And then I cried

Wildcat and I retell a couple stories from college football games. Both of which make fun of me. Huh…

Anyway, one of them involves my final game as a student. It was senior day and as Darren Sproles was announced onto the field and The Nation cheered, I cried. And not just tears in my eyes, I bawled like a little girl (kinda like the Britney concert but not for 45 minutes). At first I tried really hard to hide it from Wildcat and stop myself from crying. But it was obvious that this wasn’t the kind of cry you could stifle. At some point Wildcat caught on to me, shook his head, and hugged me. I think he thinks it’s kind of presh (precious) when I get overwhelmed by the Cats. I later learned that Sproles kept his helmet on during these intros because he was also crying. I’m pretty sure that means we have some kind of special connection. Yeah…anyway, this will come back into play in the most unexpected of moments for me.

Thursday afternoon we waited to board a bus to the Texas Rangers Ballpark in Arlington Texas. It was then that I realized just how many people were on our tour. There were 10 buses that sat 45 people each. I would say they were all full meaning roughly 450 people were staying at the team hotel on our Alumni Association Tour. Whoa. That was WAY more than I anticipated because I knew several people who were going to the Cotton Bowl and NOT doing the package. There was a second hotel that also had lots of Wildcats staying there as part of this package. Crazy!

Here’s where I really saw the perks of the tour package. When we arrived at the ballpark it was insane.

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There were thousands of Wildcats as far as the eye could see. The event was free and so was parking. Parking was also a total mess. We were dropped off right by an entrance and then escorted right inside instead of waiting in a line that was several blocks long.

We took our seats and waited for the event to begin. We took some photos of what was later estimated as 15,000 – 25,000 Wildcat Fans. FOR A PEP RALLY! Dude. That is crazy. Who does that? The Wildcat Nation, that’s who.

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We also took some photos of the stadium:

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Lot’s of fun people got up to speak including but not limited to: the Alumni Association President, who reminded us that KSU ranks #1 in the Nation for Alumni Members and has been #1 in the Big 12 for 15 straight years; KSU’s President Schulz (I wish we were related) who told a great KU joke;* Athletic Director John Currie

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who made me cry; the football team Captains

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Coach of the Year Bill Snyder, and TERRENCE NEWMAN!

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When AD, John Currie took the podium, all of the Wildcat fans were on the edge of their seats. We’d heard there was to be a big announcement made and we were sure our leader, Mr. Currie, would be the one to deliver it. On the bus ride in we speculated about what it could be. Some wondered if Bill would name his successor. None of us knew what was coming. A video played on the screen showing highlights from KSU football throughout the years. Then it spoke about competing on a national level and showed images of several football stadiums from colleges around the country. Then we were told that there was a stadium expansion project in the works. Then we were shown the images. When a picture of our current stadium transitioned into this:

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I felt tears coming that I couldn’t stop. This is the kind of future I’ve always dreamed of for KSU. This is the kind of future that puts the Cotton Bowl and competing nationally on our horizon regularly. Wildcat looked over to see tears streaming down my face. He shook his head and then hugged me.

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This pep rally was like the greatest KSU love fest ever.

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Everything that was said was met with cheers and loud applause. It truly felt like there was no greater place in the world. There was an overwhelming theme of family throughout the entire event. Most of the players referred to their team and the fans as their family. They also spoke about being ready for what was to come the following day.

I’d like to note that they had spent the morning at a children’s hospital in Dallas. Bill Snyder wouldn’t have it any other way.

Speaking of, I took a video of his speech. Disregard the assholes talking in the background. They did that the WHOLE TIME! You’ll hear what Wildcat likes to refer to as my “piercing voice” around the 2:15 mark.

When the players came out I noticed a couple things.

First, almost every single one of them was taking video on their phones/camera/iPads of the fans as they entered. I would love to see some of that footage. And secondly, walking beside Coach Snyder was KSU and Dallas Cowboy Cornerback Terrence Newman. I’m pretty sure I shrieked, “Is that Terrence?!!” After Bill spoke, Terrence took the mic. He told us that we should turn Jerry’s World into Wildcat World the following day and the crowd went crazy.

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Just like that it was over and we walked outside, boarded a bus, and rode back to the hotel. While everyone else searched for their car and waited in traffic. Wildcat and I ate room service that night, watched Grey’s Anatomy in bed, and then met The Freshman and his girlfriend in the bar for a drink or two.

This trip was shaping up to be the best one I’ve ever taken. And there was still a very big day left.

*At the KSU/KU football game this year I overheard a KSU and a KU student talking. As we really started to pull away on the scoreboard (we hung 59 on them, remember?) the KU student said, “Wait until January!” and the KSU student responded, “We’ll still be playing football”. Needless to say, despite our bball loss the night before, this was very popular with the crowd.

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