College Basketball Season is Finally Here!

Hello, readers! I usually use this blog to write about things, well, writing related, whether it is my latest rejection letter celebration or another chapter written. Or, often it is just life advice, for lack of a better term. Many more times has it been something related to the nerd category, ranging anywhere from Lord of the Rings to video games (which I really believe should be one word) to books. Not too often do I talk about another very intense love in my life. It occurs starting around early October and ends gloriously towards the end of March/beginning of April: NCAA Men’s College Basketball.

This passion started when I was very young. I was bred a Jayhawk fan and my love for that university and team only continued to grow as I did, even managing to graduate from said university last May. Some of my favorite memories involve the Jayhawks basketball squad: being allowed to stay up past my bedtime as a kid to watch a game that just went into overtime; literally jumping over the back of my couch and screaming at the top of my lungs when we won the National Title in 2008; all the glorious, back-aching moments spent camping on the floors of Allen Fieldhouse; running through Mass Street my sophomore year after we won in the Final Four; and, the greatest of them all, watching KU beat Mizzou at home in the final Border Showdown in 2012, in overtime (will forever worship you for that, T-Rob).

In case you didn’t know about that game, here is a recap:

Oh, and I forgot to mention watching my boys win eleven straight Big 12 titles.

Needless to say, I love my team, win or lose (but I mean, c’mon, we all know what that ratio is like). I’m not some bandwagon fan that had to buy a t-shirt the same day I bought my student pass my freshmen year. I’m the kind of fan who can tell you about the legends–from Chamberlain to Manning to Pierce–to talking about my favorite players growing up–from Miles to Gooden to T-Rob–to telling you about the recent additions to our current squad–from Vick to Bragg to Diallo.

There are many reasons why I love this team and this sport. One of my top reasons is because not only do I love my team, but I also just love following the sport in general–something I don’t do with any other sport. When I realized KU plays Michigan State on Tuesday in the Champion’s Classic, I was stoked that I didn’t have class that day so I can also watch Duke play Kentucky, even though I hate both teams. Gotta start scouting out in prep for March Madness.

Yet the biggest reason I love this team so much is because of the connection it brings out between me and my Dad. Growing up in a house with two girls and no sons (until I was roughly nine or so and my bro was born), I grew up as the little tomboy, the son my Dad never had (but eventually got; and thank goodness, because Trey is a lot better at sports than I was). I watched all the games with my Dad, always in constant awe of his sports knowledge and analytical perspective of the game. As I grew older, I started getting into soccer (and when I say get into it, I mean really get into it: like, claiming dibs on our DVR ever four years because there are only so many matches in the World Cup I can watch live) and in college, I got into hockey: sports that my Dad often questions if they are even sports (they are). My Dad is a traditional trio man: baseball, football and basketball. And while I grew up loving all our hometown teams from all these sports, my passion for college basketball is the only thing that has truly stuck with me constantly. So it is something my Dad and I always connect on, between October and April.

Take today, for example: KU had their first regular season game, after two nicely-competed exhibition games. My Dad called me–and he doesn’t do that too often–to remind me that the game was on and that we faced Michigan State in the Champion’s Classic on Tuesday (thank God I don’t have class that night). I watched the game on a stream I found (life without cable, man, brings out the vigilante in me) and texted my Dad a couple times about the shock I felt at some of the rule changes I didn’t realize had taken place. (Confused on what I’m talking about. No worries, ten minutes ago, I was, too. Find more info here. Also, side note: if only rule 11 was in place when Marcus Smart played. OSU never would have won a game). Then, after the game, he called me again to discuss the highlights and talk about basketball in general. It was awesome.

Basically, I have a lot of reasons to love this sport. It is fast-paced, the team I support has a fantastic team-mentality and great school and local support, and always comes out to play. But it is also one of the things that brings my Dad and I together, and that means the world to me. Whether it is late night phone calls (Iate night being after nine and before ten for him, poor thing) to discuss the latest no call or Marcus Smart flop (though thank goodness that is over with. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Watch flops here) or my Dad asking me to print off twelve brackets to prep for March Madness, we’re never closer than during college basketball season.

For that, if nothing else, is a reason to celebrate the start of the season.

Oh, and a 109-72 Jayhawk victory isn’t bad, either.

Rock Chalk!

— Nicole

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