Like Lazarus before them, U of L’s improbable, unforeseeable resurrection continued last Saturday night. Nothing helps the faithful sleep better than dreams of smarmy Tom Crean, the smirk wiped from his face, stewing in his own bile. Card fans leapt joyously from their barcoloungers when Jerry Smith powerchorded string music, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A dance card for the Cards within grasp, the chilly winter’s night warmed.
Unfortunately, The Rick took the euphoric moment to display his rabbit ears, berating fans for their egregious disloyalty. No matter that the coach is treated like a carton of fresh eggs by fans and media compared to the cacophony that precipitated his departure from Boston. No matter that those fans pay thousands of dollars a year to pay him millions. Coach just didn’t seem to like that earlier this season they took the team and him to task for less-than-stellar performance.
One can only hope he’ll have those rabbit ears removed. Reality is, there was nothing on display three weeks ago that would have given an observer reason to predict last week’s success. Adding to the confusion have been continuing mixed messages from The Rick. So and so is hurt and won’t be ready for two months. He starts the next game. This guy will contribute for four years. Next week he’s on a bus back home. Another guy’s in the doghouse. The key is lost. Next game he leads the team in scoring.
Which is to say fans might have more perspective if they got facts rather than spin from their coach. Many of these loyalists remember Harold Andrews’ shot that beat arch-rival Dayton in mid-’50s, and Marv Selvy’s game-winner from the half-court stripe in the ’60s. Which is to underscore that the faithful were here long before The Rick and will be fans after he retires. Dissatisfaction must not be confused with disloyalty.
Coach, you’re doin’ a helluva job. Keep it up. Stay the course. Fans want success even if they don’t kiss your ring. The season’s fun all of a sudden. Enjoy. The loyalists are.