Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bleeding purple since kindergarten

Shortly after moving to Manhattan in 1987, we became huge Wildcat fans. Before the days of Frank Martin, Michael Beasley, and even the Powercat logo. Vintage Willie was the only Willie.

Before purchasing football season tickets, my dad and I would walk to the games and get in free during the second quarter and have the freedom to sit pretty much wherever we wanted. Later we got season tickets to both football and basketball.

My elementary school days are filled with memories of games. For basketball, sometimes we'd get lucky and be able to sit with our friend Carolyn who had floor seats. My most vivid memory of sitting there was catching a stray ball on the sideline and having point guard Anthony Beane (pictured right) lean down so I could throw the ball back in to him. I am positive I beamed for a week.

I prided myself on knowing the numbers that went with every player. Each fall, our church hosted a  basketball dinner where we got to eat with the team and get autographs from each player and coach. I'd leave with a huge sheet of signatures and if I was lucky, a little message. So began my scrapbook collection. Every game, I would cut out the main article and accompanying photos and paste them into my basketball scrapbook. Sometimes from multiple newspapers.

My mom and I would take bets on what lame headline the Manhattan Mercury would come up with: "K-State stampedes the Colorado Buffaloes." "KSU blows past the Cyclones." I could recognize bad journalism even at age 8.

Then on March 24, 1994, Askia "Ski" Jones scored 62 points in 28 minutes against Frenso State in the NIT. I remember a sports columnist writing the next day that many more people would claim they were there that day than actually were because the game was during the students' spring break. But we were there. And at age 11, I learned sports could move you to tears. After the game, Ski came out in his red practice jersey, sweating profusely, to thank his screaming fans. You can only imagine my frantic newspaper clipping and diary writing following that game.

Just as much as violin, softball and 4-H are interwoven throughout my childhood, so are K-State sports. I decorated my room with memorabilia, refined my scrapbooks, played make-believe games where I was adopted as the team's little sister (ok, I was a weird kid) and dyed my hair purple. I attended games up until college and then ironically found I had more fun at games before I was a college student. The players didn't quite seem as hero-worthy.

After years away from Kansas, I am relieved to have returned. And what great timing. I've only gotten to go to a few K-State games in recent years, but I'm a loyal TV and radio follower. And tonight you can be sure I'll be adorned with purple and cheering the K-State team on as they advance to the Elite Eight!

1 comment:

  1. The headline this morning - "The Butler Did It." Still as lame as they were when you were eight.