Commentary
5:00 am
Fri February 5, 2010

Richard Crowson: Basketball In Kansas

I never thought I’d say this, but, man! I’m really into basketball these days! Generally I barely pay attention to it. But a couple of things happened recently that turned me around.

First, a generous friend gave my wife and me tickets to a Shocker game a few weeks ago. So we gingerly waded into the roiling, churning, chanting and cheering throngs of happy Shocker fans at Koch Arena. I had no idea games were like that! The energy was contagious. The team played skillfully. And before you can say Dr. James Naismith, I was converted. Though I must shamefully admit that we had to furtively consult Wikipedia at one point just to find out if a game was divided up into halves, quarters or innings. (Please don’t tell anyone. I’m still embarrassed about that.)

The second thing that happened to change my attitude is that all three of Kansas’ division 1 teams are having great seasons at the same time. So I find myself doing bizarre things like watching basketball games on television when I would normally be watching whatever’s on Turner Classic Movies. Or playing my banjo. My gosh. This sport is eating into my banjo time! I have truly lost it.

Still, this is exactly what basketball was invented for. When James Naismith nailed up those peach baskets and started having his PE students shoot balls into them back in 1891 up at Springfield College in Massachusetts, it was to keep people occupied and distracted from the harsh New England winters.

We know a thing or two about harsh winters here in good old Kansas. We’re in the middle of a doozy. But thankfully, we’re distracted by our Kansas teams having a doozy of a basketball season.

So, though it may seem blasphemous to some of you highly partisan team fans, I’ll say it anyway:

Go Hawks! AND go Cats! AND most of all, go Shocks!