K-State football is 1-0 after an easy opening win over South Dakota. The Wildcats have reasonable dreams of contending for a Big 12 championship. This weekend, they welcome former conference rival Missouri to Manhattan for the 98th meeting in a series that ran continuously from 1927 through 2011.
And all anyone can talk about is the band and the student section.
To quickly recap, a few years ago the student section started chanting “f*** KU” when the K-State band played the Wabash Cannonball. The Wabash is one of the best-known songs from K-State’s pregame show. In response, band director Dr. Frank Tracz has threatened to stop playing the song if the students don’t stop the chant.
In short, it may be a bit player, but it’s a player in proving that we live in the dumbest possible timeline.
Usually, I loathe equivocating between two positions. One side is usually correct, or at least mostly correct. But in this case, both sides have managed either to be wrong or to mismanage their position so badly that they might as well be wrong.
Tracz is likely carrying water for the K-State administration on this issue. Both the university and the athletic department like to promote a “family” atmosphere as one of K-State’s selling points. As much as we all despise the school down the river, chanting “f*** KU” doesn’t really square with that image.
You can disagree with whether that matters. Personally, I don’t care. Profanity doesn’t bother me, and even when others use it in front of my kids, I take it as an opportunity for discussion with my kids rather than a reason to police others’ behavior.
But key stakeholders, including major boosters, do care. The athletic department is going to respond to those concerns.
And yet, time and again, they’ve managed to respond more like helicopter parents than reasonable adults intent on solving a problem. It started when students started chanting “f*** KU” (noticing a pattern?) when the song Sandstorm was played at games. Former athletic director John Currie lectured the students and ultimately stopped (mostly) playing the song at games.
Now, the administration is taking the same route and somehow expecting different results. This isn’t the 1950s. Many of these students are fully aware that they are incurring tens of thousands of dollars in student debt to attend school, and thus aren’t really interested in lectures from the administration. For a not-insignificant percentage of the population, sticking it to the PC Police is the only thing good in their lives. And making your case in the media doesn’t help. The students don’t have a similar outlet, so how do you expect they’ll respond?
You guessed it. They’ll respond by continuing with a pointless and ridiculous “dig” at their in-state rival.* Never mind that we’re actually playing the South Dakota Coyotes. Coming up with a clever dig at them would be, like, hard and stuff. Easier to just do the same thing every game. And it nurtures the obsession and little brother syndrome that afflicts too many in our fanbase. Y’all should try out bored condescension to those you dislike sometime. It’s fun.
*KU fans can sit this one out. I agree with the sentiment of the chant, if not the execution. In fact, the only thing I really like about it is that it seems to hurt the delicate widdle fee-fees of some crimson-and-blue partisans.
Nobody asked my advice, but I’m going to give it anyway. As clear as it should be that the students should just give up this asinine “tradition” that started something like four years ago, that’s just not going to happen. The administration has one real weapon, and that’s to take away a song whose history at K-State dates to 1968. Mothball it for about five years and let this fade into memory. Life changes fast in a college town. Today’s hot topic is tomorrow’s old news.
And now, on to the real issue of the day. It’s time to kick Mizzou’s ass again, and that’s what’s really fun about college sports.