Archive for Thursday, February 7, 2008

The fly route

February 7, 2008

I didn't take it well when Kansas State lost to Kansas in football during the fall, little better than I did early in my undergraduate career or in my childhood when such clashes seemed to carry even more weight.

The friends I was with - my roommate, who graduated from KU in 2004 and is now working on his law degree there and another high school buddy who has been a casual Jayhawk fan over the years - took things a lot better. They were excited and enthusiastic, proud and boastful all at the same time.

I was fine with my roommate's ravings - heck, he'll graduate from the institution twice and while he was indifferent in high school, he's been a steadfast Hawk since he started school in Lawrence. The other friend, however, I didn't tolerate as well. I quickly labeled him a "bandwagon fan."

He didn't appreciate that one little bit. We argued - it wasn't pretty.

Aggieville helped soothe our differences that night and by morning we were all best buds again.

As KU's miraculous football season rolled along and his world began to center more and more around the Jayhawks, my opinion never really changed.

He was a bit of a bandwagon fan, at least compared to me. I've been fighting the K-State fight since I was in kindergarten. I was suspended from school in first grade - my teacher was about to put down the Cats on the eve of a big game and I (kind of) slapped her.

I've persevered through the highs and the lows. Who is my friend, never one to even mention KU football for years at a time, to show up and start up with "I'm a Jayhawk"?

My stance on the whole situation has since cooled. The guy isn't without his KU connections - his dad graduated there. While he obviously never took his allegiances as seriously as I do, I'm sure they have always been there.

I know he hurt after KU's football loss to Missouri, and I know he really enjoyed the Jayhawks' Orange Bowl win.

Still, I couldn't help but be glad I did it all my way last week as I sat in the stands watching the final seconds tick off the clock in K-State's 84-75 basketball victory against KU.

My parents helped make me the way I am - diehard in my support. Now I thank them not only for the ticket to the game, but also for that attitude.

It was rough, all those years. I've had my heart broken more times than I'll ever remember. It's that way for any hard-core fan, but the K-State versus KU basketball situation has made it even worse.

It was worth it, though. I'll never forget that game - not a single moment of it. It was awesome. It was one of the best feelings in the world.

Would it have been the same had I detached myself all those years ago - if I had learned not to take it all so seriously when my huge and furious first-grade teacher glared down at me with glowing red eyes?

Did my friend revel in the same warmth when KU beat K-State in football, or when it beat Virginia Tech in January?

I'll never know.

I do, however, know I wouldn't have done it any other way.

It hasn't always been easy, but last week watching history, it was completely worth it.

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