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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Sometimes Sports are Good - Sunday Cardinal Couple

Sports Are Good...Sometimes

The UofL vs UK rivalry is...intense.  I don't think that's news to anyone.  The two programs are typically competitive at the top level of several sports (including, of late, my beloved volleyball...but that's not where I'm going with this).  The vibe between the two schools' sports programs cannot have been more different this week, however.

Kentucky fandom has been focused this past week on some discomfort between two of their top coaches, with a contribution from their AD, while Louisville fandom has been on a real positive streak recently, including the unmitigated joyfulness many of us experienced Friday evening watching Women's Soccer get a victory.

I don't want to dump on Kentucky and their programs, there have been times in the past where there has been such acrimony within Louisville's department and fandom.  It wasn't that long ago that we were seeing billboards calling for the return of Tom Jurich, for example.

Instead, I'd like to take a moment of editorializing to encourage fandoms to the positive.  The mission of Cardinal Couple has been to share the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports.  We try, to borrow from Johnny Mercer and The Pied Piper, to "Ac-cent-tchu-ate The Positive".  I, personally, have found that to be remarkably rewarding.

I spent a beautiful Friday evening among friends, cheering on UofL Women's Soccer to a win.  And, yes, that the team I was cheering for won the game certainly helps.  And I came away with a good vibe that has lifted my spirits since.

Sports "fans", and I use the sarcastic quotes here intentionally, can be toxic.  And that toxicity can spill over into other aspects of people's lives.  I truly don't understand why some people choose to pursue their fandom when all it seemingly does is to engender anger and dread in them.  Life is too short to go around grousing about a team that you supposedly like.

Now, that's not to say critique of a team doesn't have its place.  I've found that my joy in sports grows as I understand more about the sport.  As I've watched more soccer, including Friday evening's event and Lou City FC's win over Tampa Bay last night in front of a club record, and sellout, crowd, I find that I enjoy watching games more and more.  Part of learning about the sports is learning and seeing mistakes and shortcomings.  It's something of a tragic truism in the engineering world, that catastrophic engineering failures (Shuttle Challenger, Kansas City Hyatt Walkway Collapse, Titanic, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, and too many more to name) tend to lead to breakthrough scientific and engineering learning and advancement.  The same is true in sports, you frequently can learn more from failures and losses than you can from successes and wins.

What I hope for is that failures and critiques can be taken objectively, and somewhat dispassionately.  You hear coaches after losses frequently talk about learning from it and then, "tearing off the rear-view mirror".  They don't want the loss to dishearten their team.  There are lessons to be learned, for sure, but accept those, improve from them, and get back on your horse.  In the engineering world, there is a concept of "blameless postmortems".  These are used to learn from a failure and improve an organization's response.  The main tenant of blameless postmortems is, as the name suggests, not to assign blame, but rather to encourage people to speak freely about what happened, how they reacted, and why they reacted the way they did.  The goal is to let them speak freely, knowing that there won't be repercussions if the actions taken were taken in good faith, and to learn how systems can be adjusted to support people in a similar situation in the future to have the information and knowledge to make decisions that will lead to better outcomes.

As Tom Watson, CEO of IBM after the Great Depression, supposedly put it when a salesperson was turning in their resignation after failing to win a much-needed million dollar deal.  "Why would I accept this when I just invested a million dollars in your education?"

Fortunately, the Cardinal Couple community seems to have followed this path quite well.  I see critiques of UofL teams, but they are almost always thoughtful, fair, and backed by evidence and reasoning.  We, the Cardinal Couple Crew, do try to embody this and guide it, but credit does go to you in the community as well for taking those ideas to heart and embodying them as well.

Thank you.

 I think we've got an exciting fall sports season ahead of us.  Volleyball is poised to pick up largely where they left off last year, Field Hockey has a good core of players returning, and Women's Soccer is certainly off to a good start.  It's fair to discuss the weak spots in these teams, but let's keep doing it in blameless good faith.  We, as a site, may be small potatoes in the sports media world overall, but I believe we can be a shining example of how sports fandom can work.

WNBA Down to the Wire

Don't look now, but it's the last day for the WNBA regular season and our Cards in the Pros, and it's coming down to the wire.  The Chicago Sky are tied with the Las Vegas Aces in first at 25-10, with the Connecticut Sun looking through a crack in the door at 24-11.

Today's slate of games will be important, and every team is playing today.  Las Vegas has a bit of a challenge against the 4th place Seattle Storm (22-13) on ABC at 3pm.  There are no UofL rooting interests in that one, but based on the standings above, that game will have an impact on what happens at 5pm between the Chicago Sky with Dana Evans and the 7th place, below .500, Phoenix Mercury.  That one is available on Amazon Prime Streaming.

Myisha Hines-Allen, Jaz Jones, and the Washington Mystics in 5th place (21-14) should, let's be honest, have a relatively easy time with the Indiana Fever who are in last place by a rather significant margin.  They'll just need to watch out for that pesky Emily Engstler, of course.  I think you'll be able to catch that one at 3pm on ESPN3, the Indiana Fever Facebook page, and maybe NBC Sports?

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

The Crew were dealt four of a kind with a queen high for the podcast, pretty much guaranteed to be a winning hand, and so it was for the CCRHP.

We had a recap to cover, and there was much rejoicing.  We discussed, with a just a wee little bit of good faith critique, the soccer match against Cincinnati, and took a few minutes to preview the Volleyball Red & Black scrimmage, as well as Field Hockey and their upcoming scrimmage against Miami (OH).

After having all gotten together Friday evening, and then all five of us on the call yesterday, there was a definitely sense of joy and excitement.  Hopefully it can lift your spirits as much as it has mine.

Find it at it's podcast home at:

While we're talking about it, a little peak behind the engineering curtains.  We use a tool called for our podcast calls and also feeds into our recordings using OBS (Open Broadcaster Server).  It allows us to record each person in their own individual track to adjust and tweak the audio quality.  We take a bit of a belt and suspenders approach to recording as well, with both Case and I recording the call on our separate systems.  That paid off in spades as somehow Case's recording managed to not record his own audio...we're not exactly sure how that happened, but I was able send Case my recording of his voice to splice in to the rest of his recording.  And thus this week's podcast was saved.



  1. A big thanks to Case and Jeff for the work they do weekly on the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast. Their unique system of checks and balances pays off once again. We're lucky and grateful to have them on the boat with us.


  2. David Watson8/14/2022 11:39 AM

    Hey Ho,
    It's Dave O

    Thanks for being something very special in the world of sports. I was proud to be a writer here at times, Paulie knows I'll jump in if needed again, but I do like the role of reading and reflecting on the daily articles. If UofL doesn't appreciate you, they're nuts.

    Dave O

  3. I check the Cardinal Couple along with a couple of other sites every morning. You deliver, and rock !


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