The battle for the Keg of Nails is tomorrow night. It will be a beautiful night in Louisville, at least weather wise. Everything points to this being a good game, a must see in some circles. But there comes a problem. Like Dexter, I have my dark passenger that I carry beside me every time I write a blog post. I, Scott your humble Bearcat Blog writer, am a Louisville fan.
This all started when I was a wee lad. I was born in northern Kentucky, but raised and lived in Louisville. Some of my earliest memories are me going to old Cardinal Stadium. My parents had season tickets to football, I guess because Louisville sucked ass back then and they were cheap, but I was a fixture. Maybe, I was really young and moved to Cincinnati before kindergarden. I remember being a Bengals fan when I was little, and watching the Super Bowl. I had to go to bed at halftime, which was stupid. I missed one of the greatest Super Bowls ever. Thanks Mom and Dad. I remember going to see Louisville play at Ohio State with my dad, which was in 1991, or 92. I remember not much about the game, other than I wore a Louisville shirt and an Ohio State hat because we were at an Ohio State game, thus making me a huge dork. I remember that the last play was an incomplete pass and being very disappointed. Looking it up, both games ended with Louisville throwing an incomplete pass, so it's hard to tell. I remember watching Louisville kick the shit out of Alabama, mainly because my dad was going crazy about how the Cards were kicking the shit out of Alabama in the Fiesta Bowl.
I don't remember how big a UC football fan I was. I do know for a fact that on November 13, 1993 I attended the UC-Houston game. That's because that was the day my hero Charlie Ward and Florida State played Notre Dame, and I brought a radio and listened to it while at the UC game. My grade school team got group tickets to UC games every year, so I attended at least 1 a season. I remember specifically in 1995 or so they played East Carolina. Because an East Carolina player put a towel on the rail where the players come down to the field, and I got it. He probably jerked off on to it, but I have it to this day. I do remember caring. I think UC beat Miami on a last second field goal to make them bowl eligible, and I was really pumped that they won. I used to like going to UC games because no one was there and you could get down right behind the bench. At the least opponent's bench, because I think roughly every time we had other fan seats. It was like that for Wisconsin, because I remember jumping up and down and people shooting me death stares.
My UC fandom was hooked in by the 1991-1992 basketball team. I remember Nick Van Exel hitting the half court shot against Xavier like it happened yesterday. That team made me love Cincinnati basketball. Since they never played Louisville back then, I could love them both pretty equally. I watched Louisville win the NCAA Tournament in 1986 nearly 4295 times because my dad taped it. We didn't get a ton of Louisville games in Cincinnati, but I watched every one that was on ESPN. The 1993 tournament was especially great for me, because the Bearcats went far, and so did Louisville. I remember DeJuan Wheat pulling Louisville to the Elite 8 with his injured wrist, the fact Tim Duncan should have fouled out, the whole Crum saga, and Pitino getting hired. I was invested in all of it. At the same time, I copied the jump shot of LaZelle Durden, I dunked on the hoop on my door like I was Melvin Levitt, and I suffered every first and second round loss like the rest of you.
When it comes down to the teams playing though, I am always a nervous wreck. The blog has only helped to muddy the waters. I felt like a schizo when Louisville and Cincinnati played in the Big East tournament. I was incredibly pissed that Louisville was blowing the game, but incredibly happy that Cincinnati was taking it to them. I did fist pump when Parker stole the rebound from Kuric, scored and was fouled though. I say to myself that I'm going to root for whoever needs the win more, or I'm going to root for the home team. That has worked like zero times. Basketball wise, it's come closer to working. When my favorite team of all time, the 2001-02 Bearcats lost at Louisville, I was bummed. When the Cardinals lost to Cincinnati a couple of years ago on New Year's Day, I was bummed. I actually had no problem rooting for Louisville after the Bearcats fired Huggins. The 2004-05 Louisville team is my third favorite team of all time. The game that year where Louisville beat Cincinnati at the buzzer in Cincinnati pissed me off, so I was clearly rooting for UC that day. James White dunking on Dean was awesome. I will say that during the Big East tournament, I rooted more for Cincinnati because they had something to play for, while Louisville didn't.
In football, I always, always, always have rooted for Louisville. When I went to UC, I took my family to the game decked out in Louisville gear. I stood up and high fived my dad when Deion Branch (I think) scored once. And only once, you don't want to do that more than once. I rooted for Cincinnati in every game but the Louisville game. I hated it so much when UC jumped on the Cardinal bird, and enjoyed every second of the 70-7 beatdown. When UC won in 2008, I was happy they won, but kinda disappointed Louisville lost. Last season was the first one where I actually rooted for Cincinnati to win. This season, I don't know. I just don't.
I have mentioned quite a few times that I started this blog because I love Cincinnati sports, and because I wanted a Cincinnati blog. To be more specific, I wanted one like Card Chronicle, which is a site I visit daily and comment on. My personal twitter, which shouldn't be hard to find if you look at the blog twitter's @ replies, states I'm a Louisville fan who writes a Cincinnati blog. It's not as easy as that though. Nothing in this world is cut and dry, including breaking probably 84 sports fan rules running this blog. When I moved out of Cincinnati, I listed to every game of Maxiell's senior season on the radio. I also listened to 84 WHAS to hear the Cardinals play games that weren't on tv, like the C-USA tournament game they had against Marquette and the game against Indiana that wasn't on tv because the space shuttle blew up or something. I don't think I have a conflict of interest in the matter, because this is only sports, and I don't get paid. I am just a guy who happens to love two college teams that just happen to play each other every season. This is why I'm looking so very much forward to the game Friday. It's also pushing me to become a crazy person. But mainly, it's raised my excitement for both basketball and football. The games between the two transform from a random October game to a game of great meaning.
I have started to write a post like this nearly the whole time I've had this blog. In hindsight, I probably should have written it among the first 8 posts that no one read. Now I'm a little worried people are going to call me a turncoat and all that stuff. I've been a Louisville fan the whole time I've written this blog, and it's done nothing to interfere with it before, so people who say that garbage can fuck themselves. This is a Cincinnati blog through and though and it supports the Bearcats, even if the writer is conflicted twice a year.