It should come to no surprise that here at the University of Kansas we cherish our basketball season more than most schools. There is a burning passion for the sport that can be seen anywhere in The United States. Camping out inside Allen Fieldhouse for a week, chanting ‘Rock Chalk’, and decked out head to toe in red and blue, are common features you can find on any game day week. This didn’t just start with our first nation champion title; we have had this passion from the very beginning.
It all began with two men James Naismith and Forest “Phog” Allen. Naismith was hired onto our faculty in 1898 to teach as well as coach basketball. This was just six years after he had written the original rules for the sport. Naismith had coached Allen in his previous years before reconnecting in Kansas. Allen succeeded Naismith in coaching KU’s basketball team and steered them to many wins. You can find him today standing 8 feet 8 inches tall outside Allen Fieldhouse.
Attending a game in Allen Fieldhouse is an experience like none other, literally. Sportswriter, Mark Whicker, was quoted saying that Allen Fieldhouse “Was the best place in America to watch college basketball.” It also beat a record and was named the loudest college basketball arena in the country. If that already doesn’t convince you to come to a game, just wait until you hear about the chilling traditions.
Each game is started with singing The Star-Spangled Banner and followed by the alma mater. During the alma mater it is common for each person to connect by putting their arms around each other and swaying. Directly after the alma mater is finished, the Rock Chalk Chant begins. This is where you get the chills; the rock chalk chant fills the entire arena with a hum that will be stuck with you forever.
When the opposing team is being announced the student section takes out a spread from the weekly KU newspaper and put it over their faces to show disinterest in the team. Usually, there is some witty picture or saying that will come to life when they are all opened. Once the team is finished being announced, the KU basketball history/legend will be played on the screen. Now it’s time to introduce the KU Jayhawk Team. The student section rips up their newspaper and throws it in the air, like confetti, for celebration.
Another well-known tradition is ‘waving the wheat.’ This can be done if the opposing team has a player foul out to symbolize a sarcastic waving good-bye as he exists. Alternatively, waving the wheat can be done to the tune of “A Hot Time in the Old Town” following a Jayhawk victory.
KU has an enormous love for the sport of basketball. It runs in the blood of our students, faculty, and alumni. When I first attended a home basketball game, I knew I had made the right choice in choosing KU as my college. In the years to follow we will continue to have exceptional spirit and love for the school we all adore. ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK, GO KU!
By: Anna West