What is Kansas?
Great question. Kansas became the thirty-fourth state of our Union in 1861. It is located centrally in the United States, where it is shaped like an Amazon box damaged in the truck and is regularly prone to violent tornadoes which may or may not yield passage to fantastical lands. It is taken from the Sioux word “KaNze,” which means “Grace Under Fire Marathon.”
So who are the Wildcats playing this weekend, then?
I know. It is confusing that we just keep referring to University of Kentucky’s opponent simply by the entire state’s name, especially since other basketball powerhouses MidAmerica Nazarene University, Barclay College and something called Friends University. We’re talking here about the University of Kansas, and their men’s basketball team the Jayhawks.
Oh, I know the Jayhawks. I kinda liked their album Smile, but felt like they were kind of emulating Wilco. Too poppy. I prefer their earlier stuff.
No, not the band The Jayhawks. The team. The basketball team.
Oh, okay. What’s a Jayhawk, anyway?
A Jayhawk is thought to be the quarrelsome combination of the blue jay and the sparrow hawk, both aggressive birds. That’s the reason the threatening moniker was chosen for the athletic program
That bird wears shoes. Birds don’t wear shoes. That bird is, like, half shoes.
That’s true. It’s kind of weird. I think it’s just an artistic representation.
What do I need to know about these “Jayhawks?”
Kansas is the second-winningest Division I basketball team of all time; the first is Kentucky. They’re coached by the Bill Self, who definitely has hair. Look; you can see it. See all that hair? He totally has hair. It’s very obvious. Beautiful, natural hair. Why would anyone think otherwise, right? I mean, it’s plain to see.
Oh, I’ve heard about this team and university. Are they good?
Yes, they’re very good. They beat Emporia State! And Washburn! And some other good teams. But those two are the big wins, I think we can both agree.
Kansas plays at Phog Allen Fieldhouse. Who was Phog Allen?
Phog Allen was a wealthy man of leisure in 1873 who, along with his daring valet Passepartout, accepted a £20,000 wager that he could circumnavigate the earth in eighty days. The basketball arena is a lasting memorial to his amazing deeds. A statue in front of Lippincott Hall on campus, in fact, depicts two men discussing how much they enjoy the book of his journey.
What is life like on Kansas’ campus?
It’s a simpler time in Lawrence, Kansas. Each student gets up in the morning and drinks a cup of coffee on the porch as the faint sound of crickets die away with the rise of the sun. Then he counts his head of cattle and makes sure none of the fences need patching; sometimes he goes into town to see about some feed from Montgomery Ward. Round five o’clock it’s time for supper, and then he enjoys a pipe in his chair as he reads the family bible. After four years of this, you get a degree. Then, one day, you die.
All we are is dust in the wind, huh?
Nope. I got through this entire piece without a Kansas-the-band joke and I’m not going to start now. Good day, sir.