One Fan's Reflections on Fandom
We are all fans of something. Even if you’re a hard core, sports-ball-is-stupid person, you’re probably a fan of tv shows, movies, books, musicians or bands, or even just of your own family or friends. When you’re a fan of something, seeing it succeed makes you happy. When that thing fails, it makes you sad.
As a Person Who Enjoys/Loves Sports I am a fan of many teams, most of them with direct ties* to my university alma mater, the University of Louisville. I’m the daughter of such a fan and am even married to one. We raised our kids to be fans, even if not one of the three of them decided to attend Our School.
“The past few years have been tough on Louisville Cardinals fans” is a Captain Obvious Level Understatement, quite possibly of the century. First, there was stripper-gate, then Adidas-gate, the latter being the nail in our hall of fame coach’s coffin (although we really should have known better after the cheesy sex in a restaurant scenario). Said coach the AD who hired him and our 2nd chance football coach who had his own issues with regard to girlfriends and motorcycles (in the “we should’ve known better department), were shown the door, thanks for the memories, get out. And we hired someone new. Someone who showed a lot of promise and I canNOT help but think about Rich Rod at Michigan when I think about The Coach Who Just Left our basketball team in a lurch.
After the mess that was 2020—a year that shoulda/coulda been a banner year for the Cardinal basketball team, the University lost a relatively new president and AD simultaneously, right before said bad-choice-coach exited stage left in the smack middle of the season. Our football team has some solid recruits lined up thanks to what I can only presume is the App State pipeline, but it’s going to take a while to get that program back to some semblance of glory. The women’s basketball team still has a shot of going deep into the NCAA tournament as of this writing. But the thing that trigged this particular non-booze, non-book related Sunday substack semi-rant is the fact that they lost in the quarterfinals (for the first time in team history) of the ACC tournament on Friday night.
I know because I was there. Being in Greenville, SC puts me in striking distance of a lot of ACC sports which makes me happy, but also sad because… “losing.”
Plus BONUS to you if you know who this amazing player is we found at the tournament. (hint: Dr. Dunkenstein who was one of the stars during my era at U of L so that was cool).
I consider myself of a unique perspective on this topic, having birthed, raised, and paid a sh*t ton of money to train up my own little D1 student athlete, a female one at that. I sat through my fair share of losing and hurting on her behalf. When the Cardinals were up 15 points with five minutes to go in the game on Friday, we who should know better and understand that five minutes in a basketball game is something akin to an hour of actual time let ourselves relax. And so apparently, did the coaching staff and our team members who — literally— did not score again after that. Not once.
The team that beat us turned up the heat and they won on a last second shot, after what was one of many Very Bad Calls from the referee. Not that it mattered at that point.
I was really pissed off but after exiting the building in a fury, I found myself worrying about the young women on the team—and their parents. You really can’t grasp how badly athletes hate losing until you have to drive back to a hotel after a tournament that you paid a lot of dough to get to, with said athlete in the backseat.
My athlete played in the Big Ten for a team that had a record of, shall we say, underperforming which is a shame. But that didn’t make every single loss any less difficult. Once you’ve hit the pinnacle of your athletic career which the majority of college student athletes do, having spent time, energy, money, and lack of social life in middle and high school to achieve, losing sucks on a whole ‘nother level of suckery.
My poor-me moaning and groaning as a fan means little to the women on that team who worked hard and deserved that win. I get the “you have to lose a few to appreciate the wins” philosophy, but gosh darn it, some losses just don’t seem fair. Not after the…decade? we Cardinals fans have had.
I anticipate that this team will play deep into the NCAA tournament and will hopefully channel frustration into motivation and end up winning it all. They certainly have the talent to do so. That’s a fact not open for debate. But the other fact of the matter is that in sports, there is only one winner and that means there will have to be one loser. While this may seem obvious if you’re looking at it from the couch, holding your beer, and cursing the team, please remember that that “team” is made up of humans, and in the case of college teams, relatively young humans who are way more pissed off than you.
I love my Louisville Cardinals. So much so that my Cardinal hubs and I have recently agreed that staying in ACC territory once we hit retirement—a goal that seems to get closer every day—will allow us to spend time, effort, and money to follow our Cardinals to games and cheer them on every chance we get. We love football and basketball but also are huge fans of soccer (see: daughter who achieved her goal of playing D1), baseball, softball, and hockey. So we’re looking forward to putting in the work (so to speak) and showing our fandom face every chance we get. GO CARDS!
Today’s review is of a book I read called On Rotation, by Shirlene Obuobi, which releases June 12, 2022.
I love books that make me wish I were friends with the main characters. This book takes that a step further and makes me with I WAS the main character WITH her amazing set of friends.
On Rotation is a romance but it's also a story about relationships with family, and friends from various stages of life. Angie Appiah is a 3rd year med student with an over-involved-in-her-success set of parents, a younger sister about to marry the love of her life, a cool roommate, and a boyfriend who isn't worthy of her. But on the way out of one relationship she meets a man who is. Problem is, while he's awesome, fun, sweet, caring and hot, he's also got a girlfriend already.
The subsequent weeks and months teach her a lot about herself and how she handles all of her relationships while navigating the complicated waters of her career choice. Angie is lovable--that much is clear. Her journey of acceptance about that fact--that she's more than just her parents' Perfect Daughter, the Smarter Sister, the Roommate With All the Problems, and the Girlfriend Who Won't Stick,--is populated with an incredible support system of friends called the Sanity Circle that I wish I had in my life.
It takes her and Ricky (the hot guy she meets while pining for the not-worthy one) a while to sort themselves out and I really enjoyed how that is presented by the author. While you know it's going to work out for them, the way they get to that place is fun, poignant, sometimes frustrating, other times steamy. And is full of emotional constipation, mistrust, misunderstandings, and miscommunications that feel real, not forced or contrived for conflict. Angie and Ricky earn their HEA in a way that is realistic and healthy and, I might add, includes one of hottest sex scenes I've ever read that doesn't include any anatomic specifics. It was a 4 star book for me until I read that scene.
My only issue with it is that it leans hard on current pop culture, from music to animation in a way that might be off-putting for some and may not stand the test of time.
Otherwise, this book is fun, funny, sexy, and worth every minute.
Until next time,
*Go Ravens. Go Jazz. Go Broncos. Go Cards