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Guest Post: John and Ian go to Atlanta

Thanks to this guest post from Leslie’s dad John about his trip with Ian to the final 4 and championship game in Atlanta last week!

Our family has been watching the Louisville Cardinal basketball team improve all year. When they won the Big East tournament, we knew they were special heading into the tournament. The injury of Kevin Ware during the Duke game was terrible and caused some worry because he was an important player off the bench for the team. But even when he was lying on the court with a broken leg, he was urging the team to play hard and win. He became a real inspiration for the team throughout the tournament. Nuestra familia ha visto al equipo de basketball de los Cardenales de Louisville mejorar todo el ano. Cuando ganaron el torneo del Big East, sabiamos que tenian algo especial para el torneo nacional. La lesion de Kevin Ware durante el juego contra Duke fue terrible, y causo un poco de preocupacion, porque era un jugador importante en el recambio. Pero incluso cuando estaba tirado en el suelo con su pierna rota, le pidio a sus companeros que lo dieran todo y ganaran. El se volvio una inspiracion para el equipo al final del torneo.

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After Kevin’s injury in the first half, Louisville rallied to beat Duke. With 3 minutes remaining in the game, Ian called and asked me if I wanted to go to the Final Four. “Of course!” So we began immediately searching for tickets online and within an hour had purchased two tickets to the semifinals games, two tickets to the championship game and a hotel room at the Mariott in Decatur, 7 Marta (train) stops from the Georgia Dome where the games would be played. We were ready to go. Despues de la la lesion de Kevin en el primer tiempo, Louisville lo dio vuelta para vencer a Duke. Con 3 minutos antes del final del partido, Ian me llamo para preguntarme si queria ir a ver las semifinales: “Pero claro!” Asi que comenzamos a buscar entradas en internet y en una hora ya teniamos entradas para las semis y la final y una pieza de hotel reservada en Decatur donde el tren tiene una parada y llega directo al domo de Georgia donde se juegaban los partidos. Estabamos listos.
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On Friday, the day before the game, I practiced my game face and then hopped into the car and 4 hours to Atlanta. I picked Ian up at the airport and we checked into our room and went to the Brick Store for dinner and then went downtown to find other fans. The next morning we went to Starbucks and then got Sushi for lunch. We then met our friends Greg, Casey, and Cam Willis at Hooters downtown for drinks and to hang out before the game. About an hour before game time, we began the walk through Centennial Park to the Georgia Dome. We settled into our seats earlier than anyone in our section and got ready for the big game. Witchita State played a great game. At one point we both had to take a “walk of nerves” in order to calm down. Obviously, we went nuts when we won and went downtown to the Hard Rock Cafe to celebrate with other fans. Peyton Siva’s dad showed up and joined the party wearing Kevin Ware’s jersey number. One more game to go! El viernes, el dia antes de la semi, practique mi cara de fanatico y me subi al auto para manejar 4 hora a Atlanta. Recogi a Ian en el aeropuerto  y nos registramos en el hotel para luego salir a comer a Brick Store para despues irnos al centro a encontrar otros fanaticos. A la manana siguiente fuimos a Starbucks y despues a comer sushi para el almuerzo. Nos encontramos con nuestros amigos Greg, Casey, y Cam Willis en Hooter en el centro para tomar algo antes del partido. Una hora antes del comienzo caminamos por el Parque Centenario camino al Domo de Georgia. Encontramos nuestros asientos, antes que todos en nuestra seccion y nos preparamos para el gran juego. Wichita State jugo un partido buenisimo. En un minuto tuvimos que ir a darnos vueltas por los nervios y asi poder calmarnos. Obviamente nos volvimos locos cuando ganamos y nos fuimos al Hard Rock Cafe a celebrar con otros fanaticos. El papa de Peyton Siva aparecio en el restaurant usando la camiseta de Kevin Ware y se unio a la fiesta. Estabamos a un partido mas!
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On Sunday, we went to Turner Field and watched a Braves game, then we went to a great Mexican restaurant downtown and joined other Louisville fans to watch the women’s semi-final game. Ian left with Greg and went to Buckhead with friends and I went back to the hotel – they didn’t get back in until about 4:00 am! El domindo fuimos al campo Turner a ver a los Braves. Luego a un restaurant mexicano en el centro y nos juntamos con otros fans a ver el partido de las mujeres, las semifinales del torneo femenino. Ian se fue con Greg a Buckhead y yo volvi al hotel. El e Ian llegaron a las 4 am! 
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On Monday, the day of the championship game, we decided to go back to the sushi place (for good luck). Then we got onto the train and went downtown. The crowds were huge! We stopped in at Big Time Yurts store to look at their new Louisville shirts and listened to the DJ. Then we found an outdoor pub and had a few beers. We met Cam, Greg, Casey, Thomas, and Drew there and then started the walk to the Georgia Dome, meeting lots of other friends along the way. Our seats for the championship game were higher up, but we could see great! El Lunes, el dia de la final, decidimos volver al sushi (para la buena suerte). Nos subimos al tren y nos fuimos al centro. La multitud era enorme! Pasamos por la tienda de Big Time Yurts para ver sus nuevas poleras de Louisville y escuchar a Dee Jay. Despues encontramos un pub exterior y nos tomamos unas cervezas. Nos encontramos con Cam, Greg, Casey, Thomas, y Drew en el pub y caminamos rumbo al domo, conociendo a un monton de gente en el camino. Nuestros asientos para la final estaban mas alto que los de las semis, pero se veia bien!
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Michigan gave us a great game. At one point, Ian had to take a “walk of nerves”. While he was gone from his seat, Luke Hancock knocked down several three point shots and put us back in the game before halftime. Our whole section said that Ian couldn’t come back! He did anyway (of course) and we pulled them through the second half and won! We stayed for the closing ceremonies and took one final picture before heading out to celebrate. Michigan nos hizo mucha pelea. En un Ian tuvo que salir a caminar por los nervios. Mientras no estaba en su asiento, Luke Hancock metio 4 triples seguidos y nos devolvio al juego antes del medio tiempo. Nuestra seccion completa dijo que Ian no podia volver! Volvio igual (claro!) y mantuvimos la ventaja en el segundo tiempo y ganamos! Nos quedamos para la ceremonia y tomamos una ultima foto antes de salir a celebrar. 
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What an incredible trip! So much fun to be with Ian and all of our Louisville fan-family! Wouldn’t have missed it for the world! GO CARDS! Let’s do it again soon! Que viaje mas increible! Lo pasamos tan bien con Ian y toda nuestra familia de fanaticos de los Cardenales! No me lo hubiese perdido por nada! Vamos Cardenales! Hagamoslo de nuevo!

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