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!
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.
I was born a KU fan. It’s as simple as that, and it’s not an extraordinary tale, but it is true. My dad graduated from KU in the late 1960’s, and he was even a member of the marching band that saw KU lose the Orange Bowl to Penn State after having too many men on the field. I heard tales of how glorious Allen Fieldhouse was (although I never went to a game with him there) and we would make regular fall outings to Memorial Stadium to watch the football Jayhawks.
My mom’s side was KU through and through as well (her brother went there) and my grandfather wore a KU winter coat. It was destiny. I applied to a few other universities to see if they would accept me, but I was always going to attend Kansas. I remember watching the 1988 NCAA title game and hearing the horns outside our suburban KC home. That was sweet vindication. I had gone to the Big 8 tournament earlier that month and saw the last loss Danny Manning would ever have in a KU uniform.
I arrived in Lawrence in the fall of 1995, and still remember the first basketball game of my college life. It was November 1995, Paul Pierce was a freshman, and the defending NCAA champion UCLA Bruins were coming to Allen Fieldhouse. I was waiting in the long student line with some friends, none of whom had been to a game at AFH (I’d been to one while in high school). We were amped, but I specifically remember one of my friends who was from Madison, Wisconsin, and he was still a doubter of the magic that is Allen. As we waited in line, he said to me, “I hear it’s great in here, but how much better can it be than the arena in Wisconsin. That place is great.” I retorted with a smirk and a “just wait.”
Fast forward to the seconds before tip and Allen was so loud. We were jumping up and down in the student section, and my Wisconsin friend turned to me and said, “Yep, you were right. This is way better.” KU promptly went down by 15 at the half and were practically booed off the court. But in the second half, KU started to surge, and when Jacque Vaughn nailed a three to tie it, I thought the roof was going to fly off. KU wound up winning that game by 15.
My one regret in my time at KU was never experiencing a Final Four while in Lawrence, but 2008 wasn’t too bad, and I got to experience those same horns honking from my own front porch in Kansas City. Rock Chalk Jayhawk.