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I basically owe my K-State fandom to my dad. He went to K-State for a time, although he transferred and got his degree elsewhere, and was always a fan when I was a kid. I remember how thrilled he was to get a Copper Bowl sweatshirt for Christmas in 1993.
We lived about an hour away from Manhattan, and we would go to a couple of football or men’s basketball games a year. Sometimes we would get fantastic seats when one of Dad’s friends – who was a big donor – couldn’t make it.
It wasn’t until 1998 that I can say I became a fan in my own right. I was in eighth grade, and that football season was the first time I really paid much attention to sports. The night of the Big 12 Championship Game that year, I was playing in pep band for a high school basketball game, but at every possible break a bunch of us were going back to the band room to catch the game on TV. That loss was my first sports heartbreak.
When women’s basketball started getting really good with Nicole Ohlde, Kendra Wecker, et al., our family went to a few of their games a year. Even my KU-loving brother was a fan of K-State women’s basketball.
There was never really any question when I was deciding on college. K-State was close enough to home while still giving me space. After going to a small high school (we were one of the smallest 2A schools in the state) I was ready for the change of pace a big university would give me. I couldn’t really afford season tickets for football or basketball, but I made it to a couple of games every year, and watching the 2003 Big 12 Championship Game on TV with a bunch of my friends was one of the highlights of college.
For Christmas my senior year, my parents gave me two options for a big gift: money for a spring break trip that spring or football season tickets in my ninth and final semester. It wasn’t a hard decision. I took the football tickets and watched that crazy first year with [redacted] as coach from the stands. I almost didn’t go to the Texas game, figuring we had no chance, but changed my mind at the last minute. That meant I wasn’t with my usual group of friends in the stands, but in an upset like that, everyone is your friend. I got to rush the field for my first and only time that night. I also went to Bob Huggins’ very first game at K-State that fall, an exhibition against Washburn.
Unfortunately I was out of state for the Michael Beasley basketball season, working my first post-college job more than a thousand miles away from home, but thanks to Beasley and Bill Walker, I was able to watch a ton of their games on national television.
My dad is responsible for making me a K-State fan, and I’ve remained a fan because I have a lot of great memories with family and friends from K-State sports.
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