Friday, April 24, 2020
Campus -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
DRIVING AROUND ON A RAINY DAY
Yesterday (Thursday) was a rainy day in Louisville, KY. A day where Sonja and I could not do anything related to our we spend a lot of days lately -- working outside in the gardens and on the lawn.
A check of the scheduled/cancelled events revealed that Louisville Softball would have been getting ready to host NC State in softball. Lacrosse would have been involved in the ACC Championships. So, I invited Sonja to hop in the car with me, take a drive to the Belknap Campus and have a "look-see" of what was going on around Floyd Street.
We did not leave the vehicle much. All photos were taken out the window. We took face masks with us and had hand sanitizer with us. We did not encounter anyone on our trip, much less get within six feet of anyone.
My photography skills are nowhere near the legendary Jared Anderson's, who is one of our Cardinal Couple columnist and our photographer. The pictures were taken with a Verizon cell phone.
An empty, desolate campus. We look forward to the day when student-athletes return and events are taking place.
The first picture is of the main entrance (Kueber Center) where UofL WBB, MBB and Lou. Lacrosse coaches access their offices and players go to the practice facilities, locker rooms. It is also where the media room is.
I probably couldn't count the number of press conferences, post game interviews I've attended here over the years.
I miss hearing "Walz Words". "Teeter Talks" and "Mack Monologues". I miss hearing student-athletes address the media corps about events, achievements, results and future contests and aspects of their lives. I miss having Nick Evans or other asst. S.I.D.'s greet me at the door as I go to the media room.
Now, the sign on the door greets you
I miss heading to the second floor of the "little Yum" to visit the WBB offices or cut through the WBB lobby to visit the Lacrosse coaches and staff. A few casual, friendly words and exchanging greetings with Kate Tucker, Patty Norton or other coaches and staffers before I reach my intended destination that that day.
The Louisville Lacrosse Stadium in next door to the Koeber Center as you head south on Floyd Street and that was our next stop.
This view is of the bleachers and press box on the west side of the stadium. The scoreboard is in the far distance.
It seems strange not to see the "Yellow Shirts" (Cards Care personnel) there, to exchange a few pleasantries with me as I would head to the press box. I would walk past fans in the stands. A lot of them parents of the Cardinal Lacrosse student athletes, who I got to know and would stop and chat with.
There were also student-athletes from other sports in the stands, there to cheer on their classmates and friends. A nod and wave to them as I walked. Sometimes getting them to pose for a photo with me.
The next picture on this rainy, cloudy day shows where goalkeeper Rachel Florek would be positioned for half of the game, defending the goal against opponent shots.
Something she did quite well.
Louisville Lacrosse was 5-4 when the matches were ceased.
Continuing south on Floyd Street takes you to football's home -- Cardinal Stadium -- and the Trager Center -- Louisville indoor practice facility. The Thornton's Center for Academic Excellence is on the South side of Cardinal Stadium.
Football practice fields are on the north side of Cardinal Stadium. This picture shows them empty, but still being maintained. It's strange not to hear the coaches imploring their players to "hustle", do better or other terms of encouragement, instruction or advice.
The Trager Center is west of the football practice fields. It is the indoor facility where football and other athletic squads practice when the "elements" make outdoor practicing an un-viable option. I've seen players practicing in this building many times. The facility can even be used to stage scrimmage and exhibitions. Our staff has watched soccer scrimmages in here in past years. Out in front of the Trager, I remember attending a "markdown" sale of UofL Athletic ware. I got a great pair of athletic shoes for a fraction of the retail cost.
This is one of the spots where people who are attending football games enter the facility. I chose the media entrance gate on the west side of the stadium.
Credentials are checked here and the elevators that take riders to the press boxes, Brown and Williamson Club and other spots are located nearby.
I can remember taking those elevators to softball banquets, football "signing day" parties and many other activities.
Continuing south, we drove to one of the tunnels/underpasses that connect the parking lots for football. It is a significant tunnel, because it is where the football team stages their "Card March" before each home football game.
Fans lining the red walkway to shout out encouragement to the football student-athletes as they walked by -- en route to the stadium is something a lot of you miss, I am sure. Seeing friends, other student-athletes and visiting the booths that line the walkway, too are things that'll be missed this September.
Our next stop on our Floyd Street drive was to Lynn Stadium, south of the football complexes. Lynn is the venue for men and women's soccer. The offices for both sports sit east of the actual stadium and are usually a hub-bub of activity.
Parking there is usually impossible on game day, or even just stopping by to interview Karen Ferguson-Dayes or a player, parking can be tight.
UofL fall Sports used to have their "fall preview day" in this building and media would get treated to a lunch, hear from coaches and student-athletes who participated in fall sports and we'd get the chance to ask them questions.
It was strange to look upon the field and the stadium and not see players warming up or competing in matches. This view is where I would exit from the contests, after interviewing Coach KFD and a a player or two. It is so strange to see those seats empty.
Jared, Case and I had some very memorable interviews on the pitch in front of the press box at Lynn. "Miss Kim" would set up the interviews while we would wait as a group for the interviewees to come over to us. I hope the interviews will resume soon. I hope Kim and Karen Ferguson Dayes are doing well in these "stay at home -- social distancing" days.
From there, we decided to take Central Avenue to Jim Patterson Stadium to get a couple of picture of the baseball facility, but, traffic was quite heavy and it was raining too hard to stop and get any pictures. So, I took a brief detour from our campus tour and headed to Churchill Downs.
This is the entrance I usually go in when I attend racing at Churchill. The lot was open and we drove over to one of the Clubhouse entrances. It'll be empty here next week, a time where Derby Week is getting underway in normal years. There is a lot of construction going on in the Longfield Avenue lot, but the only person we saw was one employee picking up trash near the entrance.
i wanted a couple of more campus shots, so we headed back to Floyd Street and went north. Using the McDonald's parking lot, I got a shot of Trager Stadium, where Louisville Field Hockey plays.
Empty bleachers. I took the photo from the gate where I enter to walk up the steps to go to the press box.
We've seen some very memorable contests at "Trager" over the years. Back in the fall of 2019, we saw an excellent Justine Sowry squad play in early NCAA Tournament action. Not seeing players scurry back and forth on this turf, or the water cannons blasting the turf at halftime seems very strange and I got a bit sad while taking this photo.
A short drive north on Floyd takes us to the S.A.C -- the Student Activities Center -- . I've dome countless interviews in this building where a lot of Cardinal athletic squads have their offices, where many S.I.D. personnel are located and where Louisville Volleyball practices and plays their home matches.
Talks with softball, volleyball and other personnel are missed. Afternoons and morning of popping in Nick Evans or Kathy Tronzo's office to give them a visit are missed. I miss seeing Susan sitting at her desk inside the entrance to the offices on the second floor. I look forward to those days returning -- riding the escalator to the second floor and starting an adventure.
No one bustling in and out the main entrance. The lone scooter sitting in the walkway, near Floyd Street. No crowds at the Starbucks that is adjacent to the S.A.C.
We entered the parking garage south of the S.A.C. to try and drive to the top of the facility and get a photo of softball's Ulmer Stadium.
Unfortunately, we could not get up there.
Not wanting to leave Holly's "playground" and "Funke's Field" out of our tour, I suggested we drive north on Floyd and use the roundabout to head to the I-65 Arthur Street exit thoroughfare and take a photo of Ulmer from the right field berm.
The rain had started coming down heavily again, but Sonja braved the elements to go stand on one of the "grassy knolls" and shoot our final photo.
Standing behind the right field fence, she got this picture of Ulmer.
Where fans would watch softball contests with their dogs. She stood right about where Alicja Wolny's historic blast landed when Louisville Softball defeat Valparaiso in the NCAA Tournament.
That was a really good memory for me, so we decided to jump back on I-65 and head home.
I look forward to the days when there will be events to cover on the Belknap Campus. To the days when it's safe to leave home again and there are no masks, gloves and distancing.
The days when there are crowds cheering and players celebrating. Until then, we wait patiently, hope for a vaccine and pray we don't fall victim to the Coronavirus.