Once upon a time, Lou lived in Baton Rouge. Only for a year, but long enough for Lou to get a sense of what life in a college football town was like. Folks in Baton Rouge decked out their houses in purple and gold lights and banners and signs like it was Christmas; some even went so far as to paint their usually neutral-colored porches LSU colors during the season. (And, by the way "the season" always referred to football season, not holiday season, not even Mardi Gras season... although it may be different now that LSU's basketball team is a force-- Lou loves Big Baby!).
Roommate lived in Knoxville for seven or eight years, so he knows football towns too. When we moved here last summer and football season started, we both thought it was so nice that Louisville seemed like a rare football town. A town where football stars and coaches take their place among the pantheon of local sports stars. A town where rooting for the football team appeared to be more of a matter of civic pride than single-minded obsession. And we partook of that civic pride with gusto, cheering the Cardinals on to the Orange Bowl enthusiastically.
Or maybe, last season, fresh to the city, we were all too willing to overlook the signs of hysteria. This season, though, with the newness of our new home somewhat rubbed off, Louisville fandom (to me, I can't speak for Roommate) seems to have drunk some serious Kool-aid.
Despite the fact that 90% of my blog entries are seriously biased, I felt obliged to label this an editorial because I know what I am about to say is the product of my current pouty, pissy mood. Abandon all hope, ye who read further... you're about to enter the realm of Lou's hypocritical, poor loser, bitchiness...
Roommate left yesterday for a business trip preceded by a camping vacation in the wilds of Connecticut (there be wilds in Connecticut?), so I thought what better way to celebrate my home-aloneness than to watch the NFL kickoff Saints vs. Colts game in the social comfort of one of our local drinking establishments? Roommate is a Colts fan and I, of course, am a Saints fan; in our 5+ years as companions, we've always enjoyed a good row during these games.
So I set off on the circuit of my favorite local bars and found not one, not two, but the first three bars I stopped at had every TV turned to the Louisville Cardinals game. At the second place I stopped at, the bar I have probably clocked the most hours at since coming to this city, I asked the bartender-- who knows me-- if she couldn't possibly turn the tiny TV in the corner to the Saints game. And she said, "Sorry honey, all the TVs work off the same box"-- which is totally not true. As I said, I've been in there a blue million times...
The 4th bar I stopped at-- Buffalo Wild Wings on Bardstown-- has a TV for every three patrons, and yet the Saints vs Colts game was only on one-- a tiny TV in the corner. Seemed good enough for me until I realized that I was hooting and hollering when the rest of the bar was silent.
It seems relevant to mention the fact that the Cardinals were playing an unranked team, and at half time were only up by three... a pretty abysmal showing. And despite the fact that they're working under a new coach (popularly dubbed "Coach K," much to the disgust of my Roommate who asserts that there is only one Coach K in college athletics-- and in his defense, can we seriously not pronounce the name Kragthorpe??), local sports pontificators are balls-afire about the fact that we could go "all the way." Sure they beat Middle Tennessee by 16 in a 58-42 game, but is giving up 42 points the mark of a team that could go "all the way"?
As I said, these are the teary, beery, sour grapes opinions of a woman whose team just lost by 31 points. But do all these college fans put their NFL allegiances aside, especially those to a team from just a little over 100 miles away, until Cardinal season is over? They didn't seem to last year.
To the credit of the Louisvillagers, as I made my way from bar to bar, wearing my Saints baseball cap, I was stopped THREE times and told: "Go Saints! America's Team!" America's team? Really? Once, I could have understood, but three times? When I was a kid the Cowboys were America's team. Who were America's team between the two? Hey, I'm not complaining, especially because America's team just lost by 31 points. Small victories.