1 – THE DREAM GAME “Geaux Cards”
Over the past week the world and the folks around this area have been buzzing about the mini series shown on the History channel about the Hatfield & McCoy feud. But a few months ago in March there was a buzz about a different feud. The University of Louisville and University of Kentucky had both made it to the Final Four in New Orleans and would face each other for the first time ever in the national semi-final game.
Kentucky blew through their NCAA competition to reach the big game but it was a different story for our Cardinals. They won four games in four days to win the Big East. Then they avoided close calls against Davidson and New Mexico during the first weekend to advance to the West Regional. There they knocked off West number one seed Michigan State and then defeated Florida to reach the Final Four.
There’s only one game for bragging rights in Kentucky every year but this season it would be two. The Battle of the Bluegrass would take over New Orleans. UK and UofL fans would take over the city for perhaps the biggest chapter in this rivalries history. The original “Dream Game” happened in the 1983 NCAA Tournament. That year Louisville defeated Kentucky 80-68 in the Mideast Regional Final. The game took place in Knoxville Tennessee. I wasn’t old enough to appreciate that game, but this time I took full advantage of the moment.
I wore my colors proudly all week. Then loaded up and headed to the Big Easy with a group of guys I had grown up arguing this rivalry with. One side of the car had a blue flag and the other side had a red one. When we reached Tennessee we stopped at a local restaurant for a meal. We walked in decked out in our colors and sat at the bar. Some of the local patrons asked if we were headed to the big game and then asked how we could all be friends while cheering for opposite teams. We explained to them about how that made this rivalry so special, and this game so big.
We reached New Orleans early Saturday morning and had an awesome time that day partaking in the festivities of the French Quarter. While there we met up with other friends and family to celebrate our teams’ achievements. Later that night we would attend the Dream Game. My Cardinals gave a valiant effort and came up short against the arch rival Cats losing the game 69-61. But on this night and on this weekend in March there were no losers. It was an awesome time to be a college basketball fan in the state of Kentucky. And that’s why this is my #1 moment over last 5 years of Louisville basketball.