Louisville Magazine

OCT 2014

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

Issue link: https://loumag.epubxp.com/i/388156

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Page 30 of 172

28 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 10.14 e get to the Fairgrounds at 1 p.m. on Labor Day with basic tailgating ingredients: canopy tents, a grill, cornhole boards and beer. Lots of beer. It's eight hours until kickof and 11 hours before U of L will beat the Miami Hurricanes — a marathon in terms of drinking, a social sport seemingly ft for me and other 19- to 22-year- olds. "Why don't we tailgate in the stadium parking lot?" one of my friends asks. "Cops don't come to the Fairgrounds," I say. I pause, then ask him a question that's been on my mind lately. "Are we bad?" "What do you mean?" "Is this generation bad? Are we worse than our fathers? You see so many videos of kids getting into fghts and drinking and parties and drugs and over- sexualized rap videos. Tey never had that in the past." (Or do I just think that because YouTube and Instagram didn't exist 30 years ago to document such activities?) "Guys back then did bad stuf too," my friend says. "Have you talked to anybody from the '80s? Tey have stories that make life sound like one crazy cocaine party." Te bleachers of Cardinal Abit DEEPER Stadium form the backdrop. Tailgating has gone on here since U of L's football team began playing at Cardinal Stadium in 1957. Fraternities form a circle around a grass feld. Like carnival booths, each frat brings their coolest toys. Step right up to Phi Tau for the giant circus tent and a menacing PVC sculpture with eight beer bongs attached. Come to SAE for a party bus and a DJ. Need a drink? Head over to Kappa Sig and visit the horse trough flled with cans of beer. Two hours before kickof there are more than 1,000 students here, even though the team moved half a mile away to Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in 1998. Students shotgun beers (that means they puncture a hole toward the bottom of the can, then pop the top and chug). Some throw up. Maybe this entire generation drinks, or maybe the good kids stay at home, but everyone at the tailgate is as trashed as the littered parking lot. And as game time draws near, the mob of partiers heads toward the stadium. In the ocean of bodies surging down Central Avenue, I knock heads with an older Cards fan. He's small and wiry, and his face has distinctly mousy features. "Sorry," I say. "I'm doing research. About college kids. Do you think my generation is bad?" "You kids get drunk and have fun," he says. "I used to get drunk and have fun. It's all the same." Once in the stadium, I decide I somehow need to talk to U of L president Jim Ramsey — a 65-year-old who must believe that today's beer-guzzling youth aren't all a bunch of hooligans. I head straight toward a staircase, the back entrance to the expensive seats. A grumpy security guard checks tickets. While the guard is distracted, I take a deep breath, put my head down and walk straight up the staircase. Without hesitating or looking back, I fnd myself in the Brown & Williamson Club, a dining area behind the section of 300-level seats. I wander into a box, where there's a bufet in the corner. I take a plate and load it with roast beef and chicken tenders. Ten I pour myself a gin-and-tonic to go with my meal. One of the faces I recognize is Jeferson County Property Valuation Administrator Tony Lindauer, a longtime family friend. I ask Lindauer, 72 ("I'm just getting started as a teenager," he says), if he can answer the question I've been asking all day. He laughs and reveals that he behaved worse in his youth, having run away to Nashville to become a musician. With two minutes left in the fourth quarter, I still need to meet Ramsey. I make my way to the stairwell, climb to the ffth foor and walk past a security guard playing with her phone. At the end of the hall is another set of security guards. Feeling lucky, I ask them to show me to the president's suite. Tey snarl and demand to see my ticket. I turn and run, hiding in the press box behind a support beam near the production crew's desk. Producers sit at the table, gorging themselves on cookies and soda, chatting idly into their headsets. After I leave, I ask a janitor where the president's suite is. Much friendlier than the guards, she points to the door directly in front of me, the one with the plaque that reads "President's Suite." Ramsey shakes my hand and greets me, almost as if he had expected me to show up. Te view of the stadium from the suite is absolutely stunning. As the last few seconds of the game play out, I ask him the same question I've been asking all day: "Is my generation bad?" "I wouldn't say that," he says. "My generation was just better." Bad Company By Will Ryan Illustration by Carrie Neumayer W Searching for the answers and (U of L's president) on game day.

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