I’m sure you get more fan mail than Santa in December, so I don’t know if this will ever reach any of you, but I’m writing everything down anyway if only for posterity’s sake. Allow me to introduce myself. I am a member of Jayhawk Nation, an enrolled student at KU, & perhaps most importantly for this letter; your campaign manager. You may be thinking, “I don’t remember authorizing that hire?” Or you may even be wondering why you need one? The truth is its a role I was destined to play.
A fourth generation Jayhawk, I have followed KU Basketball my whole life. I remember learning the fight song before the national anthem, saying “Rock Chalk” before learning to recite my address or phone number, and watching March Madness with my mother and grandmother, wishing more than anything to follow exactly in their footsteps that lead to Lawrence. Now it is my fourth and final year at the University, and frankly I can’t believe it’s almost over.
So thank you Bill Self & Your Jayhawks, for becoming a team that has been one of my only constants these past years. While my roommates changed, my major switched back and forth, and the football program burned through 3 coaches (and counting), I knew I could count on my Basketball Boys to deliver. Thank you, for continuing the traditions of a program that never sets the bar below the roof of Allen Fieldhouse. I know it can’t be easy, KU fans aren’t easily pleased-myself included. Thank you for representing a sense of class that we expect to be upheld by any of those remembered eight legacies that call themselves Kansas coaches. Thank you for building teams that I can believe in, fight for, and stand behind. I never once uttered the words “rebuilding year” in 2011-2012. When My friends from other schools asked me if we would make it in to the tournament, I simply corrected them: we were going to the championship.
Thank you Allen Fieldhouse, for being a building that I have never left without a smile on my face, save for one exception; for being a place where I have felt more passionate, inspired, comradery then anywhere else ever. I’ve laughed, cried, jumped up and down until I couldn’t feel my legs, sat ripping newspaper for hours, hugged perfect strangers, and lost my voice from screaming. On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve also slept more hours than I could count inside of 1651 Naismith Drive. The week before the K-State game I spent more time on our camping group’s air mattress than I did in my own bed. I wish that I could tie one specific memory to that magical building; The second we went into overtime at the last border war, the Ohio State game, the time I watched a proposal occur across the court, the countless senior speeches that made me cry- Damn you Sherron- and laugh, or one of the exhibition games against a small school that felt more like an all-star dunk contest. But I can’t, there’s simply too many.
Which leads me to the Jayhawk Video team, thanks for making my heart swell whenever I hear “Dream On.” At the beginning of every game, my friends and I compare our goosebumps as the “Requiem for a Dream” theme plays with flashing images of our Hawks proudest moments. We wait for all our favorite parts to jump up and down, like popcorn kernels ready to explode with excitement. Every one, is somehow better than the last. You truly are talented and under-appreciated, and I cannot wait to see the magic you will produce with those new HD screens.
Finally to the team, and most importantly: my fellow Seniors. Thanks for it all. For sticking it out when you might have had the talent to leave earlier, for enduring stares and points from those on campus who couldn’t contain their excitement at seeing you “in real life.” For being patient with thousands of autograph seekers and picture takers everywhere. Thanks for working your hardest to represent Kansas the way we see it: as the absolute best. Not all of you are hometown boys, so adjustments no doubt had to be made in the move, but you handled it with grace and poise. Thanks for waking up early and practicing even when you didn’t want to, and most importantly for giving your all-every day.
And so as I enter in to my senior season of KU Basketball, it comes with the bittersweet feeling that a part of this will all soon be over. My love and adoration for Jayhawk Basketball will never fade. But it will certainly be different to sit somewhere that isn’t behind the baskets, imagine getting in to a game without camping days in advance, and to call myself an Alumnus instead of a student. This year Senior night will partially belong to my peers and I, as we start our journeys into the “real world” that most of us have been simultaneously dreading and looking forward to.
And since they won’t announce my name or let me give a senior speech to express my gratitude to Kansas Basketball that night, I’m doing it a little early. THANK YOU to all who have given themselves to this team. Thank you for making me happier than anything or anyone else ever has. I truly believe that only together, We are Kansas.
The Girl with the “Bill Self for President” Sign