Tuesday, February 05, 2013

immersed in [ku]lture

i'm not a huge sports guy but several years ago i was told a sports story i absolutely love.

the story was about a group of friends who get together every year and pick a random college football game to attend.  they decide on a game, head to the town, purchase several items of the home teams apparel, eat and drink at the bars that have become institutions, follow all the tailgating traditions, then head into the stadium to watch the game.  it doesn't matter what team it is, it's all about immersing yourself into the local culture.  i love this story for a several reasons.  first of all, they're traveling, and not just to typical tourist destinations, but to college towns.  towns usually smaller but more dynamic than their larger in-state counterparts.  small communities that come alive during a home game, making it the perfect time to visit.  next, i love the fact these guys mix it up.  loyalty to a team is important, but loyalty comes at the price of experiencing the same thing year after year.  these guys, however, experience something new every single season.  these guys have decided to care more about the culture of the game than the scoreboard.  they throw themselves fulling into the experience; the traditions, the food, the drinks, the music, the feel, and the spirit. hopefully, they're lucky enough to have the home team win, and provide the perfect ending to their adventure.

the other great aspect of this story is the fact it transcends sports. this is the way everyone should travel.  whether it be portland, vegas, brooklyn, or rome, you should totally immerse yourself into the culture.  try local foods you never thought you'd eat, sip on exotic drinks, visit famous landmarks, local dives and make friends with as many people as you can.  for just a brief moment, live fully in a different world.

now, i mentioned the above story to justify my actions the other week.  i, a k-state fan, went to a ku basketball game....and actually had a good time.

i know...i know... i should be shunned.

i do feel like a bit of a trader and i know several ksu fans who probably feel i need to turn in my wildcat card immediately. however, before you ban me from ever visiting manhattan again or walking the hallowed grounds of kansas state university, please understand i did it for the experience.  kansas is a great place and we're lucky to have a great football and basketball team with our states name on the jerseys. i went as a tourist and lived briefly as a ku fan.  i supported the team in their home town and got caught up in the whole crazy experience of it all.  i may have even joined in during the "rock chalk" chant.  in the end, i really did have a good time.  i experienced the foreign land of lawrence as a local.

take that for what it is...

and if you happen to know who i need to talk to about getting my wildcat card back, please let me know.

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