[Moderated by Matt Jones]
The following is based on actual conversations with University of Louisville Basketball fans and may contain illogical or half-baked arguments. Reader discretion is advised.
One of the many things I am thankful for during these summer doldrums of college sports are my Louisville Cardinal friends. That statement may raise some eyebrows but the fact is that they play a crucial role in a time-honored tradition; the UofL-UK debates. I’m referring, of course, to the arguments that consume approximately 2/3 of the conversations we have with our friends in red. These debates are the source of great pride for whoever can emerge victorious, and in the off-season they are fundamental in insuring that the unending cavalcade of baseball highlights on sportscenter doesn’t completely dull our minds. Yes, we often curse the Louisville fans and weep for those who have to spend time with them, but their existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to many, saves lives (A Few Good Men…anyone?). Well maybe it doesn’t quite save lives, but their increasingly ridiculous and misguided arguments keep us on our toes and for that I extend to them my thanks.
The argument that I will analyze today is Louisville fans’ theory of Retroactive Fanhood. Leading Louisville researchers have been developing this argument for over three years now. While the Tubby and Gillispie years presented a more even playing field in the realm of UofL-UK debates, the dawning of the Calipari era has shifted the advantage squarely back into the hands of the Kentucky fan. Kentucky’s accomplishments in the past three years have afforded the Kentucky fan a body of evidence that greatly outweighs that of the Louisville fan. It was in these desperate times that Louisville fans sought out a “Trump Card”; a single point that, when implemented, nullified every accomplishment of the Calipari era, thus proving what was once thought to be impossible, that Louisville is first and Cardinals are forever. The result was so simple that it almost worked. Louisville fans would concede that John Calipari has not cheated at Kentucky (which is usually followed by an emphatic “Yet!”); however, Marcus Camby’s actions at UMASS in 1996 and Derrick Rose’s actions at Memphis in 2008 prove that Calipari is, at his core, a cheater and renders any and all accomplishments at the University of Kentucky null and void.
Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that John Calipari was innocent of any wrong doing in either of these cases. That has already been done many times by people with more authority on the situation than myself. My argument is that it doesn’t matter. I believe whole-heartedly that arguments pegging Coach Calipari as a cheater are in poor form and are a product of lazy journalism. However, as a Kentucky fan my interest in UMASS’s 1996 men’s basketball team extends no further than the final four game in which they were Kentucky’s opponent. Furthermore, in 2008 (and this is embarrassing to say now) I was infinitely more concerned with Mark Coury than I was with Calipari’s Memphis team with Derrick Rose. I am a Kentucky fan and by extension a fan of Kentucky’s coach. In bringing up these arguments against Coach Cal in a UofL-UK debate, Louisville fans are falsely assuming that we harbor some sort of retroactive allegiance to Cal’s former teams.
If the Louisville fan accepts your response, he/she will likely make one last ditch effort to keep the argument afloat. The Louisville fan may argue that although Calipari’s action do not reflect directly on the University, the fact that he was hired reveals poor judgment on Kentucky’s part and that someone of such low report could be under the employ of the University exposes them as a cheating institution, once again rendering any and all accomplishments during this time null and void. This argument falsely assumes that the main determining factor in making a hire is ones past actions. In this respect Louisville fans are close, but are missing a very important distinction. People are hired based on how the employer projects that one will perform during the time he is under their employ. One’s past actions are but a part of the equation that is used to predict their future productivity. The University of Kentucky hired John Calipari because they believed that he would bring Kentucky Basketball back to the forefront of college basketball. In this assertion, the University’s prediction has been correct and Cal’s accomplishments speak for itself. In making this decision, the University considered Cal’s record at UMass and Memphis, but only to gauge how he would perform at Kentucky. If the hire was made based solely on past record, and not a prediction of future success, then 98 year old John Wooden with his 10 national championships would have been the surefire pick to replace Billy G in 2009.
So, in conclusion, when it comes to arguments with Louisville fans let’s all remember to keep it friendly, keep it fun, and keep the conversation limited to events and facts that actually involve one of the schools. We wouldn’t give UofL credit for Pitino’s championship at UK in 96’, so let’s not blame Kentucky for the actions of Marcus Camby and Derrick Rose.
Want to share your own misguided arguments that you’ve heard from Louisville fans? Well you’re in luck. Yesterday I fired up the inter-webs and downloaded myself a twitter, which I’m still figuring out but I assume is some sort of bird call software. Anyways, tweet out the most ridiculous arguments you’ve heard under the hash-tag #carduments and I’ll pick one to over-analyze in our next installment.
Follow me @JackHeyburnKSR, it’s the right thing to do.
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