March Madness Memories ROCK, CHALK, JAYHAWK
When I was a student at the University of Kansas, I was proud to be a member of the men’s tennis team. Sadly, that program no longer exists — sports that don’t make money are always on the chopping block — but my Jayhawk pride has never left me. When it comes to athletics, it’s no secret that basketball is our claim to fame. Since my college days, we’ve made the Final Four 11 times and won the ultimate prize twice. In my tribute to Susie last month, I failed to mention she attended my alma mater’s arch rival, Kansas State University. In these parts, we call that a house divided. The less said about it, the better, especially when K-State dethroned the Jayhawks from their perennial perch atop the Big XII standings for the first time in over a decade. All kidding aside, it’s worked out well that we attended rival institutions. During the average year, when Kansas stinks at football and K-State struggles on the court, we each have a secondary team to root for. This year, “WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT KANSAS BASKETBALL IS THAT IT KEEPS ME CONNECTED TO THE PLACE WHERE I WENT TO SCHOOL.”
What I love most about Kansas basketball is that it keeps me connected to the place where I went to school. I think back to all the tremendous players I’ve watched over the years from the legendary Wilt Chamberlain to Celtics greats Jo Jo White (a personal favorite) and Paul Pierce. The team has given me so many memories, especially recently. I don’t think I’ll ever forget where I was when Mario Chalmers hit the three that led to our title win in 2008. It’s these thoughts, more than any number of accolades or banners, that really matter. As I write this article, I don’t yet know what this year’s tournament will have in store for either the Jayhawks or the Wildcats. No matter the outcome, I’m sure March Madness will provide plenty of thrills and fun. It’s one of the great sporting events of the year, and a great excuse to say three of my favorite words on the planet: Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk!
though, it looks like we’ll be wearing different colors during March Madness.
So much has changed since the time when I was sitting in the student section at Allen Fieldhouse, including the price of tickets. These days, Kansas basketball is a very big deal and a very big business. Even for an alumnus, scoring tickets to a big game is no easy feat. Getting season tickets for good seats costs a pretty penny as well. I guess having the prestige of being one of the country’s truly elite programs isn’t without its drawbacks. However, I don’t want it to sound like I’m complaining. The victories taste just as sweet from my couch as they do from courtside seats. When I do have the opportunity to attend a game in person, the atmosphere is electric. The crowd is packed to the rafters, and it gets so loud that they keep a decibel reader on hand. The players these days are skilled beyond all comprehension. I wasn’t too shabby as an athlete in my time, but what these young men can do is a whole other level of performance.
-Dr. Jan L. Cobble
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