How did you become a Jayhawk fan?
Just curious, I love stories. If I knew you in person I’d ask you. We all share a great bond here.
As for me, a switched at birth baby because my parents could care less about sports, I loved all of the ball sports, pro and college. Although baseball is my best sports college hoops is a close 2nd and I can remember watching Norte Dame end UCLAs 88 game streak.
As a suburban Chicago kid KU wasn’t on my radar at all. U of I and DePaul were my hoops life. But when I chose KU over UW (they weren’t on my radar either) because out of state tuition was cheaper I became hooked. Couldn’t have chosen better. Had a blast ever since I sat in late night 1985 and watched one of KUs greatest teams.
Ok I’ll bite.
It was 1995 and I was a young whippersnapper. My dad is a big UCLA fan but I wasn’t around for the Wooden years so I wasn’t going to follow his team. I remember we were watching on tv Kansas play UConn at Kemper Arena and KU absolutely dismantled them by nearly 30 points. The Uconn team had Ray Allen. Being from the Northeast beating Uconn was a big thing and I was intrigued with Jacque Vaughn and Jarrod Haase. A week later I remember being at a local mall and going into a sports store and looking for Kansas Gear. I found Vaughn’s jersey and begged my mother to buy it for me. She finally gave in after about 3 hours of nagging her. From there I was always looking for the games on TV and following them as closely as I could despite being so far away. Once I hit middle school and started playing basketball myself I just became a crazed fan. I still have the Jersey hanging up in my KU Cave. Will never forget it
I became a fan in 2003 the year the woman who would become my wife and I got back together. She has been a Jayhawk fan all her life. We had dated in college prior to that and had gone our separate ways. I don’t remember much about Kansas from pre-2003, except that I detested Roy, thought he was fake af, and getting back together, I gave Kansas another chance, and was amazed as how genuine, likeable and smart Bill Self was. I remember watching the Elite 8 loss at BW3s and thinking that if it weren’t for Jarrett Jack, Self could have taken that team all the way in his first year.
I’ve always rooted for the good, sincere people above all else. The fact that my [girlfriend] knew everything about Kansas and the players fed my indoctrination. Rooting for Bill Self at a Blue Blood where the world could see became a moral imperative, the East Coast favoritism in recruiting and coverage incensed me.
The following year, I watched the Bucknell loss alone as my [girlfriend] was working, so certain was she of victory. That may have been the moment of my complete indoctrination. 1106 miles away from Lawrence Kansas, alone and deeply shocked, I became the doomsday messenger awaiting my [girlfriend]'s return, alone with the knowledge of the frustration and BS we would have to weather until next season could wash it away.
When we got married in 2008, a Jayhawk adorned my groom’s cake. It still sits in our freezer. Maybe this will be the year I will eat another piece of it.
@approxinfinity Great story! You’re a recent vintage Jayhawk. Interesting that your perception of Roy wasn’t good. We don’t talk much about that Georgia Tech loss in 2004 but that was a winnable season I thought. OT loss in the regional final. GT all the way to the final against UCONN which had an upset lined path to the final four having to beat 8 seed Alabama in the regional final.
@wissox you too! Love hearing everyone’s backstory.
That game was absolutely winnable. Had we won that game, another week with Langford on the mend I would think we would have been the favorite with 20-20 hindsight. That game was all Jarrett Jack. Look at his stat line. It was massive.
@wissox I grew up a fan as a Kansas farm boy. My first vague memory is watching a NIT game on a black & white tv with a snowy picture with JoJo playing when I was 7 or 8.
I actually get this question more than most being from a smaller community where you pretty much farm or work in the oil patch, a place that’s filled with KSU fans. As noted we didn’t have a ton growing up, we played outside most the time not having cable but the winters were long and back in them days you could watch a good chunk of KU games with bunny ears. I started watching in the mid 90s and have been a KU fan ever since. The first team I remember watching I believe to be the 96-97 team with Pierce, Vaugh, Raef and co. A ton of guys I went to school with back then loved KU basketball and switched to KSU later on but don’t admit it. I just grew up watching and never changed, I wouldn’t change just because KSU has an AG program. Seems kinda silly to me.