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Friday, December 12, 2014

Louisville, Last Weekend. It was great.

In the end, when all of the cards have been played and the "old man with the telescope cuts the final strand" last Friday is going to be counted among my best.   Traveling is not something I relish, but a three and a half hour drive is not really traveling, more of a commute., even I can handle commuting.

There is something special about taking a quick trip, a miniature vacation, a short jaunt, that doesn't require all of the preparations.  Packing is minimal, preparations are simple, just throw a couple of bags in the car, a case of bottled water, some Diet Coke (my wife has a Dr. Jekyll \ Mr. Wife thing that happens when she doesn't get her Diet Coke) and maybe a couple of beers for the motel.  Snacks, drinks, and personal hygiene items, and you are on the road.  No fuss, no bother, and no drama.  Louisville here we come.

Our drive was uneventful, and even had some magical moments.  There is a deep, wide valley that runs east and west just north of Cincinnati, I am not sure what river carved this beautiful feature, but the view is genuinely striking.  On Friday, rain storms had filled the valley with a dense, smoky fog that added a surreal, almost supernatural appearance. It was fun to imagine what monsters lay hidden, but you don't want to go to far down that path.

Three and a half hours later we are in the KFC Yum Center. It was a fantastic place to to build an arena, a stroke of convenience genius, access made in action.  It is adjacent to to three freeways, in and out quickly.  We drove straight down Interstate 71 took the exit, 10 minutes later we were parked, and walking to the game.  

Whoever designed the Yum Center deserves some sort of award.  It was built around basketball.  True, it is a multi-purpose facility, but, it is a basketball shrine.  Walking the halls of this wonderful building you can sense the pride, feel the history, and steep in the glory of Cardinal basketball.  In Kentucky basketball is King.  

We have been to quite a few sporting events. hockey games, men's and women's basketball, and the atmosphere at a Louisville basketball game is different.  It is more like a really big party, with people you don't really know, but who are happy to be there.  Cardinal fandom seems to be a brotherhood, or sisterhood, and everybody is enjoying the atmosphere.  Even the vendors are fans, and "Go Cards" rings constantly.

Our tickets this year were phenomenal. three rows up, (my wife still amazes me sometimes, these were the best seats I have ever had at a sporting event) right across the entrance from the band, so close you could see how tall the basketball players really are.  From that close the game takes on a new significance, you can see just how physical college basketball really is, how much they fight, and struggle for position.  You can hear the rim rattle on dunks.

Louisville is a fun team to watch play.  They are relentless, and keep pressuring, and trapping and harassing, and pressing, it is a 40 minute defensive fight, and that is how I think basketball should be played.  It is a game of movement, and motion, and sweat.

It was a great trip, capped by a big win, and followed by a great, free breakfast, I love the Embassy Suites, and their cooked to order omelettes.  It will be hard to match last weekend.