The Louisville Basketball team will open the season November 9th against College of Charleston. It would seem that this is a normal mid-November in the Falls City. Well not exactly. This year, after 27 years a championship banner will rise to the top of the rafters of the Cardinals home. It will be the first banner added to the still newly minted KFC Yum! Center, and it took just 3 seasons since the opening of the Cardinals new home to bring home a title.
For some, until the banner is unveiled the levity won’t be realized. At that moment all that occurred last season will finally sink in and form a permanence. This championship is forever.
My mind still hasn’t allowed me to believe it all fully yet.
I’ve spent 21 years on this earth watching Louisville Basketball. I’ve spent the greater part of those 21 years being heartbroken over the result. Louisville Basketball has always enjoyed a relative amount of success over those two decades. But these last four seasons?
They’ve been incomprehensible.
The banner will go up. THE Banner.
Memories of past results will creep in.
Flashbacks of Michael Gilchrist going on a personal 8-0 run to stab the hearts of Cardinal fans.
I’ll remember Terrence Williams disappearing from Elite Eight game which featured – I still believe – one of Rick Pitino’s most talented teams ever.
For some strange reason, I’ll remember Reece Gaines slipping around a Freedom Hall floor and Louisville being defeated by Temple in the NIT Championship.
Mostly, I’ll remember Tim Henderson hitting two threes from the corner of an Atlanta dome, stopping what would was sure to go on the list of a missed opportunities– a bad memory.
Henderson was a savior. Handpicked to deliver justice to Louisville fans that had suffered for 27 years. Hendo magic.
When Louisville went to the Final Four in 2005, I never really believed they had a shot. The Cards were a decided underdog in St. Louis and Louisville was simply outmatched by Illinois. In 2012 when they faced Kentucky in the Final Four, I wanted to believe they had a great shot, but that Kentucky team was All-Pro and deserving – thus my ‘basketball mind’ wouldn’t allow me to.
Last season, it became all so real.
Usually folks say that at some junction of the season that the eventual College Basketball Champion appears as a ‘Team of Destiny’. That at some point during the season, it’s made quite apparent that this team is going to fulfill some kind of ‘prophecy’. Whatever it was, it seemed like that was the case with this Louisville Basketball team.
Reeling off 17 consecutive wins vaulted by a quadruple overtime loss to the Irish. It seemed quite unthinkable at times. It didn’t make sense. Why should it? After so many past failures, my broken heart wouldn’t allow me to believe until I saw triple zeros on the Atlanta Georgia Dome scoreboard.
A banner will go up November 9th. Gone with it are 27 years of heartbreak. Unknowingly, it will carry the weight of many tears and much joy as it raises to the top of the KFC YUM! Center to remain for a lifetime.
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