If one could put all the energy into quart jars, then the Kansas State event against Oklahoma on Saturday, March 9, would run out of quarts; even gallon jugs!
We attended the game at Bramlage Colliseum on Saturday as K-State ran OU back south. This clinched the Conference championship which they are sharing with Texas Tech.
This occasion also happened to be Senior Recognition day. Three Seniors team members, playing their last time in Bramlage, were honored, accompanied by their parents. Barry Brown, Jr, Kamau Stokes, and Dean Wade were marched onto the floor amid cheers and roars.
So much going on! I was in pig heaven.
The place was filled to a sellout crowd, and there were no vacant seats to be begged. Purple everywhere. Even the concession stands were so long, I gave up waiting.
I focus on details that most serious sports aficionados don’t consider worth noting. I was on high alert!
We were seated at a long table almost under a basket. In front of us serious cameras dwelt...lots and lots of cameras. ESPN camera men were televising, and one very overweight photo guy sat low on a little canvas folding seat, while others were wedged on the floor. Two students carrying flat headed mops stayed alert at all times to run out on the floor and wipe any spit, blood, or sweat off the floor if of the players sprung a leak .
The cheer leaders and the dancers were practiced, in sync, and full of energy. They danced, wiggled, did flips, stood on guys shoulders, and led cheers. They never stopped. When did I ever have that kind of energy? Duh. Never.
The Wabash Cannonball resonated through the arena. The band moved from side to side, the tubas swayed, the students waved players pictures. The introduction of the OU team began, the student section held newspapers up in front of their faces...Ho hum. We are bored with you, Oklahoma.
The lights went out. The announcer began. The spotlights focused on each K-State starter as they bounded to the middle of the floor. The crowd roared. The big screen TV 4-Plex flashed “Bring the Doom”. Dry ice smoke filled the area, and the crowd went wild. The fans stood for the tip off. We didn’t stand. The press has to sit and be partial. I sat on my hands so I wouldn’t get into trouble waving them. I once got reprimanded for cheering from that “hallowed” position.
I watched Coach Bruce Weber whenever I could. He paces and does little footwork trots as he stands, bends over, and yells instructions at the guys. His entire heart is in this game. It’s more than a job to this coach. He never stops moving .
I was getting tired. I needed a jar of energy. It’s exhausting focusing on all this varied action from a chair.
OK, shape up. Watch the game. It’s rough out there on the floor. Pushing and grunting, and jabbing. How can anyone shoot a basket as he is being pushed with elbows and gluteals? And what’s with the jabber? I noticed how during free throws, the team members talk to each other. “Hey, do your feet hurt?” ‘Not too bad. But my elbow hurts from jabbing you!”
When the win was had, and the game ended, confetti showered the arena. The place broke into celebration and the entire packed crowd didn’t move. Champion T-shirts were handed out to the players and managers. One guy lay down in the deep confetti and made a snow angel. The interviewer grabbed a player, asking a profound question. I waited. “How does it feel to win this title?” Oh good one, mister. Then, as the guys put on their Big 12 Conference Win T-shirts and caps, they embraced, hugged their happy coach, shed some tears, cut the baskets down.
We were tired. It was an extravaganza.
I wish you all had been there.
Judi Tabler lives in Pawnee County and is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune. She can be reached at email@example.com. Visit her website juditabler.com.