Friday afternoon and into Friday evening was a stretch of time that was full of positive events for the University of Louisville and it's athletic programs.
I, along with Mike Hughes and handful of other area media, attended the Big East Task Force meeting inside the Brown & Williamson Club at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium and listened in as they discussed the future of Cardinal athletics.
U of L President Dr. James Ramsey spoke about his vision for the school and it's need to have a more vibrant campus. He spoke of new projects, such as a new women's lacrosse field and even an on-campus Starbuck's. He wants the Belknap Campus to become a destination. He spoke of improving surrounding neighborhoods and improving green spaces.
"I'd put it right here on campus," Ramsey said of his thoughts on the placement of a future basketball arena. "However, every option should be on the table."
While all the buzz is focused on a new basketball arena, I personally think the unanimous decision to move forward with plans to increase the size of Papa John's Cardinal Stadium was the news of the day, and week.
I leave the Big East Task Force meeting to catch the last few minutes of spring practice. I don't get to see much - 15 minutes at the most- because Coach Petrino held a light practice in preparation for Saturday's noon scrimmage.
I spoke with defensive end Chad Rimpsey after practice about his progress through the spring session. I had the pleasure of meeting Cardinal assistant coach Joe Whitt Jr.'s father Joe Sr., who has been on the Auburn sidelines since 1981.
I once again jump in my car, drive back to the other side of Papa John's Cardinal Stadium and park. This time I'm headed over the Denny Crum Overpass to the opening ceremonies for Jim Patterson Stadium.
As I made my walk I saw Dr. Ramsey's vision as hundreds of Cardinal fans, decked out in the Red and Black, both young and old, walked from every direction towards the new ballpark.
I arrive at the new stadium and am blown away. What an amazing park. The view from behind homeplate is one that every Cardinal fan should experience. I have a brief conversation with U of L Director of Sports Information Kenny Klein and make the comment, "this isn't the University of Louisville of 10 years ago!"
Make a point to attend a Cardinals baseball game! I know I'm going to make sure to frequent the new Patterson Stadium.
I have to leave the ballgame before it even begins. Yes, it was difficult...especially when you consider the free hot dogs and sodas being so generously given out by Pepsi.
I arrive at Bellarmine for the adidas Derby Basketball Classic 'Night of the Future Stars.' (This may be my favorite Derby Festival event.) The gym fills up quick, becoming a standing room only event.
Back to my car and my evening is done. As I make my drive, I turn on 840 WHAS and discover the hot topic on the Joe Elliott Show is the proposed arena.
Having attended the majority of the meeting earlier in the day, I decide to call in. Joe asks if I'd be willing to join the show for a few minutes and I agree. After the news at the top of the hour, Joe introduces me to his listeners and my phone dies. Pure silence. A few minutes later, I get the use of a different phone and rejoin the show.
The arena 'debate' isn't going away any time soon.
Calling it a night. Saturday is going to be another great day...starting with the scrimmage at noon and continuing on until the final horn sounds on the adidas Derby Festival Basketball Classic.
See you at the game!
All photos are © ITV, 2005.