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Damn. Just Damn. Well, Bourbon Too. Damn and Bourbon.

Damn. Just Damn. Well, Bourbon Too. Damn and Bourbon.

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Tomorrow morning.

The morning after.

It sucks. It’s hard.

You wake up and your brain is in a fog, and then all the broken pieces start to come together, and you remember…we lost yesterday.

Damn.

I’m always all-in with my Jayhawks, and losses have always been hard, but in 1998 KU had a team that was so dominant they only lost 1 game in overtime all season long. I lived and died with that KU team. Coming in to the NCAA tournament they were the overwhelming favorite to win the national championship. And then along came Mike Bibby and Arizona in the Sweet 16. We lost. We finished 34-2. Ever since that loss that crushed me, I’ve learned, like so many coaches tell us fans, “to enjoy the ride”.

College basketball is a crazy, unpredictable game. Especially in today’s game with so many “one-and-done” players. Why does everyone enjoy the ncaa tournament? Well, that’s an easy answer(s) – the bracket pools (which I would never take part in because they’re illegal 😉 and the upsets that happen during the tournament. We love to cheer for the underdogs.

We love it when David beats Goliath.

That’s why it’s hard to be a Kansas basketball fan.

I’m thankful to be born into a family who are crimson and blue through and through.

We are college basketball royalty. With our history and traditionKU is and never will be the underdog.

Kansan by birth, Jayhawk by the grace of God. 

KU is a blue-blood program.

The inventor of the game James Naismith was our first coach.

University of Kentucky and the University of North Carolina’s basketball arenas are named after Kansans and alumni of KU.

Adolph Rupp (University of Kentucky) and Dean Smith (University of North Carolina) both attended and played at KU under Phog Allen.

With the lofty status comes yearly expectations (strong desires) of Final 4 and nothing less. I have those expectations myself, and while that might seem a bit cocky I’m glad my school is so successful that we expect nothing less. Thus, when KU loses in the tournament we not only are depressed we also have to endure pot-shots from people who love to see Goliath go down; from those who would rather cheer for us losing than see their own team succeed.*

The NCAA tournament turns college basketball into a crazy thrill ride with ups, downs, and loopty-loops that sometimes leave us wanting more, and sometimes make us sick to our stomachs. The morning after an NCAA loss feels like the morning after a night of binge drinking…and probably similar to morning sickness (although personally I’ve never experienced the latter so I can not give a specific account of the similarity between the two). You can’t do anything about it – you just have to endure it and get through it. Unfortunately, the earlier in the tournament your team loses the harder it is to endure because the tournament lasts for 3 weeks.

If you want to enjoy a couple team sports where the long season proves who is the best team you should follow European soccer or Major League Baseball. I love both sports/leagues.

But I love the NCAA tournament and my Jayhawks even more.

This is going to be a long next two weeks.

I’m appreciative of friends who are respectful to me after a loss. And I have many friends who know how I love my Jayhawks and they are genuinely kind to me after a loss. And then I have Mizzou friends…I don’t need to belabor this point any further. (see above *)

I try hard to refrain from replying to people who are on social media solely looking to provoke a reaction.

Provoking a reaction isn’t the same thing as saying something significant. 

– Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes

KU has given me so many thrilling memories and amazing history to be part of…

  • 5 national titles
  • 14 Final 4s
  • 10 straight conference titles
  • #2 school in all-time wins
  • deep tournament runs
  • countless All-Americans
  • all of my Allen Fieldhouse memories
  • consistently a #1 or #2 seed in the NCAA tournament
  • etc

…that I’m glad I won’t have to stoop to enjoying another’s school loss moreso than what my own school, or conference, can accomplish.

Being a KU fan is funny at times. We do not have to endure the similar drama of bubble teams and whether or not we will make the NCAA tournament – we haven’t missed the tournament since 1989. KU-drama is worrying about what uniforms we are going to wear in the tournament.

Tangential Sidenote – CBS should be ashamed and needs to stop showing the pictures of crying children. It happened two years ago with Hoiberg’s young son and today with a young KU fan and also a young Wichita State fan. Yes, it shows the passion of the fan-base…kindof…they’re children who believe their lives are over if they lose. But more importantly in today’s world of social media those scenes are made into tweets and posts that are like wildfire all across social media.

I have an annual tradition. After KU loses in the tournament I focus on what I have to look forward to in the future. It helps relieve the sting of the loss and bring my (in)sanity back to a level of “normal”.

It’s cathartic.

I’ve got so many great things going on and things to look forward to:

  • a great job I genuinely enjoy.
  • Springtime! Everything is blooming, things are green, and more people are enjoying the outdoors.
  • the Kansas City Royals – hope springs eternal in spring, although with David Glass as owner the hope only lasts for a couple weeks
  • Sporting Kansas City
  • the Masters on tv
  • working on lowering my handicap
  • grilling steaks, pork chops, steaks, steaks and some more steaks
  • perfecting the art of smoking meats – brisket, ribs, and pulled pork
  • enjoying cigars while outside
  • vacation to Mexico
  • vacation to Florida

…and most importantly

…my awesome Wife and my awesome Son.

I listed all the fun and important things I have to look forward to, but it also doesn’t hurt that I have a full bottle of bourbon in the pantry for tonight.

It’s also cathartic.

You might say it’s a necessary medication.

You might say I’m only kidding.

Or you might not. 😉

Maybe writing this whole post is just cathartic for me.

The sun will rise tomorrow and I’ll remember my list of things…

…starting tomorrow.

Like I mentioned, this is going to be a long next two weeks.

But tonight it stings…and you know what? That’s ok.

Pour me another glass.

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Posted by on March 23, 2014 in culture, sports

 

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A Real Decade of Dominance at KU and Bracket Musings

Here are some random musings as our minds turn to brackets in just a few short hours this evening.

A Baker’s Dozen Years of Dominance at KU:

– Most students graduate from college in 4 years…except this guy. I got one year smarter than all of you who were so eager to leave college. I stuck around increased my knowledge and graduated in 5 years.

– KU has won the Big 12 title 12 out of the past 13 years.

– Consider this: 4 years = 1 cycle: working our way backwards and including this year, there have been 3 1/4 cycles of students (13 years), at a total of 14 college institutions, that have tried to win the Big 12 regular season title.

– Only 2 schools in the past 13 years have succeeded.

– KU and Oklahoma State.

– KU won the title in 2002 and 2003.

– Oklahoma State interrupted KU’s 2-year win streak and won the Big 12 title in 2004.

– KU finished 2nd in 2004.

– 2004 was Bill Self’s first year at KU.

– In 11 seasons at KU, Bill Self has never finished worse than 2nd place in the regular season of the Big 12.

– Bill Self finished tied for 2nd in his first year (2004), and then every year after that he won the conference title.

– For those of you lacking in sufficient math skills that’s 10 years in a row Bill Self at KU.

– We give him grace for what he did in 2004.

– KU has won the title back to back, to back, to back, to back, to back, to back, to back, to back, to back.

– All those back to backs impress these two guys.

Greer says, All We Do Is Win. Everybody’s hands go up!

Greer says, All We Do Is Win. Everybody’s hands go up!

Bracket musings:

– Depending on how the rest of the brackets and match-ups turn out, right now I’d prefer to be a 2 seed in the MidWest with Wichita State as the #1 seed in our region. I reserve the right to change my mind at any time.

– I want to avoid Michigan State and Louisville.

– Florida and Arizona State are weaker than they seem.

– No team is without some major flaws this year.

– I want to have Joel Embiid back asap.

– I think we can survive the first two rounds (technically the 2nd and 3rd rounds – oh how I wish the NCAA would wise-up and change it back – so dumb).

– Nadiir Tharpe needs to play well.

– Everybody needs to play well!

– Teams don’t advance without solid guard play. Not necessarily dominant guard play but solid guard play.

– We might have to “boat race” a few teams considering that our defense is not as dominant this year.

– This should be a March full of tons of exciting games.

– I don’t know if there will be any major upsets in the tournament this year because this year, teams outside of the top 2 seeds are all fairly similar.

– Even the teams in the 1 and 2 seeds (the top 8 teams) aren’t exactly dominant.

– Enjoy March Madness!

– Rock Chalk Jayhawk!!

Relax and enjoy the ride!

Relax and enjoy the ride!

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2014 in sports

 

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We’re Jayhawks, and damn proud of it!…but people, relax!

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Ok, I have two mini-rants because I’m mad about a couple things. 1) I’m mad at KU fans who are taking “the sky is falling attitude”, and 2) I’m mad about KU losing (I’m not mad at our team or mad at Bill Self – I am frustrated with some things our team does, but they’re college kids – not pros.)

I’m normally a pretty happy-go-lucky guy and I consider myself an optimist. I can find the positives in most situations – if I step in dog poop in my backyard my thought is, “Well, at least my dog isn’t constipated.”  And at the end of this post I think you’ll see I still have high hope for our team and don’t feel that the sky is falling for KU. This year especially college basketball is WIDE open and I still believe we can win the Big 12 title and make a deep run in the tournament.

Let me set the stage and give a little context for those who might be reading this who are not KU fans.

Legacy of Greatness

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A snapshot of our greatness –

  • 5 National Championships
  • #2 winningest program of all time
  • 2,089 wins in 115 years
  • 14 Final Fours
  • 4 Final Fours in last 10 years
  • #1 in NCAA in number of Conference Championships
  • 55 Conference Championships
  • 8 straight conference Championships
  • 10 out of last 11 Conference Championships
  • #1 in NCAA in consensus All-American Selections
  • 23 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances – longest active streak in NCAA
  • We’ve only 8 head coaches in 115 years of basketball
  • The inventor of the game of basketball coached at KU
  • 3 years in a row we’ve won 30+ games
  • 7 years in a row we’ve won 25+ games
  • 23 years in a row we’ve won 20+ games

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Coaching Legends

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We have had amazing coaches at KU. The inventor of the game, James Naismith, coached at KU and he’s the only coach at KU to have an overall losing record. Phog Allen is considered the grandfather of modern coaching. He coached Dean Smith who found greatness at the University of North Carolina. Phog Allen also coached Adolph Rupp who found greatness at Kentucky University. More recently with our coaches, we were spoiled under Roy Williams when he was our coach. He won several conference titles and went to four Final 4s in 15 years. But then Roy left for home (North Carolina) and Bill Self was hired. Everyone knows you never want to be the guy who immediately follows a legend because expectations and comparisons will be enormous. Absolutely nobody thought Self could do as well as Roy’s 81% winning percentage. Well, Self proved us all wrong! Self has an 84% winning percentage and he’s brought us eight consecutive conference titles, two Final 4s, and a national championship in just 9 years. And all signs are pointing towards that success to continue steamrolling like a powerful locomotive.

At KU we expect greatness! And we produce our own greatness.

As KU fans we are flat-out spoiled. And you know what? That’s ok! We should demand greatness. Yes, I know that sounds cocky; deal with it. I don’t want to be like the SEC teams who chant “S-E-C! S-E-C!” when teams other than the one they support win national titles. It’s their prerogative if they want to have pride in their conference while their own teams wallow in mediocrity and they get their jollies of other teams successes; I care about KU’s success – KU alone. I don’t want to be happy because Texas, Oklahoma, or god forbid KSU wave championship banners. Conference championship banners* and National Championship banners should be waved by us. We should strive to hang even more championship banners in Allen Fieldhouse.

* as a sidenote, at KU we’ve won so many conference titles (55) that we don’t hang individual banners – we just add the year we win the conference title on to an already existing banner listing other years. We only hang individual Final 4 and National Championship banners

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1st Rant

Again, as KU fans we are spoiled. UNBELIEVABLY SPOILED! And that’s ok! It’s not our fault we enjoy so much success. We expect greatness from our basketball and they produce greatness. But in this losing streak I’ve seen and heard some ridiculous comments from KU fans. Stop it now! Holy freaking crap, stop it now! Bill Self didn’t become an imbecile and forget how to coach in a 7 day span. Admittedly, this team has peed down its legs in recent games, but this is still the team that won at Ohio State, it’s still the team that looked absolutely unbeatable in December. We are 19-4. Our talent ceiling, as we’ve seen many times this year, is very high. So it’s time to stop your bitching and support this team.

2nd Rant

Along with being mad about KU fans acting like the world is coming to an end because of our 3 consecutive losses I’m mad about another thing. I’m sick of us losing. 14 days ago we were ranked #1 in the country in the coaches poll and then on Wednesday we lost at home to Oklahoma State. Honestly that loss felt like it was a long time coming because we had been flirting with losing a couple other games. But hey, no problem, shake it off and regroup. Well, then we lost at TCU…T-C-U! A bunch of frogs who are a VERY bad team. Losing consecutive games was foreign territory for KU fans. We hadn’t lost consecutive games in 7 years…7 years! Think about that, that’s incredible! Ok, we’ve got that out of our system, let’s get back to winning. But then we followed that up by losing at Oklahoma this past Saturday. We hadn’t lost three games in a row in 8 years. By the reaction of some KU fans you would think it’s the apocalypse. We went from being #1 in the country to now being #14 (as of today). Losing three games in a row is not good – but you know what? It happens to everybody. So we sit here today in the thick of a conference title race and we HAVE to get back to winning.

It Ends Tonight by Beginning Again

Enter KSU. The Farmers. The Aggies. Land grant university. Soil judging and livestock judging national champions. What better way to get back to our winning ways than playing and beating our rival. (I use the term “rival” lightly because in order for a team to be a rival they should win occasionally.)

So tonight for the game I’m wearing this shirt in support of my Jayhawks. As a fanbase we need to be rabid in support of our Jayhawks, just like the Fighting Jayhawk. If you’re going to be at home watching the game cheer so loud that they hear you in Lawrence. If you’re going to be privileged enough to be in hallowed Allen Fieldhouse get your butt there early and cheer your ass off the whole game! The losing ends tonight. The winning begins again.

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As Jayhawk fans we need to believe in our team – fly your flags at home and on your car. And when you look at your flag you can know and understand that the sky is not falling. We’ll be fine and I’m sensing we’re going to have a good March and hopefully April too.

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Jayhawk Victory

Living in Arkansas I’m surround by Razorbacks. And I get asked all the time, “What does Rock Chalk mean?” My response, which is also espoused on a KU t-shirt, “Another Jayhawk victory!”

It’s time to start winning. It’s time to once again start hearing the haunting chant of…Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

 

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Posted by on February 11, 2013 in sports

 

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