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Why I’m a fan of the Kansas Jayhawks

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June Henley

Welcome to the refreshed Rock Chalk Talk! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports community, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card. We’re collecting all of the stories here. and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!

Rules for the Fanpost contest:

1. Readers (aka people who are not on the masthead) should go to the FanPosts section and write a post with the headline 'Why I'm a fan of the Kansas Jayhawks'.

2. The post should be under 800 words.

3. SB Nation will collect these posts into a section and they will be automatically entered into a random drawing.

4. That's it!

5. Don’t let this distract you from the fact that Kansas beat Texas in football.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. SB Nation Why Are You a Fan Reader Sweepstakes starts on 8:00am ET on May 25, 2017 and ends at 11:59pm ET on June 8, 2017. Open only to eligible legal residents of the United States, 18 years or older. Click here for Official Rules and complete details, including entry instructions, odds of winning, alternative method of entry, prize details and restrictions, etc. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Sponsor: Vox Media, Inc.

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But enough about that. More about me! Why am I a fan of the Kansas Jayhawks?

A lot of RCT regulars probably know that I didn’t even go to KU. I’m the kind of KU fan that K-State fans love to hate, right? I live in Johnson County, I didn’t go to KU, so I must be a KU basketball fan.

Well, you couldn’t be more wrong. Surprisingly enough, football made me a fan of KU, although the easy answer is, my grandpa was a big fan of Max Falkenstein, and he really enjoyed listening to KU games. Additionally, my mom worked for KU Med in Wichita for a time when I was growing up.

However, I had my first KU experience in 1993 at the age of 13 when my parents got tickets to the KU-Nebraska game. Nebraska was a top-10 team that would eventually play for the national title later that year, but first they had to get out of Lawrence, which turned out to be much more difficult than expected.

On a day when June Henley rumbled for 148 yards, KU closed to within 21-20 with 52 seconds left in the game. The two-point conversion attempt was a pass play that failed, and Nebraska escaped.

However, I was hooked.

I was a pleasant surprise for me to begin learning about Kansas basketball and all of the amazing tradition there, but to this day, I consider myself much more of a KU football fan than a KU basketball fan. That’s an incredibly difficult burden to bear, by the way.

How many winning seasons has KU had since 1993? Five. Since the formation of the Big 12 in 1996, that number is just three.

I remember the 1995 Aloha Bowl. I remember Mark Mangino’s first game - a 45-3 loss at Iowa State. And yes, even though they lost by six touchdowns, I remember thinking to myself, “this is a different program now.” And by golly, it was:

The 2003 Border War. (LOL @ Brad Smith)

The 2004 Sunflower Showdown. Mark Simmons! John Randle!

The “Dollar Signs” game. Oh, Nick Reid. If only...

The 2005 Border War. (LOL @ Brad Smith again!)

Taking out 40 years of frustration on Nebraska in 2005.

And then nearly doubling that output against them in 2007.

Todd Reesing’s debut in 2006 against Colorado.

The 2006 Sunflower Showdown, aka the Jake Sharp game.

OMG, 2007.

2008 was still fun.

Bob Davis’ call was better, though.

Since then? Mostly heartbreak. But David Beaty appears to be recruiting well and hopefully has the Jayhawks on an upward trajectory once again. After all, they did beat Texas last year.