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Where I Come From: Becoming a K-State Fan

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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.

Go Cats!