is doing with her life "post-sports".

Friday, I posted a fun article about Gabbie Wiley playing in a Mud Volleyball tournament back home in Hannibal, MO.  But let's talk a little bit more about Gabbie, not only is she tearing it up as a defensive and serving specialist, but she's been named to pretty much every honor roll list announced for the past couple of years, making (just on a quick check) the Athletic Director Honor Roll at UofL for multiple years, but also the ACC Honor Roll.  Let's remember that she's a pre-med student, while playing D1 varsity Volleyball.  This is not a light workload, by any stretch of the imagination.  I don't expect Gabbie to go play pro volleyball anywhere, but I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone who knows this young woman, even to the limited degree that I know her, that would say she is and will be anything but a success.

Case touched on this idea yesterday, but I want to amplify it a bit.  Let's not just consider success as an on-the-court measure for UofL Sports.  Yes, it's awesome to talk about being the only school to have ever had a Heisman winner and a Golden Glove winner in the same year, and I have no doubt that Lamar Jackson and Brendan McKay will see success in the pro ranks of their respective sports, but lets look beyond that as well.  Let's look at Teddy Bridgewater, who has seen some professional success, but also embodies success just in who he is (just look at the loyalty and admiration he has engendered, even in the pros...where players are thought of even more as commodities to build value for the team - well compensated along the way, to be sure - to be discarded as soon as they are no longer useful).

As much as I love to rip the NCAA as an organization, there is one slogan they have that is good to remember.  "....Most will be going professional in something other than sports."  Let's not shortchange the success to be found there.

What About the Teams, Though?

OK, a couple of quick thoughts about what success will mean for the UofL Women's sports teams this year.

Soccer: Generally agree, here.  Also, I'm not as knowledgable about soccer, so defer quite a bit to Case and Paulie's judgements here.
Field Hockey: Generally agree, again.  Though 5 losses probably doesn't earn you a top 2 spot in the ACC in this sport.
Volleyball: Top 4 in the ACC would be a moderate success for me.  I think this team can win the conference, and I'd like to see them advance to the 2nd weekend of NCAA tournament play.
Basketball: I don't think anything short of a Final Four appearance will be considered a fully successful season for this sport anymore. Top 3 in conference, Elite Eight in NCAA is a good season, though.
Lacrosse: Top 3 in conference is probably good for top 5 in the nation in this sport.  I'd agree with that criteria, but bump up the tournament expectations to a Semi's appearance.
Softball: Top 3 in conference is probably pretty good (I doubt anyone takes FSU out of the top spot if they're half as good as they were this year), and I think a Super Regional appearance that goes 3 games would definitely crown a successful season.


We had a great time in the studio yesterday with Paulie, Worldwide, Case and Jared! A GREAT interview with Asia Taylor, a challenging quiz (for some) and our usual totally irrelevant, off the subject rants and diversions. DID YOU MISS IT?

Not to worry....the replay is HERE

-- JMcA


  1. Wow! A great follow up article to Case's fine words! Can't tell you how proud I am of both these knuckleheds!


  2. Great articles both days gentlemen!

    Success is earned.

    I never thought I would end up in the bar business in college. It was a summer of bartending that got my interest. A lot of long hours and slim profits at first but eventually hard work, connections and providing people what they want parlayed that into a success and opened the door to other profitable areas.

    Never forget the people who help you get there and reward them. I took a "waste case" from the hippie movement and turned her into a damn fine waitress, bar manager and now owner of what I started. I took a guy who couldn't boil water and turned him into a inventive and highly successful chef but it was more about the fact that they WANTED it and were willing to put in the work and hours to achieve it.

    You get what you put into it.

    On UofL sports:

    Soccer needs a plus .500 season or a coaching change.

    I'll give Volleyball a couple of years but if they can get back to .500 in conference. I'll be satisfied this year.

    Field Hockey needs an ACC title. This is the year. Especially with th ACC and NCAA Tournaments in Louisville's backyard.

    Softball? I've given up hope here. Not gonna get it done with who is at the helm, IMHO.

    Walz and WBB need to reach the Great Eight. And find the best five to play, like Paulie and Case mentioned on the show.

    I don't follow Lacrosse a lot but will they ever get past the first round of the NCAA Tournament? The talent seems there.

    Anyway, my two cents worth.

    -- The Real Joe Hill --


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