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Why I’m a Kansas Jayhawks Fan: F.O.E.

Jakebogen95 tells us how he became a Kansas fan.

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!

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

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Throughout the years I have been asked why a kid from upstate New York likes the Kansas Jayhawks with a complete and utter passion. Every year March Madness rolls along, all of my friends and acquaintances, associate Kansas with Jake Ellenbogen. That’s just how it is. However, I don’t just like Kansas for their basketball. No, I root for them in all of their sports, because while I’m not an alumni, I have family blood that runs right through Lawrence.

That’s right, it’s all about family for me and that is what translates my fandom to a Jayhawk. I always felt it was ironic how the Morris twins (Markieff & Marcus) always preached the term F.O.E. meaning Family over Everything. That’s truly how Kansas makes me feel as a whole. Every single time I watch them whether it’s on my phone because I’m out of the house, national television or even the dreaded ESPN3 game, I am always thinking about my wonderful family living in Lawrence, Kansas and even the ones that aren’t.

I like to say I’ve been a Kansas fan my whole life. I was born and raised a fan through my dad Jason and that’s nowhere near the full story of how he made me a fan. His brother and my uncle Adam graduated from Kansas, my cousin Josh was a ball boy for the 1988 championship team, my great uncle Lonnie went to Kansas as a law professor and then he was responsible for hiring Larry Brown in the eighties. My great grandmother Blanch lived in an apartment among Kansas students for over 35 years and I currently have my uncle Bob who is the active fire Marshall at KU. It’s a very unique history of connections to this amazing university.

Many people have asked me if I had ever been to the Kansas campus I love so much and believe it or not until 2012, I hadn’t. Unfortunately, Kansas had just lost the National Championship to Kentucky, but it was still such a thrill to go down to Lawrence and soak in the tremendous and mind-blowing atmosphere like a sponge. My uncle, my cousin, my brother, my sister and my father all took the trip driving straight from New York to Lawrence. It was worth every second being able to see family, especially seeing my late great grandmother for the last time. While we were down there my uncle Bob had just planned out an incredible time for our family when we were visiting, most notably getting us on the court of the legendary Phog Allen Fieldhouse.

Once you get through listing my family connections to the college you have to look at the fact that every program at Kansas just resembles pure class and passion in whatever sport they play which makes it easy to root for those types of programs. I always found it so exciting to turn on the TV and know that Kansas basketball was going to put an outstanding team on the court. I absolutely love what Coach Bill Self has done to the program and the multitude of big 12 championships he has added to the Kansas record books. I love being able to look back on memories of sitting in my uncle’s basement with my cousin, my brother and my father watching Kansas punch their ticket to the National Championship game versus the Kentucky Wildcats or most memorable, the game that made tears roll down my face in 2008 when it looked like Kansas had lost the National Championship to Derrick Rose, John Calipari and the Memphis Tigers and then Mario Chalmers happened. While things didn’t go the way I wanted them to this past year falling short of the final four. I know they will be back and ready to compete.

Well, I did just tell you at the beginning of this article that I didn’t just like the basketball team and I am proud to say no matter what our record is I am a huge fan of the football team. What was incredible is that I remember the year the Jayhawks won the Orange Bowl like it was yesterday. My dad had mentioned that Kansas has a football team and we would watch an occasional game here and there, but the 2007-08 season was when I started to follow the Jayhawks and the following was contagious with my dad. From day one it seemed as though this team was on a mission and it wasn’t like this team was an elite football program by any means. It just seemed to come out of nowhere. I watched every game and I still remember complaining about Kansas not beating Colorado by more because they seemingly destroyed every opponent until the end of the season. It was a magical season that might have been held back more than it should have with a brutal “neutral” home game versus rival Missouri which was practically in Missouri. Kansas was able to bounce back from their one loss and beat Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. I have followed this team ever since and I most recently had the privilege of interviewing one of the classiest and one of the biggest leaders to play for the Kansas football program free safety Fish Smithson. I just can’t stress enough the class and the overall family vibe you receive from this type of university.

With that all being said even though I never had the privilege of attending such an outstanding school, that hasn’t and will never stop me from loving it like my own. The same goes with players that have represented the Jayhawks like Andrew Wiggins, Josh Jackson, Frank Mason III, Fish Smithson, Aqib Talib, Chris Harris Jr, Ben Heeney, JaCorey Shepherd, Tarik Black, Thomas Robinson, Mario Chalmers and many others regardless if a player stays or leaves for the next level I always find myself rooting for each individual Jayhawk at the next level. Kansas isn’t just a school, they don’t just have teams, they aren’t just a state or a name…They are family and I am proud to call Kansas University part of my family. That right there is why I am and will always remain a Kansas Jayhawk fan. Rock Chalk for life!