November 8th, 2014
This was the last day that the Kansas Jayhawks won a football game. Looking back at these highlights, it seems so very long ago. To a certain extent, that’s because it was really long ago. Over a full year. After that game, I don’t remember exactly what I was feeling. I remember what other people were feeling, judging by this:
But otherwise, I don’t remember much. I remember we got scrutinized by fans of more successful teams because our fans poured onto the field and tore down the south endzone goalpost. That happened my freshman year (2013) as well, but more people complained last year. They didn’t get to complain about that this year, and I don’t know if they’re happy about that or not. One one hand, KU didn’t win any games, but on the other, they didn’t get the chance to Yell at College Students (to be fair, there was The Incident, so I guess they did get their fill of Yelling at College Students in.
Next year might be different. We have reason to believe it would be different, at least. You never expect a new coaching regime to come in and do well, and it’s always a surprise when they do. I don’t know how many people expected Florida to be playing in the SEC Championship game this weekend at the beginning of the year, for instance, since they were dealing with a coaching change. Most of the time, that first year is rough. In fact, the best first year of any KU coach since the ’80s was Terry Allen’s 5-6 record in 1997. Mangino and Mason couldn’t crack two wins in their first year. Beaty’s the first guy to go winless in his first year since 1954, since Eisenhower was in the White House, since Joseph McCarthy was in the senate, et cetera, et cetera, it’s been a long time.
Perhaps some day, fifty one years from now, some other college-age guy is going to post on his low-tier personal website (will we even have low-tier personal websites in 2066?) about the 2015 season and how the team rebuilt itself from a winless start. Or maybe it’ll be different, and he’ll show how that year started the longest winless streak in college football history (I don’t think we’ll hit that, by the way, I’m guessing there’s 2 wins next year). Or maybe he’ll recollect on the 2015 season, and how the guy writing on this low-tier personal website had an open Greek Yogurt container on his desk, and back then, Greek Yogurt was something you could buy at the store – It came in so many flavors, too! You could be upset that they didn’t have strawberry yogurt and you’d have to buy a different type of yogurt- It was a different time, back before milk prices rose up to $23 after the dairy shortage.
Of course, now, it feels really bad and I don’t want to look back at it at all. I can’t reminisce on anything from this year. The Jayhawks played like 3 games where they were competitive. I can’t imagine that I’ll look back on my memories of any games like I do those in 2003 and 2005 with any fondness. I mostly remember wanting to go home around the third quarter in just about every game. This year was so full of emotional lows that I really can’t think of what following a good football team would be like. Hopefully I get that, someday, but for now, it’s just going to be emotional numbness.
It’s going to be emotional numbness, sitting and waiting for another season nine months away, knowing that it probably can’t get that much better.
It’s going to be sadness, watching other teams and fanbases enjoying their December football, regardless of how meaningful a game between a team at 6-6 and one at 5-7 is or isn’t.
It’s going to be jokes, all four or five of them that college football fans can come up with: KU is bad, KU fans tore down the goalposts three times in a season ten years ago, KU hired Charlie Weis, KU has a good basketball program and it takes attention away from the football program, and Mark Mangino was tubby. There have not been many new ones.
It’s going to be criticism of the fans from people who don’t understand the situation and won’t be bothered with doing so anyway.
I promise this video makes sense in context later.
There was a point on Saturday where I thought about what it would be like to support a team that wasn’t 0-12. It must be nice. I’m probably (read: definitely) going to attend a graduate school after I graduate from here, and it might have to be somewhere else. I’d probably go to games if I had to continue schooling somewhere else, I mean, it’s something to do on a weekend, and if the team’s good, that’s just a bonus. At a certain point, I imagined myself wearing a sweatshirt from another school and clapping along to a different fight song, and sitting amongst a bunch of other students and making myself a dedicated fan.
But that’s when everything checked out: I could never call myself ‘dedicated’ to any team other than the Kansas Jayhawks after this season. Not after 0-12.
That would be living a lie.
I’m in the band, so I was in attendance for all seven home games and one away game. That’s understandable – The thing is, I made a point to pay attention to the other four. I went to a bar twice to watch games because my cable package didn’t carry them. I sat in my living room and watched KU get dismantled by Iowa State, listened on the radio as Willis got sacked on the last play against TCU. I put myself through that because I cared about the 2015 Kansas Jayhawks and brought myself back every time even after every loss.
So there’s nobody else – No Other Club – that I could go to after this season. It’s a sad place to be in after this year, and all I’m holding on to is the idea that it might get better.