I am a proud alumna of Kansas State University. We’re the ones with the world-renowned engineering, agriculture, education, architecture and veterinary schools, cutting-edge research programs, the most Rhodes, Truman and Marshall scholars of any state school in the nation, and more professor of the year awards than any other research university.
You probably haven’t heard of us though, because our men’s basketball team hasn’t reached a final four in the NCAA tournament since 1964. Quite unlike our rivals down the road from the University of Kansas.
I have many friends who graduated from KU. They’re fine folks and I bear no ill will toward them. I’m actually quite fond of their school. I root for the Jayhawks every year during March Madness. More often than not I pick them in my tournament bracket and then get screwed over by them, but that’s another story.
An article is going around the web. It’s entitled March Madness: If You Root Against Kansas, You Root Against America. Now I’m not an idiot, I get and appreciate satire, and I realize much of this is meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but talk to any Jayhawk basketball fan for any length of time and I guarantee they’ll start rattling off the grand history of Kansas basketball, from the legendary Phog Allen to the Canadian inventor of the game, James Naismith. It’s precisely this type of self-aggrandizing, pretentiousness that drives a wedge between the Kansas State Wildcats and the University of Kansas Jayhawks.
Just when I was getting excited to cheer Kansas into the Elite Eight, their fans have to go reminding everyone how great they are. It’s nauseating. So if the press can stop falling all over themselves to trumpet your lush history, I’d like to just get back to watching some high quality hoops. No hard feelings.
It’s an open secret that it’s Nebraska that K-State fans really despise. And I know of no KU fan who wouldn’t rather beat down a Missouri Tiger than their insignificant neighboring school K-State any day.
© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2011