Kansas City has to be one of the most unique college sports towns in the country. On Saturday, I took the wife and kids to Deanna Rose Farmstead in Overland Park and saw hundreds of people wearing all sorts of team shirts – Kansas, Missouri, Kansas State, Nebraska, Iowa State, etc. What an eclectic group of sports fans we have here!
I grew up in Nebraska and wherever you go on a Saturday, everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, is wearing a Husker shirt. KU, MU and KSU fans just don’t live there, apparently. And I just read in Sports Illustrated that in Oklahoma City, a young boy had to wear his Michigan shirt inside out because of a school dress code that says students can ONLY wear Oklahoma college gear. Are you kidding me?
We, on the other hand, are very tolerant of people from different colleges, letting each other root for whatever team we want to root for. I will admit the tension between Kansas and Mizzou fans can sometimes be pretty intense. But now that Mizzou is in the SEC, that rivalry might eventually die down.
The point is that you and I have the freedom to wear whatever college gear we want to wear without the fear of getting harassed. Usually. And we wear our college gear proudly. On Saturdays, I alternate between Northwestern and Nebraska gear. I went to school in Evanston and played football for the Wildcats. I grew up watching the Huskers win national championships. I bleed red and purple – mostly purple when they play each other.
So there I was Saturday night, watching UCLA trounce the Husker defense and getting frustrated by Nebraska’s inability to tackle anyone (sound familiar, Chief’s fans?) when my wife asked me, “Why do you care so much? You don’t know anyone on the team?”
How dare she question my loyalty! Actually, she brought up a great point. Why are our moods so dependent on whether our team won? Why DO we care? I thought about it, and here’s what I said.
“When I grew up, I used to go to Memorial Stadium with my grandparents (who have since passed) to watch Husker games. I grew up watching Husker games with my dad and brother and other relatives. When I watch them now, it brings back good memories and I feel a connection to them. When I call dad tomorrow, we can talk about the game. And I’m upset about the way they’re playing because I saw them when they won their national championships. I expect the Huskers to play a certain way, and if they don’t meet that standard, I get upset.” (I actually used another word, but I won’t print it here.)
I think she understood. It’s hard to explain a love for a certain team, but I definitely think when you put your heart and soul into something, it becomes a piece of you, and when they lose, well, you get upset (Or the other word I didn’t use earlier). My wife might not ever understand, and that’s okay. I don’t even understand why a loss will ruin the rest of my day. But when my team wins, I float, and it’s a feeling I love. So I will keep rooting on my teams, keep hoping for victory, so I can feel that feeling as often as possible. And if they lose again? Let’s just hope they don’t. Ever.