Bardstown has the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. Now, Louisville has the Bourbon Classic.
The Classic, touted as “a connoisseur’s weekend celebrating all things bourbon” and intended to become an annual event, will debut March 22-23, 2013, at the Kentucky Center for the Arts and will feature a…
Earlier this week I posted video of barrels being charred at the Brown-Forman Cooperage in Louisville, where barrels for each B-F product are made to specification. Today I thought I’d share a few more images from my tour there last week. The place is running at capacity, with a second…
Hey, y’all. Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. I’m sure you’ve noticed!
Since the second baby was born, I’ve been busy. Running your own law practice, trying to handle two kids, two dogs (we adopted a puppy from Kentucky Humane Society back in November), being on a few local boards and committees keeps me busy enough. Then, I did the probably foolish thing of joining a few guys and starting The Coopers, a pro soccer supporters club in Louisville.
In the few months since The Coopers were founded, it’s been a whirlwind. Exploding membership, season ticket pledges, merchandise, local (and some national) media attention, capped off by a visit from the leadership from Orlando City Soccer Club last week - it’s a lot to take in. I’ve had nothing short of a blast being a part of it all.
But I’m taking a moment to reflect. I’ve always spent a lot of time reading about sports on the internet, talking about sports, watching sports. None of this is particularly productive. It doesn’t make me money, it doesn’t make me more attentive to my family. There are times when I feel bad about spending so much time and expending so much energy over something that is so superfluous in the grand scheme of things.
I guess I do these things because sports appeal to me emotionally. I find sports interesting. Know what I don’t find interesting? Updates to the Kentucky Revised Statutes. I like being a lawyer. I like the law. I love sports. The law is important. Sports are stupid.
But are they? If one considers sports to be a part of a place’s cultural fabric and identity, maybe they’re just as important as art, music, theater, and the like. These are all things that may not serve as the building blocks of society, but they make life worth living. (I admit I sort of paraphrased the most recent iPad commercial on that bit, but it seemed apropos.)
I’m not going to stop being a lawyer (unless someone offers me six figures to do something I find attractive without having to leave Jefferson County, which I doubt). I’m not going to stop loving sports. My aims with the Coopers and bringing pro soccer to Louisville aren’t all about creating something for my family to do during the summer. Some of it is about civic pride - sports teams do provide a focal point for citizens to hang their identity on, right or wrong. Some of it is about bringing a game that appeals to the world to the less-fortunate parts of Louisville - The Coopers have made a point of having a charity arm that serves Portland and the West End.
These are all good things that have value. I’m glad to be a part of it. I suppose just need to make a point of making sure I’ve properly prioritized my life. I have a tendency to over-commit myself. But there’s no doubt that my most important commitments are to God and my family. The law, sports, music…that stuff must wait.
Y’all. Lots has been happening. Not personally, that stuff’s going fine. Not business stuff, either; that’s going fine, too. No, I’m talking about soccer stuff and basketball stuff.
Soccer stuff first: three other guys and I started a supporters club for a professional soccer club, ANY CLUB, here in Louisville. We’ve decided to call ourselves the Coopers, explanation being that bourbon barrels are an important part of how bourbon is made, even if it’s not the star of the show. It’s fun. You get it. Coopers!
Our next plan is to get a Facebook (I know, lame, but also useful), Twitter, and independent webpages up and running to grow the group. The bigger the group gets, the more potential interest in season tickets for this as-yet-non-existent soccer club to sell to its owners and the Metro Council. I’m also hoping to start a podcast that would run bi-weekly about local soccer. Seeing as most local soccer means college and high school, it probably wouldn’t be a very long pod, but I think podcasts are fun and want to do one.
This leads me to kind of a big question. I’ve been posting stuff on my blog, SBNation comments, and Twitter as Anything but Gatorade (duh) for like five years now. Since I want to use what little media power I have behind this brand (ha) to support the soccer effort, it’s probably best to finally use my real name, right? At least I think so. Tough call. Any input anyone wants to add would be appreciated.
Finally: college basketball. It’s coming. Big Blue Madness is TOMORROW NIGHT, y’all. I CAN’T WAIT. The stump speech from Coach Cal. The always over the top player introductions. I have no idea what the new guys look like, so those are helpful. The dunk contest masquerading as a scrimmage. The actual dunk contest. Matthew Mitchell dance party. I love it. What I don’t love, though, is how local TV, Dave Baker, and Rob Bromley take a slick, state of the art event and make it feel like something from the 80s. Get some new blood in there that makes the event exciting. Rob Bromley could make a rave boring.
The actual season isn’t far away. Kentucky’s gonna be really good. Let’s get after it. GO CATS.
Item one: the annual and boringly named Governor’s Cup football game between Louisville and Kentucky is being moved from the first or third week of the season to the final game in 2014, and probably beyond. I am a fan of this move because it puts even more import on the game, and makes easing into the SEC season a little easier rather than putting a tough and important game so early in the year.
Item two: Kentucky announces its 2013-2014 basketball schedule. Non-con highlights include Michigan State and Baylor in neutral sites, as well as regulars UNC, Louisville, and Providence (I guess). The rest of the slate is meh, but there are some interesting matchups with NCAA Tournament regulars UNC Asheville and Belmont, who are always very pesky, unlike actual bears who are very maul-y. Also: rematch with Robert Morris. Not sure if I’m excited about that or not.
Someone posted this in Reddit and I thought I’d add my two cents. I’d love to have a local professional soccer team in Louisville to support. Love it.
Not gonna happen.
Fewer than 200 people “like” the idea of MLS (let alone a lower tier league) coming to Louisville on Facebook. There isn’t a supporters group of any kind around here. The local Premier Development League team, River City Rovers, don’t even play in Jefferson County, presumably because they can’t afford the rent. I saw somewhere that their game attendance is less than 1,000 people per game, which struck me as high, to be honest. MLS is a rapidly growing league, and it hasn’t stayed in business this long by just plopping teams where there’s no support (Miami’s first go-round excepted, I guess). I don’t think Louisville’s ever going to get top-level pro sports of any kind unless the NCAA finally disbands altogether. Ugh. Oh well.
Jurgen Klinsmann is pretty good at his job; Clint Dempsey might need to start looking for a new one
I watched USMNT win its ninth consecutive match against El Salvador last night, and it was pretty awesome. For the US’s B-squad, this team as presently constituted has steamrolled everything and everyone in its path, Costa Rica possibly excluded, since Gold Cup play started (and just before, if you count the Guatemala friendly). While coach Jurgen Klinsmann was under attack from media and fans alike during the early stages of the World Cup Qualifying hexagonal tournament for CONCACAF, he’s done nothing short of turning a dull, uncreative, just-trying-to-get-out-alive team into one of the most entertaining squads I’ve ever seen play in the stars and stripes. The Gold Cup squad dominates possession, is uber dangerous in set pieces, and defends very well. Granted, the competition may not be on the same level as Europe, South America, or Africa, but the complete change in dynamics from about a year ago on this squad has been awesome to watch. While the players obviously deserve praise and credit for the turnaround, Klinsmann has more than earned his fair share of the same for what the team has become: dangerous, dominating, and most importantly, fun to watch.
Clint’s gonna need a new club: Don’t look now, but Tottenham Hotspur has been buying up quality midfield and wing attackers this entire summer transfer window: Paulinho, Chadli, and somebody else I’m forgetting. All that plus Aaron Lennon, Gareth Bale, Jermain Defoe, and Emmanuel Adebayor makes for a crowded front line in what I assume will be manager Andre Villas-Boas’s preferred 4-3-3 formation. Dempsey is a proven goal scorer and does pretty well cutting in from the left side, but if Spurs finally sign that striker they’ve been looking for, then Deuce will probably be on the outside looking in. Clint’s a great competitor, by all accounts, and he’s a big reason why I started following Spurs, but it doesn’t look like he’s gonna have a place in the 23 man roster with all the new players arriving at White Hart Lane these days. I hope he proves me wrong, but, at this point, his best move may be to another club where he’s got the chance to play more regularly in anticipation of the World Cup next summer. While I hope everything works out, everything to this point directs me to think he’ll either be on the bench or out of Spurs altogether this next year. :(
If you follow me, you know a few things about me: a) I don’t post original content all that often anymore; 2) I recently picked up a soccer addiction; 3) I am an award winning choral singer.
Okay, you probably didn’t know the third thing.
Due to kind of dodgy weather in Louisville over the past weekend, I spent most of my Saturday and Sunday watching MLS and Confederations Cup soccer. Saturday, I watched Philadelphia Union play FC Dallas to a 2-2 draw, and then watched Sporting KC beat Columbus Crew 3-2 that night. I’m still a relative noob when it comes to soccer, but it was fairly apparent to me that central midfield play was kind of lacking in both games, and Graham Zusi is a pretty dominant player that SKC are lucky to have. He was awesome. My other observation was that the crowd in Phila was tame compared to Kansas City’s - they banged drums and sang all night, and that’s the kind of atmosphere I’d like to be a part of.
Sunday, I watched most of NYRB v. Houston Dynamo, which wasn’t quite as entertaining. Houston plays pretty well out of the back, but didn’t generate many chances to score goals in the final third. Much more exciting, however, was the Confed Cup final between Brazil and Spain. That was an exciting game to watch. Awesome performances from David Luiz, Neymar, Fred, and Hulk. That’s what I like - high tempo, high pressure, exciting. Brazil really went right at Spain, giving them little chance to dominate possession through short passes and build up play like they’d done previously in the tournament.
CONCACAF Gold Cup starts this weekend, and AMERICA plays next Tuesday.
I don’t really have a favorite MLS club. Columbus is closest to me, but I hate Ohio so they’re out. I like going to Chicago, but their SBNation site is kind of boring and they haven’t been all that good this year outside of US Open Cup play. Sporting KC was fun to watch, as are Portland Timbers. I’d prefer to follow a team I could watch live, but such is not life in the Southeastern United States. Hopefully that changes someday.
Hulk is probably my favorite Brazilian player, if only because he’d rather be wearing Aussie Rules Football shorts and looks like he could have torn Jesus Navas’s arms off and beaten him with them last night.
It’s odd that Red Bulls don’t get any media coverage from the NY Times; it’s kind of odd that MLS doesn’t get much shrift anywhere. Even SB Nation doesn’t pay that much attention to it, though their offerings are more than most. This past weekend was a scoring explosion and hardly anyone is talking about it. I think MLS is a league on the rise (if they can get out of their own way/NASL’s shadow), and media would do well to cover it more.
I’ll make this brief: Vanderbilt is terrible at basketball this year by anyone’s standards. Kentucky was mediocre by Kentucky standards until a goblin in Florida’s goalpost roasted Nerlens Noel’s knee into oblivion. Now, if the Cats’ play against Tennessee last Saturday is any indication, Kentucky might be awful by just NORMAL standards. This makes for a real happy fun good time basketball game tonight against Vanderbilt. Keep in mind these were probably the two best teams in the SEC last year, both of whom now seriously risk missing the NCAA Tournament.
I’m gonna go out on a limb and say those dance cards will be empty come Selection Sunday.
Sans Noel, Kentucky is just a collection of talented pieces that do not work particularly well together. There is a leadership vacuum on the floor. The team that was destroyed by the goddamn Volunteers a few days ago would probably struggle to beat most Sun Belt teams. Not that they were setting the world on fire with Noel healthy. At least they were winning games.
Vanderbilt, having lost 95% of its scoring from a year ago, is doing about as well as you could expect a team that lost 95% of its scoring to do. They’re undersized, have no consistent scoring threat save maybe Kedren Johnson, Rod Odom still thinks he’s a shooter for some reason, and their defense is scrappy if not particularly effective. Better days are ahead, though, because there have been some flashes of good play from Kevin Bright, Kyle Fuller, and Sheldon (I think) Jeter.
Nonetheless, this is going to be a pretty bad game, and I’m going to go watch it. Yuck I mean ENTHUSIASM!