My husband–who is also a sports’ nut–always says the best thing my father did was to teach me to love football, basketball, track, and baseball. I learned to love a few more on my own. I grew up in Kansas City, MO, and my father was a HUGE Jayhawk–University of Kansas–fan. We went to every home football and basketball game starting from when I was about three years old. A legend in our family which my older brother disputes is that there was actually a picture of him when he was very young in the Kansas City Star, shouting during a KU football game, “Let’s score a home run!” We went to games in good weather and endured rain, freezing weather, and snow. In fact, we didn’t think we were having a good time if we weren’t cold and wet and miserable.
However, by the time I graduated from high school, I decided to enter new and–to my parents, both KU grads–hostile territory at Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS. At that ime, the Wildcats had great basketball–Final Four my senior year–but the worst football team in the country for years! We were regularly blown out 70-0. We were so bad, I tell my husband, that when we actually scored a touchdown, we’d have victory dances in Aggieville.
All of which brings up my joy with Kansas State’s football this year–and last and during all of the seasons Bill Snyder has coached. Yes, this makes me shallow and interferes with my doing worthwhile things like writing books or–ugh–cleaning house. However, our success this year fills me with fear. In fact, as the Wildcats dominated West Virginia this weekend, I didn’t relax halfway through the fourth quarter although we had a huge lead. I’ve seen it vanish too often to ever feel comfortable.
But I’m not sure loving sports is completely shallow. When my team wins a football games, I’m happy. Okay, I’m shallow BUT happy and I don’t see anything wrong with this. Oh, sure, if any sports program overtakes and overshadows the importance of ethics and honesty and education, that’s wrong. I’m not in favor of that but I do love my team. I belt out the Fight Song over and over during games. I have a POWERCAT magnet on the side of my car and zip through town feeling proud and meeting other K-State fans. I tape every sports program after the game to revel in the win.
My team is number THREE in the BCS ratings. Not something to build my life on but something to enjoy as well as filling me with trepidation.
What do you think? Do like or dislike sports? Why? Do we emphasize athletic success to much? Of course we do but is there anything wrong about enjoying the victory of your favorite teams? I’d like to know how you feel.