Paul Sykes - "The Rambler" to Brave Mo-Town - "Put me in Coach!"
If you don't know the Louisville writer and lifelong Cardinal enthusiast Paul Sykes "The Rambler", he is the guy who is always recanting his stories of his home and road game experiences and bowl games through decades of Louisville Football, bringing great insights, coupled with a comedic touch.
Man, what a warrior! Paul "The Rambler" Sykes, is making the trip to Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium
, and is going to stare into the belly of the beast! A very hostile venue and demographic, for a fan being dressed to the teeth in the Cardinal Red and Black. Most football fans nationwide are terrified of the Mountaineer faithful and the opportunity to brave the "Sea of Mountaineer", but not The Rambler. He loves being in the eye of the storm, especially in this passionate road battle with Big East rival WVU. He would not miss being in the mix for anything the world.
The Rambler will give a full report of of his FULL game experience, and we will get the REAL story on how Louisville fans are treated in Mo-Town by the Mountaineer faithful.
Are the rumors of Mountaineer Field true? Do the fans throw batteries? Do they have horns and pitchforks?
Stay tuned. It will soon all be revealed by The Rambler, and the mystique either confirmed or unveiled, in a comprehensive and humorous post-game report.
Above, the mayor and a couple of the city councilmen anxiously await our arrival later this evening. "How'd you boys like some possum stew and a swag of some 'shine?"
In about six hours, six brave men will meet at the designated coordinates and head east to wild and wonderful West Virginia. Will there be drinking? Yeah, you can depend on it. Will I be part of it? Not at first, I drew the dubious assignment of driving the first three hours.
Our mission is a simple one, really. It is the annual "guys trip" of the year and we are bound and sworn to cram in as much fun and innuendo as we can in a roughly 30 hour time frame.
Past ventures have landed us at Rutgers (would love to forget that one...) Cincinnati, Tulane, Va Tech, Memphis...yeah, we've been doing this awhile.
This is actually the first driving trip in a few years. Normally, it's a flight, rent a van, find a liquor store and warn hotel security that we may be in late, rowdy and weaving. This is generally tolerated, except for the year one of our group took out a small potted tree in the hotel lobby. It was a clean hit, but hotel management had a problem with it, and we were asked to leave and our money refunded. No big deal, we just went to the hotel down the street.
What will we see when we are there? Our accomodations are top notch and fairly inexpensive, thanks to a travel agent with some pull. There is a hotel lobby bar, which bodes well for us. The downside is we'll be back up and preparing for a God awful, too early tailgate, mere hours after we wander off to sleep. We also expect to see a little football. We'll be parked in prime West Virginia tailgating territory, thanks to a return favor from an influential WVU administrative official I "showed a good time" when WVU came down here in 2006. He's promised our safety, we're not so much concerned about that as we are about the chilly weather possible Saturday morning and whether anyone will be grilling Italian sausage that early. It is a must...along with spicy brown mustard.
On the field, I'm hoping for the best but resigned to the fact that it may be a long afternoon for those of us dressed in red. It could be one of those trips where we get a "pass" out of the stadium at halftime (which they allow at WVU) and refortify ourselves during the intermission and part of the third quarter.
It should be interesting. We are walking boldly into a land where the people are passionate, graphic and outspoken about their football team. We may be staggering or limping back out, but sometimes that is the price you pay to play.