Most of my memories are good ones, though. After my high school football team finished second in state, it was some consolation to see my Wildcats rip off 3 straight wins to finish 7-4 and barely miss out on a bowl game. Two years later, when I was in my first year at KSU, the Copper Bowl win came. We couldn't believe what we were seeing. And then it just kept going in the seasons after that! People who didn't cheer for the Cats before 1990 don't understand how strange it was to see our Cats winning so often. My younger brother Michael joined me on-campus for the 1994 season, and we did have some good times! We were at every Cat home game that year, but the Big Game was in Lawrence, so we had a party at our buddy Michael Ketterl's apartment, which was right down the street from the Stadium. After we beat the Hawks on national television, a call was placed -- as always, win or lose -- to my dad.
One of the games I will always remember is the first one after his untimely death, of cancer, at only age 44. By the time this game came around, my little brother had moved to Tulsa to become a minister, and our friend Michael Ketterl had also died of cancer,at 22, only a few days after Dad passed away in April. I don't know why I felt such a need to go (it was the only home game I traveled back from KC, where I was student-teaching, for that fall), but on November 8, 1997, I was in the stands as Michael Bishop and the boys in Purple rolled the Hawks again, 48-12. For a wonderful three hours, nothing mattered except the team, the noise, and the joy found in that win. But, it was the first time I wasn't able to call my dad right after the game, and the road back to Kansas City that night held many tears.
I close this story with this: I love my Cats. I desperately want us to win, and it pains me when we don't. But, even when we don't, my sporting blood still runs purple. I'm still a Wildcat. I'll always will be a Wildcat. It's wrapped in all the joys and disappointments that I've found in sports throughout my 36 years of living. It's wrapped in some of my best memories of my dad. And it's in the very nature of what I feel makes me me. Some (maybe most) will think it odd how much I care. But, if caring this much about my college makes me strange, I guess I'll just have to be strange, because it's who I am. It's the week of the Big Game, and I've only one thing left to write: