|Photo used with OUT permission. But I love you, Eagle!|
MOST of Kansas doesn't care about anything bracket-related until Friday. WHY? Because ALL THREE of our Men's Division I Basketball teams play on Friday. That means that just about EVERY Kansas cares about at least one game on Friday.
I will admit - I am a wagon-jumper for the Wichita State University Shockers. About four years ago my friend Nathan took me to my first game and I've been hooked ever since. The noise and passion and craziness of Koch Arena is something you should experience at least once. Preferably MANY times. I have been to dozens of games since (the kid and I even hand season's tickets for the 2011 - 2012 season). WSU has something special about it . . . the mascot, the hand gesture, the clueless older fans that throw the hand gesture right in front of their grandchildren. That friggin' shade of yellow that I love so bad.
I TRIED (when we first moved here) to be a Jayhawks fan. KU had a certain regal tone about it that appealed to my snooty side. I just could not do it. Between the way they dismissed their football coach and blamed it on personality issues to the way they make every regular season conference championship somehow important, the fans just drive me nuts. Also - red, blue, yellow, and white are too many colors. Cut it out, Lawrence, KS. Cut. It. Out.
I FEAR I might eventually become a sorta K-State fan . . . long story . . . so I'll probably buy a purple sweatshirt and head to a football game later this calendar year. I don't want to talk about it. I said I don't want to talk about it. I don't know ANYTHING about K-State. I don't know their coaches, players, reputations, or anything other than there is a magical place called Aggie-ville and I will be heading there at some point to pay homage (and $60 for said sweatshirt). K-State fans, of all the Kansas fans, are my favorite because they never really seem to have need for you to support their team. They could care less. More purple fan gear for them, frankly.
I don't care which sports team you care about this weekend, Kansans (heck - cheer for Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, or friggin' Duke if they are all playing and you must) but I like that Kansas has some pride going for it in mid-March. We are not making apologies for jets landing at the wrong airport. We are not embarrassed that a late night talk show host called us out as lame. We're not staring downward and kicking the dirt over our HORRIBLE Governor. We're ignoring Fred Phelps. We are not going out of our way to defend ourselves against any or all of the above because . . . for at least ONE DAY later this week WE will be the our own biggest fans.
WE will believe in Kansas as a state. WE will cheer for Kansas as a breeding ground for collegiate talent. WE will nod our heads proudly as we take down teams that are not statistically better than us. WE will utter "Damned right" at those outside the Sunflower State who take two or three of our teams deep in to their brackets. WE will wear some of the worst color combinations imaginable. WE will watch basketball like it matters in ANY way. WE will be our own biggest fans.
And ALL THAT will make me proud because there is MUCH inside the four walls of our state to celebrate and cheer.
Also PURPLE SWEATSHIRTS, yo!