This post is sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 2011.
Whenever it comes up in conversation that I run a blog about K-State sports, I am inevitably asked how I got started blogging. In what is apparently a familiar refrain, the simple answer is that I moved away from Manhattan and missed K-State sports. After graduating from K-State in 2006 with my degree in journalism, I ventured down to Houston and started law school. Toward the end of my first year, I was feeling very disconnected from K-State sports. Sure, I had wildly celebrated the unexpected win over Texas, and kept track of Bob Huggins' first and only season in Manhattan, but other than that, I felt like I wasn't as informed as I'd like to be.
Enter the world of blogging. It started slow, unsurprisingly, and I remember my shock at seeing 100 hits on my Sitemeter one day when one of my buddy's threw up a link to one of my posts on TexAgs. Before long, Peter Bean noticed the site, and asked me to fill the vacant K-State sports slot on SB Nation. Most of you probably know the story from there.
So that's the story of BOTC. But the story of how I actually became a K-State fan is a little more interesting. I'm guessing most of us on here either grew up in Kansas in families that were dyed-in-the-wool purple, or went to K-State and caught the bug there. Pretty typical for fans of most college sports teams.
But I was a little different. I grew up a little farther north, specifically in Nebraska, and like any other kid in Nebraska in the 1990s, I bled red (well, we all bleed red, so maybe I should say scarlet...OK, let's just say I was a Husker fan). My entire family was from Nebraska, and had been for generations, so cheering for the Huskers was second nature to us. I remember celebrating three* national titles with my family, and expecting things to carry on as normal under Frank Solich. But a funny thing happened around 2001 or 2002. My desire to study architecture led me away from the University of Nebraska, leaving me with K-State and Iowa State as my two schools from which to choose.
Manhattan was a couple hours closer to my hometown, and it struck me that winters in Ames would be particularly brutal, as if they aren't bad enough in Manhattan. So K-State was the pick. Still, it was anything but a foregone conclusion that I would end up a K-State fan. You don't just change your colors overnight. But as most of you know, 2002 was one of K-State's finest seasons during Bill Snyder's first run. If I had to point to a single moment as the turning point in my evolution as a K-State fan, it would have to be the USC game in 2002. Pete Carroll and Carson Palmer rolled into Manhattan and left with a defeat that signalled the 6-6 2001 season had been a fluke for the Wildcats. The atmosphere was electric that night, and even if I didn't realize it immediately, I was hooked as a K-State fan from that point on.
And that was that. Four years at K-State, a bunch of great new friends, and countless memories. Thanks to a last-minute decision, I was in Kansas City on a cold December night in 2003 when K-State won its first conference championship since before World War II. A story from that night summed up for me what it means to be a K-State fan. At the game that evening, I was sitting next to a 60-year-old school administrator from a small town north of Manhattan. He had been a K-State fan since birth, and had lived through the bad old days before Bill Snyder. He remembered the winless seasons, and the time when it looked like K-State may drop its football program. The look in his eyes that night as his team not only won a Big 12 conference championship, but streamrolled an Oklahoma program that he had watched whip K-State countless times over the years, was unforgettable.
All of it led me to where BOTC is now. It's our online water cooler, or coffee break, or happy hour high-top table to discuss K-State sports. Now I have three other writers who do an excellent job, and I never could have anticipated the type of community we would have. We love putting together posts and seeing your reaction to them, allowing us to discuss K-State sports whether we're in Manhattan, Kansas City, or anywhere else. Now that I've told you my story -- and surely invited more "traitor" slings from Nebraska fans -- I want to hear yours. Chime in with a comment describing your story as a K-State fan, whether you were born purple or are a turncoat like me.