Football season can be a trying time for Kansas fans.
It hasn’t always been this way. Remember this?
That was Jan. 2008, my first year at the University of Kansas, and probably the best year of my life.
Six years ago, Kansas won a BCS bowl. Last year, Kansas won one game. The Jayhawks won two games in 2011, and three games in 2010. Lately, it’s been difficult to get excited about KU football. But here are four reasons to try.
1. Things (almost definitely) can’t get worse.
It’s technically possible that KU will follow the pattern set by the last three years and win zero games, but it isn’t likely. James Sims and Tony Pierson, just about the only players who made me smile last season, are back. I have a good feeling about Jake Heaps that I can’t quite explain. Ben Heeney, who was second in the Big 12 with 112 tackles last season, is returning for the defense. It only takes two wins to improve upon last year’s misery. Have a little faith.
2. Football is awesome.
Football is the perfect spectator sport. Baseball fans sit for hours to watch a team win 3-2. Soccer fans watch 90-minute battles end in an infuriating draw. And basketball fans see so much scoring in a game that it takes a truly magnificent dunk or block to get their attention. But in football, every score is thrilling — meaningful, but not particularly rare. Every beautiful pass, every nasty tackle you watch will give you that moment of exhilaration — even if things don’t go our way in the end.
I’d like to see more beautiful passes and nasty tackles from KU, but for now I’m cherishing each one. Win or lose, football will make you feel things, and you need that outlet.
3. There is no basketball right now.
I know your miss Kansas basketball. We all do. But it’s fall, and fall is for football. Basketball will be waiting to greet you with open arms and wrap you in its warm embrace Oct. 29. When you love something the way our people love basketball, you start to think life would be better if you could have it all the time. But basketball is sweeter when you’ve earned it, and that means doing your time at Memorial Stadium.
4. Nobody likes a fair-weather fan.
When the Jayhawks win, they’re MY TEAM; I’m proud of those college kids I’ve never met like I’d be proud of my own friends and family. Colors are brighter. Food tastes better. Nothing feels better than winning.
But when the Jayhawks lose, they’re still my team. They still represent the school I love in my favorite city on earth. Sure, winning teams are easier to like. I like South Carolina and Oregon and sometimes I like Texas A&M. But love for a team is different. You can’t just love a team some of the time. If Kansas isn’t always your team, then it’s never really your team at all.
Are you that guy in the Yankees hat who’s never been to New York? Or the girl in the Longhorns jersey with zero connection to the University of Texas? No, you’re a Jayhawk. So act like it.