There were so many points when Tuesday’s Kansas State-Kansas basketball game should have been over.
After K-State went down 21 points and Kansas’s Silvio De Sousa tried dribbling out the half-minute of clock left in the game.
After De Sousa slammed the ball out of K-State’s DaJuan Gordon’s hand as he tried making a layup following a questionable steal.
After De Sousa stood over Gordon and stared him down, sparking a brawl that cleared both teams’ benches and spilled over into the handicapped seating area.
For Pete’s sake, the entire ordeal should have been over when De Sousa picked up a stool and was about to swing it at a K-State player. Thankfully, a Kansas assistant coach stripped the stool from De Sousa (kudos to our staff photographer Nickolas Oatley, who also got a hand on the chair as De Sousa lifted it). The game couldn’t yet be over, though, because the refs made Gordon shoot a couple of free throws for the technical foul they assessed on De Sousa.
But this column isn’t about Tuesday’s brawl, at least not specifically, and while players on both teams are now suspended for their roles in the fight, this feud between the in-state rivals is far from over.
As a K-State alum and sports fan, one of my favorite and most memorable days was when K-State clinched its share of the Big 12 Conference Championship in March. The purple and white confetti rained down in Bramlage Coliseum as the band played K-State’s fight song, and when the team hoisted the trophy and after all the television cameras had stopped filming, K-State Athletics played the infamous techno song “Sandstorm” by Darude.
If you’re not familiar with why “Sandstorm” matters, it’s because K-State students chant “FKU” over the lyric-less song. Outside of the K-State community, people have condemned “the chant” as the worst tradition in college basketball, and inside the community, donors have threatened to stop sending their dollars to K-State.
It’s been more or less banned from K-State Athletics events, although that hasn’t stopped students from singing the chant to anything with a 4/4 time signature.
When the first staccato beats of the song played that day in March, the whole stadium immediately erupted. KU didn’t even have anything to do with that game, as they’d already been eliminated from contention for the championship, but “the chant” rang out the loudest it ever has. At least as far as I could tell, because I was chanting alongside thousands of other students.
There was something special about being part of something so loud, so unified and so strong. To be clear, this isn’t a defense of the chant, but it is an explanation of what helps drive it when it pops up every season. And at the end of the day, it is just a stupid, if vulgar, word. Isn’t it more stupid that K-State president Richard Myers, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has to take phone calls about a four-letter word?
From what I’ve seen on social media, K-State fans (even the ones who had denounced the chant as an ugly stain on our university) are calling for the chant when Kansas plays K-State here in Manhattan on Feb. 29. They want revenge, and they want K-State to have a stronger say in this season’s iteration of the in-state rivalry.
The K-State basketball team hasn’t been doing too hot, so I won’t hold my breath for revenge to be reflected in the scoreboard, but if all that comes of the revenge is “the chant,” then maybe that can help cool things down to make it a heated, but not burning, rivalry, and maybe this ordeal can finally be over.