It is insanely late in the game to still be looking for gift ideas for the holidays, but my assumption is that at least a few of you reading this currently find yourselves in that unfortunate, paddle-less boat.
Fear not, your faithful narrator is here to save the day with a handful of last-second gift ideas perfect for the Louisville sports fan in your life.
1. Citrus Bowl tickets
The good thing about non-playoff bowl games is that tickets are rarely in short supply. Hop on Ticket Master or StubHub or Craig’s List or really anywhere on the internet that does that sort of thing and snag a pair so that your friend/family/loved one gets one more opportunity to see Lamar Jackson play in person in 2016. After New Year’s Eve, it will be nine brutal months before any of us have a chance to see No. 8 break some poor linebacker’s ankles with a shifty move in the open field.
Also, you know where it’s not 5 degrees one day and then 65 and sunny the next? Orlando. A little climate consistency would do wonders for all of us right now.
2. “I Said Bang!: A History of the Dirt Bowl, the Crown Jewel in the Most Basketball Obsessed City in America”
If you’ve lived in Louisville for a long enough time then you’re likely familiar with the Dirt Bowl, the summer basketball tournament that has taken place annually (with a little break) since 1969. The Louisville Story Program, a literary arts nonprofit that reaches out to folks in Louisville whose voices and stories are too frequently unheard, has put together the definitive book on the event, written and compiled by people who organized, came up through, and still participate in the Dirt Bowl community.
You’ve likely heard of the story of a teenage kid named Darrell Griffith dunking on 7-foot professional Artis Gilmore during one of the first Dirt Bowls, but I guarantee there are multiple stories in this book that you’ve never heard. The book is a must-have for anyone who loves basketball and/or the city of Louisville.
3. One of those flashy Men in Black memory erasers
Look, 2016 hasn’t been the best 12-month period for any of us, so why not celebrate the conclusion of the year by taking away at least some of the pain the year wrought.
Have a friend who took not seeing Louisville’s name on Selection Sunday especially hard? Flash ’em. Your baseball-crazy uncle who still isn’t over the Cards having their College World Series dreams destroyed on a walk-off grand slam? Flash ‘em. That special someone who sill hasn’t quite gotten over the last two games of the UofL football season? Flash ’em twice.
Where can you find one of these? I mean, I don’t know. I can’t do all of this for you, baby birds. You’re going to have to do at least some of the leg work on your own.
4. Lamar Jackson’s Heisman Trophy Ceremony outfit
You can still find the jacket if you look hard enough on the Macy’s website. The $700 Fendi loafers might be a little more difficult to make happen, but there’s always a price to pay for making a sartorial statement on New Year’s Eve.
Also, if you’re struggling to lock down a guaranteed midnight kiss, start telling people that you’re wearing Lamar’s actual outfit from the ceremony. If they’re dumb enough to even consider kissing you, then they’re probably dumb enough to at least consider that you might be telling the truth. Win, win.
5. UofL women’s basketball tickets
If tickets to men’s games at the KFC Yum! Center run a little too rich for your blood, I can’t recommend checking out a women’s game enough. The lower bowl is always packed with fans who are genuinely excited to be there, which means that even though you have about half the crowd as a men’s game, you’ve got about twice as much noise.
6. A Louisville sweatshirt
Because you’re boring, and you don’t even like the recipient that much, and oh my God we’re all just ready for things to hopefully be better in 2017. VT