It’s overwhelmingly thrilling. It’s astonishingly sweet, even the losses. It’s dramatic as all get-out, and you get to see people fly. So what’s not to love?
When I first found myself listening on the radio to a Jayhawk basketball game, I was incredulous, not because of the game but because I had no interest in for tolerance for team sports since the year after the Mets won the World Series when I was a kid. Baseball (which at least I could understanding), hockey (which my dad would blare through the house, occasionally yelling “GOAL!” at the top of his lungs), football (so confusing to me even still) and basketball (seemed more like a big chase back and forth).
Yet something happened to me in the 1980s, culminating in 1988 when the Jayhawks won the NCAA, and I experienced the most transcendental community moment of my life, at least up until then. Walking through the streets of Lawrence for hours with Ken, high-fiving everyone we saw up and down Mass St., across Jayhawk boulevard, I felt one with the world in a loud, once-in-a-lifetime, giant-sized joyous way. The magic from then carried through, and although it was too crowded to really find total nirvana when the Jayhawks won 20 years later, I was still out in a state of ecstasy.
So I listen to the games on the radio sometimes, and occasionally even watch them on TV. I especially love senior night when I cry along with the players who are thanking god, their moms and Coach Self. And when it’s March Madness, I happily focus in on wishing hard for one win after another, and if it doesn’t happen, thinking stupid thoughts, like did I jinx it by watching the game, or how the referees must be totally bias against Kansas.
Tonight the 2011 team leapt over Illinois into the Sweet 16. Sitting on my porch after the game, whipporwills calling all around, I am so happy for all of us in and beyond Jayhawk nation. And I’ll follow this magic wherever it leads.