I don’t have a lot going on these days. Since losing my job and moving into my in-laws’ house, my days are filled with sitcom reruns and job applications with little to look forward to. (Did you know FX shows “Mad About You” on weekday mornings? Next time you’re home sick from work, hit me up and I’ll tell you where to find the good stuff on TV.) While I’m thankful for a lot of things — namely my husband’s great job and my in-laws’ remarkable generosity — life isn’t awesome right now.
Some people use unemployment as a chance to get their homes in order or catch up on their reading or tackle a project they’ve neglected. I’ve devoted my newfound free time to Kansas basketball.
In a previous life, I traveled to Austin and New Orleans to see my Jayhawks. I paid way too much to watch KU play in College Station (in basketball and football). I drove to Houston to watch the national championship with other Kansas alumni. I even made it to the 2013 Sweet Sixteen in Dallas, but I never blogged about it because it was the first time I’d ever seen Kansas lose in person and I was just too sad.*
When I was working, basketball helped me escape the stress of the news businesses and my constant (and not entirely unfounded) fear of being laid off. Now it gives me something to mark on my otherwise barren calendar.
Basketball is a chance to care deeply about something without the risk of real-life consequences. In just two hours I can feel anxious, elated, confident, frustrated, hopeful, and occasionally disappointed. It’s a catharsis I haven’t been able to duplicate.
Sure, I care about Very Important Issues, but social justice and legislation and the economy all affect my life directly, to the point that caring about said Very Important Issues is more draining than fulfilling.
Love is easy and relationships are hard, right? Well, basketball is love.
I want an 11th straight Big 12 title so bad I can taste it. I will be devastated if Kansas somehow falls short of that goal. But here’s the best part: My life won’t change one way or the other. It’s the safest way to experience ALL the feelings.
And it’s addictive. There’s a chemical in my brain telling me I need more basketball all the time. I’ve even taken to watching Wichita State games when they’re actually on TV. OK, and once in person.
I got my start blogging about how Kansas fans are sick individuals. Pathological, even. All this time I thought my obsession with Kansas basketball was making me crazy; now it’s the only thing keeping me sane.
*The only good part of seeing Kansas lose in Dallas was having dinner with my grandmother the night before and running into Sherwood Brown and the Florida Gulf Coast team.