For decades, college sporting events have been filled with legendary feats of athleticism, determination, success, failure and emotion. Many of these feats were influenced by the rivalries that formed between this country’s universities.
Sportsmanship comes into the spotlight frequently during competitions with a rival school or team. During my lifetime, I have personally been to many games between rivals: the Kansas City Royals versus the St. Louis Cardinals, the University of Arkansas versus Louisiana State University and the one we all know, Kansas State versus the University of Kansas, the “Sunflower Showdown.”
Unfortunately, only one of these listed teams is known for shouting obscenities at its rival on a regular basis, even when they aren’t playing said rival. Yeah, that’s right. That’s us. The K-State versus KU rivalry.
I lived in Fayetteville, Arkansas, for 15 years, where I spent most of my childhood. It’s where my father, Tim de Noble, dean of architecture, planning and design at K-State, spent the majority of his time as a practicing architect and college professor.
During those 15 years, I witnessed the fierce rivalry between Arkansas and LSU, both in person and on television. But not once did I ever experience the Arkansas student body shouting “F*** LSU.”
Sure, they talked trash before the games. I remember a story my father told me of when he went to a football game at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, Arkansas, a “neutral location” between the two schools. An LSU fan called him “tiger bait.”
But that was, and still is, a rivalry of respect, pre-game trash talk aside. During and after every game, the players and fans of both institutions treat each other with a level of respect that I have never experienced in any other college sporting event.
I saw LSU fans cheering for Arkansas at their bowl games against K-State, the University of Oregon, the University of Wisconsin and Ohio State, solely because each team had a level of human decency and respect for each other. I remember having LSU fans invite my parents and I into their tailgates after games for bratwursts, hot dogs and, for my parents, beer.
For some reason, I don’t see that at K-State. It’s perplexing because we are a university that holds the virtues of family, class and respect as pillars of our institution.
I’ve lived in Manhattan since moving here in the late summer of 2009, shortly after my father started his deanship. I went to many K-State home football games and home basketball games back then, and not one time do I remember the student section chanting at KU during these games.
But now at every K-State sporting event, I watch in disdain as my fellow students chant obscenities like “F*** KU” to the beat of some of our most revered songs, and in the process we disrespect these songs that we value so much. When did we start saying these things?
I witnessed this disrespect at the first game of the season against the University of Central Arkansas. My middle brother, Henry de Noble, is a student there and the starting pitcher for the UCA Bears. I stood in the K-State student section embarrassed as my classmates shouted at a team that wasn’t affiliated with KU or K-State at all.
I witnessed us booing the visiting UCA football team, whose players probably have never heard of either institution. Don’t our visiting teams deserve more than that?
Furthermore, do we really think Bill Snyder, one of the most successful football coaches and greatest role models for class and sportsmanship, approves of having the “F*** KU” chant spoken at his stadium? And yes, it is his.
Let’s show Snyder some respect. After all, he’s been here longer than any of us. Chanting obscenities at our in-state rivals during every unrelated game makes us look like immature children who don’t know better, something I like to think we are not.
I, for one, really don’t want to continue to experience the presidents of this institution continually apologizing for our actions and words. President Richard Myers served this country for decades, defending our right to say stupid things like this. Do we think he really wants to have to apologize for the student body? Fortunately, he hasn’t had to … yet.
William de Noble is a sophomore in open option. The views and opinions expressed in this letter are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.