I Know a Spot that I Love Full Well…

…’Tis not in forest, nor yet in dell.

There is a political climate in this nation that is currently broken and divided, and seemingly beyond repair.1  To what degree we can get away from it depends on where we can go to be unified. Throughout my life there has been one place where that seems possible…

Ever it holds me with magic spell…

There’s something about the love that comes from a place where you spend four of the best years of your life. Walking on campus always brings back memories of a time where things couldn’t have seemed more difficult, but couldn’t have been more simple.  You walk by the dorms,2 apartments, and houses you once lived in and remember the fun. The wild. The disappointment. The hope. The promise. The friends.  You remember everything that could have been, and everything that was.3

If you’re a sports fan that only becomes intensified as you remember the wins,4 the losses,5 the tailgates, and different versions of every emotion that you’ve spent in your life. Every football, basketball, baseball, and volleyball game gives you the chance to transport back to that time, even if it’s just for a few hours.

I think of thee, alma mater.

And that’s what brings us together. For 3 hours we may disagree on what play should be run,6 whether we should be in a man or a zone, or how long the pitcher should stay in.  Some want the traditional football uniforms7 and others love the grey new style of basketball uniforms.8 And you can’t do it without carrying a passion for everything that a place like Kansas State University means to you. And while we may passionately disagree, we’re all wearing purple.

K! S! U! We’ll carry the banner high.

And we wear purple through a dark time. We wear purple as a coach we loved, and who we thought loved us, leaves us. When you love someone and they hurt you, you don’t want to believe they could possibly have hurt you.  There has to be someone to blame, and it can’t be them. So we blame the athletic director. We blame the president. We blame the NCAA.  We blame everyone we can except the person who was the one who actually made the decision to pack up and walk away, and leave us staring into an unknown future.9

But we still wear purple.

K! S! U! Long, long may the colors fly.

Like our divided nation, the fan base is divided as well.  No one wanted Frank to leave, but how we react to it makes up who we are. Most fans understand the flaws and the problems. It’s not difficult to see things from all sides of what has happened at K-State as a boss and an employee couldn’t come together, and the relationship couldn’t be salvaged.  And here we are.10

There’s a small, but extremely vocal minority of fans who have chosen to take a very dark side. They want to win at all costs. They want to thumb their nose at the rules, invent crazy conspiracy theories, and harass anyone who thinks any different. They believe they’re the only true fans, and they’re determined to make sure that everyone knows.  Rationality and ethics mean nothing. Only the conclusions that they’ve arrived at long before any information could be addressed.

But they’re small. As small in size as in decency.

Loyal to thee thy children will swell the cry…

It’s a dark time, indeed. But it doesn’t have to be. The rest of K-State can move forward. The rest of us can see that K-State doesn’t revolve around one man, but instead everyone that wears purple from the freshman in the dorms to the players on the field. From the professors in the classrooms to the coaches on the sidelines.  From the administration in Anderson Hall to the alumni around the world.

We are K-State.

And we go on.

And we all wear purple.

Hail! Hail! Hail! Alma mater.

_______________

Notes:

  1. The good news is that nothing is beyond repair, it’s certainly not as broken as it was during the Civil War
  2. 4 Years in Goodnow Hall for me. Loved every second of it. I’ll never forget walking into that tiny cell of a room the first day, or sneaking on the roof to smoke cigars on my last night… and a million things in between.
  3. and maybe even a few things that weren’t
  4. Nebraska. November 14, 1998. Best day of my life.
  5. A&M. Big XII Championship. Worst day of my life.
  6. I still don’t get why Klein didn’t run it in at Oklahoma State.
  7. Thank you, Bill, never change
  8. My least favorite. Love the white ones and the purple ones. The black ones are ok… but I can do without the grey.
  9. Let’s face it… Frank is at least 50% of the blame here. You can’t rationalize with someone who can’t possibly believe they could be wrong… and you can’t placate them forever either.
  10. Better than we were post Wooldridge. K-State is a good job, and it’s now about continuing something, not building something from scratch.