“The game starts at 1:20,” I told Ken, who burst out laughing.
“Now, when you know when the game starts, I know it’s everyday knowledge.”
And it is when it comes to Kansas and basketball, particularly Lawrence and the Elite Eight which leads, please please please, to the Final Four. Hampton Stevens — in making an immensely satisfying case that rooting against Kansas means supporting slavery, hating America and wanting Obama to fail — said it better than I could in his incredible article, “March Madness: If You Root Against Kansas, You Root Against America,” in which he wrote:
“To grow up a Jayhawk is to grow up indoctrinated. It’s like being raised in a strict fundamentalist church—but the only fundamentals that matter are footwork, hustle, shot selection, and knowing how to guard the pick-and-roll.”
It’s contagious and addictive, excruciating and exciting, and in 15 minutes, I’ll be one of thousands watching the game, thinking really stupid things (like if I lean forward too much, will I jinx a free throw), and living and dying with the results. If we lose? I find myself awash in a communal depression, a sense of despair that morphs into cliches about how the team just had an off-day, were done wrong from the refs or did their best. If we win? Elation…..until, of course, the next game.
So here’s to falling in love with Kansas basketball and disappearing into it for a little while along with just about everyone else I know in my town.