Monday, April 7, 2008

Rock Chalk, Championship!

Every year, I predict that my alma mater, the Kansas Jayhawks will win the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship. Once every twenty years, I get it right.

In 1988, it was Danny and the Miracles. It wasn't long after I met my future wife. I was lucky enough to get tickets to see the Jayhawks play in the Sweet Sixteen and the Elite Eight in the Pontiac Silverdome. Tickets weren't nearly as difficult to come by then as they are today, and I had gotten two in the KU section, so I brought a friend to both games. On Friday, March 25th, I watched KU defeat Vanderbilt and Kansas State defeat Purdue. The Jayhawk and Wildcat fans were all very cordial -- most fans cheered on both of the Kansas teams. On Saturday, I had to travel to attend a wedding with Emily in Kalamazoo, then I headed back Sunday morning to watch KU vs. K-State. The K-State fans weren't nearly as friendly at this game. A week later, I was in Minneapolis with Emily during the semifinals and dragged her and a friend of hers to a pretty empty sports bar to watch KU beat Duke (it's a pretty good sign when the woman you love goes with you to watch your team play basketball). And, of course, in the incredible final game, KU beat Oklahoma, who had beaten them twice earlier in the season.

This time around, I watched the semifinals and finals with my family. And, once again, the final game was amazing. During the last eight minutes and the overtime (and particularly the last two minutes of regulation), my wife and kids were as tense and as loud as I was. It was great to share it with them.

When you add in the triple-overtime loss to North Carolina in 1957, it seems to me that Kansas has been a participant in three of the most exciting NCAA finals ever.

Roch Chalk, Jayhawk! Go KU!