Archive for Thursday, August 18, 2005

the fly route

August 18, 2005

It wouldn't be fair to say that sports have cost me massive amounts of sleep.

I've gone without sleep to watch a rerun of my team's biggest game, bounced off the walls late into the night following a giant victory, and I've undoubtedly lied awake questioning all that is holy following a devastating loss.

But I can't blame sports.

Now, as I take on my first full-time job, covering Eudora and De Soto sports, I am the only one I have to blame for all the sleepless nights I've endured, and the countless more I can expect.

I grew up in Andale in south central Kansas, just northwest of Wichita. The only team I was trained to love was Kansas State. My parents ushered me down that path from birth, and I've not once looked back.

I acquired a love for the Denver Broncos all on my own -- before the 1997 Super Bowl. (I have the Starter jacket to prove it.)

The problem isn't that I watch my teams, that I am proud when they win or dejected when they lose.

The problem is that I'm passionate about my teams. A win or a loss makes or breaks my week, even my month. And along with the thrill of a new game, every fall weekend brings a nervous knot to my stomach.

Growing up in the heart of Chiefs country, my emotional well-being for the grade school semester often depended on the outcome of the Denver-Kansas City game.

When Denver won, I was vindicated, that priceless feeling of walking down the hall with the smile plastered from ear to ear, not a word needing to be said.

When things didn't work out, fortunately my parents were too good to let me play sick.

But it isn't just the Broncos. It's K-State too.

The 1998 Big 12 championship loss to Texas A&M?

I don't want to talk about it. Not now. Not ever.

Rumors of some football game in Lawrence last October that didn't turn out as planned?

If I didn't see, it didn't happen, did it?

The 35-7 2003 Big 12 Championship win over Oklahoma?

Best day of my life.

K-State over Nebraska, 29-28 in 2000?

I was a freshman in Manhattan. I waited in line five hours to sit eight rows from the field, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

What does it all mean?

For you, the reader, I hope it means an entertaining sports page.

My goal is to convey my passion in the stories I write. I want to tell the stories of the athletes from these towns, be it the high schooler fresh off the game of his life, the little leaguer about to take his first swing, or the rec-league softballer who refuses to act the age.

I won't shy from sharing my opinion in this column and I'll do my best to keep it fair -- no overloading on the Cats or the Broncos.

I want to use this space to provide thoughts on the controversies in the area. I also want tackle regional sports often, KU, the Chiefs, and of course K-State. I'll go ahead and promise no Royals coverage. I was a fan once, even own a hat, but it's safe to say they've not cost me a minute of sleep.

I encourage you not to shy from sharing your response either. My e-mail is included with my bylines and I'll always answer.

I moved into my apartment in Lenexa exactly a week ago, and I'm definitely still getting acquainted. I was one lucky random turn from having to stop and ask directions home the other day.

But really, there is nothing different here than from anywhere I've ever lived. A Monday morning signaled the start of football practice this week, and just like me, no one can seem to wait for school to start and August mornings to turn into cool Friday nights.

We're all just eagerly waiting for the next great game.

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