Da^^it I love this game

  • I’m not sure when I fell in love it, maybe around the 4th grade. Our school system would make teams picked by the boys and girls varsity coaches from the 4th, 5th and 6th grade classes and each team would be coached by a pair of players, usually a boy and girl. Of course as a 4th grader you aren’t to play a lot, even though they did have rules that everyone had to play so many minutes. But it was winner take all, it was a bracket, win advance, lose go to the losers bracket. My team lost it’s first game, we ended up playing for 3/4th place. It was late in the game and we were losing, one of our 6th graders (who became a wrestler and qualified for state multiple times) fouled out. Coach put me in. We came back and won the game. The next two years I didn’t lose in that tournament. It wasn’t because I was better than everyone else, but I understood the game, (dad was an assistant coach and played at a large school in HS). I knew how the game worked, teamwork was key at that age. But I also learned that I hated losing more than I loved winning.

    I played through middle school and lettered all 4 years of HS, starting some of my Jr year (we were state runners up in our class) and all of my senior year. I watched a ton of college ball, I learned from it then as I do today. As I got better the game got easier, as I got better the game got better, my teammates got better and so on. The game like a player evolves.

    From when Dr. Naismith cut the bottom out of the peach basket to allowing the dunk, the game has evolved. From Wooden’s two offensive sets 1 and 2 (he would give them to you if you asked him) to the Princeton offense, the game has evolved. Adding the three point line changed the game again, adding to my love of the game.

    Maybe that’s a big reason I’m a Kansas fan, no I didn’t grow up in Kansas or go to school in Lawrence, but I am a huge Jayhawk fan. The game is remembered as pure in the Field House, it is known as the mega of college basketball. The players have all changed, the coaches too, even the design at center court has changed (perhaps it’s time for it to change again?). Yet my love for this game and this team never dwindles, waivers or even lets up, it normally grows stronger.

    I hear people harping on KU for early exits, fans, talking heads, other schools, yet non of them have the streak that KU does, non of them can say they’ve won 53 conference titles. Sure there are schools with more National Titles, there are schools with more guys in the NBA, but that’s not why I love this game.

    Love hurts, love stinks, but love is power. So when I read post from people bashing on a player or coach or the outcome of a game it actually makes me mad. Remember it’s kids playing a kids game. Why put down a kid saying he doesn’t deserve to play, or that he should transfer? because if he did he would be bashed for that too. Basketball at Kansas is life to some, maybe even death?

    Damnit I love this game, during the season you can see players and teams get better, the tournament is like a rollercoaster, sometimes you feel like you’re going to throw up, others you feel euphoric.

    The game evolves, sometimes for the betterment of the game and sometimes not so much. “White men can’t jump” be it a great and funny movie wasn’t good for the game. Michael Jordan as great as he was, ruined the game for so many others who thought or think they can do what he did. They can’t, they won’t and it hurts the game. Lets all remember though that MJ never won a title without his whole team, shooting guards, PF’s and C’s too. Speaking of teamwork, “Hoosiers” was great for the game, unfortunately many found it corny. Maybe “Bluechips” was closer to the real life of college basketball than we thought when it came out? Maybe it opened the eye to some?

    The game changes, the names on the back of the jersey changes, heck anymore the jersey changes way to often, yet I love this game. I don’t get into the politics of the game, I don’t get into following recruits to see what they are doing in their spare time or what rumors are floating around about where they might go. I wait and when they become a Jayhawk I look into them and get to know them. If they go elsewhere I usually just wait and see if the hype they had around them was real. I don’t care who ESPN pushes to the top of their fandom, or what shoes a school goes with. I care about the game as a whole, not just college, but HS, NBA, FIBA and around the world. The game is bigger than what we give it credit for.

    Damnit I love this game. It gets the best of me, probably a lot of you too. But come on lets enjoy the ride, play the cards we are dealt and just go with it. Watch the game evolve learn from the game and not try and direct it and become pundits that believe they know more than they do.

    It took me awhile to realize that my love for this game was in question, by myself of all people, this spring. And when I stepped back I realized, my life has evolved, just like the game has. I stayed away from KUBuckets, espn, kusports, and just took a deep breath. What was causing me to wonder about this game so much. Then it hit me!!!

    Negativity towards the game.

    Damnit I love this game to much to be around negativity, be it towards how the game is played now to when it was 20 years ago, 40 years ago and so on. But the game has evolved, just like Converse Chuck Taylors to Nike Air Jordans. Evolution. Negativity towards individual players, coaches, teams, jerseys, shoes, conferences and so on.

    Then I remembered back to that 4th grade consolation game when we came back and won it and the feeling I had, not only about winning, but about the game of basketball. Dammit I love this game.

    So as summer approaches us and the great outdoors calls me, I will leave here knowing that the fans of Kansas will be greatly heard all around the world till the end of time. Just remember that this game is just that a game, played by kids. Cheer them because they love this game too.

    Rock Chalk Jayhawk

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