"Wait, Thanksgiving?", you say?
Yes, I know I'm almost two weeks early from the US celebration of the day of Thanksgiving, but taking a look at the schedule, on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, I'll be writing a FRED report for the Washington game, and the Sunday after will give me a chance to preview the NCAA Volleyball Selection, and you know I'm not going to pass up that opportunity.
Today, though, I have an opening as there were no women's sports in action yesterday, and nothing for the sports we cover heavily upcoming today. I will note that Rowing is in action at the Rivanna Romp, and give some appreciation for the wonderful names that Rowing events have. They're just the best at naming things!
So I've got a day to go a little off the beaten path, and I've been seeing and experiencing some thing recently that...well, it really makes me proud of some things that I'm some, at least, small part of, and I wanted shout out some people, individually and collectively, that have contributed to that.
Cardinal Couple Writers
First off, what an amazing bunch of folks to get to work with here at Cardinal Couple.
This, of course, wouldn't exist at all with Paulie's efforts and passion. We all know that, of course, as this is his brainchild, but it's important to occasionally at least, stop and take stock of what Cardinal Couple is, how incredibly rare sites like this are...perhaps even unique...in the sports world. We all like to joke about how off-the-wall Paulie can be at times, and that's certainly part of his charm as a person, but I believe it also takes a little bit of that off-the-wall mentality to have a vision for what something like Cardinal Couple could be, and then to go out and make it happen.
Case joined the crew a few years back, and at first I was a little skeptical, I'm not going to lie. Case brought a wealth of Soccer knowledge to the site, a sport that the rest of us knew a bit about, but had never grabbed ahold of and dug in to. Given the "up and to the right" trajectory of soccer in this city as a whole, adding his expertise in this area was amazingly timely and has without a doubt added to the site. I'm also super appreciative for Case jumping in and doing the podcast editing and posting of the CCRHP. This was something that I thought would be great to do for a number of years, even back when we were at WCHQ and were streaming to Facebook Live, but Case just up and did it, and man is it fantastic. He and I collaborated on switching our recording process off of Skype calls and onto VDO.Ninja, which has made our streaming, recording, and editing process both easier, and I believe generates better results.
Jared is the photographer and sports generalist. Jared brings the apparently magical ability to be in four different places and photograph four different events at the same time. We've all gotten to watch as his sports photography skills have improved over the years and been the beneficiaries of it. It gives CC a touch more flare and quality to have high quality sports photography on the site. I can also share that Jared is incredibly giving in these efforts. Any time I've asked about sharing full size originals of his with someone else, it has always been met with an enthusiastic "yes" and an offer for more. He's apparently driven by passion, and maybe Mountain Dew?
Lastly Daryl joins us in her busy, busy schedule of working 17 different jobs. I have always thought that a sports site about women's sports should feature women's voices as much as possible, so I am super thankful to have Daryl's voice on the site on Fridays and when she can join us for CCRHP. We all know women in the sports world have a tough road, but Daryl's enthusiasm is infectious and I'm glad to have her here with us.
Cardinal Couple Community
Many companies have "Community Managers" as a paid position, and some even do a really good job of building something kind of resembling a community around their offerings. We don't have any of that here at Cardinal Couple, and yet, there definitely is some sense of community that has developed here.
When asked to describe Cardinal Couple, I go to our tagline of "sharing the joy and excitement of University of Louisville women's sports" first, but then I will acknowledge that it's a niche in the overall sports world. I will always point out that we have ended up with a "small but incredibly loyal" community of readers, listeners, and commenters.
I do NOT take that lightly, and I cherish the comments we get on our articles, because this community truly is a cut above the followers and commenters you get on a typical sports site or sports show. So much of the toxic cynicism that so much of sports fandom brings with it just doesn't really happen here at CC, and while we do some light-touch control of comments, it's actually quite rare that we have to step in on anything. I don't think I can possibly express how amazing that is in an open-posting-available Internet forum of any type.
Thank you all for being part of building something positive and uplifting here.
In September, UofL Athletics kicked off "The New Standard" a development program completely focused on women's sports at the university. I believe this is the brainchild of Amy Calabrese, who's title is listed on the UofL Athletic Department site as, "Associate AD/Senior Woman Administrator/Sport Administrator/W Basketball/Volleyball/W Soccer/Softball/Field Hockey/M Tennis/W Tennis"
If you haven't gotten the opportunity to get to know Amy at all, well, you're missing out. She is a UofL Soccer Alumna that has gone on to do great things within UofL athletics.
Calabrese, and "The New Standard" are emblematic of how UofL approaches women's sports, and has done so for the better part of two decades. A commitment to women's sports, across the board, unlike any I've seen at nearly any other school. There are a number of schools that have a flagship women's sports program that gets a lot of attention and support, but it's a rarity to see such across the board support, and consistently over time, across so many different women's sports program as what we see at UofL.
A City That Values Women's Sports
Louisville has become an amazing city for women's sports, and not just at the University of Louisville. I sense, in the city as a whole, a real understanding of the notion, "a rising tide lifts all boats" when it comes to women's sports.
Just this week, in the weekly Twitter poll by the @GoCards twitter account for the PFDairy student-athlete of the week, basically what amounts to a popularity poll, Anna DeBeer won over Noah Locke from Men's Basketball. Think about that a minute...a volleyball player winning basically a popularity contest over a big name basketball player? That's just crazy awesome. And folks, it wasn't even close! 84% to 16% in the final tally.
I also noted this week some tweets by Racing Louisville FC. This club, and the organization behind it and Louisville City FC, clearly recognizes the rising tide. Just this week, in the run up to the NWSL championship that the club is hosting, their social media folks took a moment to recognize several other women's sports teams in the area. They shouted out UofL WBB, along with Bellarmine WBB, and Kentucky WBB. They also responded with cheering for UofL Volleyball's #1 ranking on Monday. And this isn't unusual for them.
I am thankful for the people and organizations that are contributing to non-toxic sports fandom, it's great to see.
So there you have it. I'm glad to have a day where I could step away from the recaps and previews that come in hot and heavy this time of year, and take a moment of reflection and express my thanks for creating sports fandom that I can wholeheartedly embrace.
Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast
The CCRHP took a break yesterday thanks to a noon football kick-off. And, hey, that was a nice win for the football team as well, we can celebrate that, too.
Oh yeah, and that Lamar fellow, he certainly seems like a nice guy. I kid, of course. Jackson goes in the same category for me as Donovan Mitchell, and Teddy Bridgewater, as men's athletes that came through UofL that, by all accounts, are just great people, and do everything they can to lift up everyone around them. There are plenty more of course, but those three have been the most visible in recent years.
We should be back again next week with the CCRHP, and as always, even if I don't always say it, thank you for your support of UofL athletics and Cardinal Couple.