Welcome to Allen Fieldhouse: What I Wish I Knew When I Was a Freshman

 

          As the leaves start to dissipate and the temperature begins to drop, residents of Lawrence don't just recognize these changes as the end of fall, but their heart rates jump up, their palms get sweaty, and they instantly recognize that basketball season in Lawrence has come once again.  BASKETBALL. The sport, nay, the lifestyle, that was created which we as students call home (at least for four years) comes to life yet again. ‘Tis the season where people will not place judgment on you for screaming at Withey to jump higher or for Releford to stop being so creepy.  It's  OK to go to class the morning after a home game with flakes of newspaper falling out of your hair. Everyone understands that being a Jayhawk basketball fan is a handful. During the season, grades are compromised and relationships are questioned. Why are they questioned you might ask? Well, the love that you will soon develop, if you have not already, for the KU basketball players, is the love that does not dissipate like the leaves at the end of fall, but the kind of love that Jamie and Landon have—it is everlasting and can definitely endure an awkward butterfly tattoo.

         Allen Fieldhouse, the place where dreams come true—I got to high-five Bill Self and it was AWESOME—is finally open to our beer-handling, class-juggling, greedy little selves. I remember my first experience on this holy ground (Taylor Swift—guilty pleasure) and am sure that I will never forget it. I was chosen out of 16,000 some-odd people to participate in the half-time show. I wish there was a cool ending to this opportunity, but sadly there is not. I granny-shot the basketball from the mid-court line and sure enough, the basketball went straight-up in the air, and straight-back-down. I seriously thought I was going to get hazed by all of the students that were attending that night’s game, but instead, my fellow KU classmates graciously giggled at me while I was escorted off the court. While I was standing in the middle of the court in the legendary Allen Fieldhouse, all I could imagine was all of the amazing players that stood right where my feet were planted. I had just stepped where Chamberlain, Chalmers, Pierce, White, Lovellette, and Gooden had all previously stepped. I had taken the shot that Phog Allen, James Naismith, Larry Brown, and Bill Self would have been embarrassed of…and I loved that I knew what each person would have thought.

            Being knowledgeable in the sport that I love has made me a more dynamic person. When there is a lull in any conversation, I throw out a basketball fact and BOOM we are back in action. Lots of class time spent reading ESPN and researching how my fellow Jayhawks are doing (to the exclusion of Xavier Henry—I cannot, will not, shall not ever consider him a Jayhawk) has helped me appreciate the game that Kansas invented. With that being said there are a few things that I wish I knew about Allen Fieldhouse when I was a fresh-faced student and the most important are listed below:

  • Definitely make a camping group with a legit group of people—everyone has heard that there is not a bad seat in Allen Fieldhouse, but let me tell you, there is.
  • Do not forget to bring the sports section to the game and to shove the rest of the newspaper in your pants. Yes, it is a weird tip, but the more paper you throw, bigger of a fan you are: science.
  • Wear closed toed shoes (sneakers, boots, etc.).
  • Never feel like you cannot stalk down Big or Little Jay to get the perfect photo to add to your “insert year here” scrapbook.
  • When the opposing team is shooting free throws, absolutely be the person who jumps up (during the irritating foot-stomping) and act like a crazy person—it only lasts 3 seconds, but man, is it exhilarating.
  • Eat the nachos, they are amazing.
  • Sing along with the student band’s jams; screaming “TEQUILA” is basically considered one of my hobbies by now.
  • Stay for the pop-up videos.
  • Do not take the chance of leaving the game early; you never know what is going to happen (WHAT UP LAST MIZZOU GAME and breaking the sound barrier).
  • Bottom line—NEVER BE TOO COOL.