‘My heart dropped’: It was hard adapting to months without sports, students say

Carson Herbel, a senior from Hillsboro, Kansas, celebrates on the field after K-State upset Oklahoma at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on October 26, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Cooper Kinley)

When the men’s basketball team beat TCU on March 11, no one thought it would be one of the last college basketball games of the season. Senior in marketing Carson Herbel and senior in civil engineering Kaden Lewis certainly didn’t expect it.

It was earlier the same night when the NBA announced their season was suspended indefinitely. The NHL, MLB, and March Madness joined shortly after.

Sports are a huge part of life for Herbel and Lewis. That is why Herbel, from Hillsboro, Kansas, remembers every last detail of the moment he found out sports were shutting down.

“I was eating a super burrito at a Mexican restaurant in Santa Cruz, California,” Herbel said. “I got the news, and my heart dropped.”

Senior in civil engineering Kaden Lewis smiles next to Willie the Wildcat at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. (Photo submitted by Kaden Lewis)
Senior in civil engineering Kaden Lewis smiles next to Willie the Wildcat at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. (Photo curtesy of Kaden Lewis)

Some thought sports would be back within the next month, but little did people know that the United States was going to be without sports for a much longer period of time.

“It felt like something was kind of being ripped away from me at times,” Lewis said. “I had to find other things to fill that.”

Herbel and Lewis are roommates and said having sports in their lives is part of their everyday routine. It helps them build relationships and community.

“It sets a cool platform up,” Herbel said. “Just for friendships and relationships [to be] built. Sports are a good thing that clicks between people.”

Lewis, from Valley Center, Kansas, also pointed out that his time at K-State simply would not have been the same without sports.

“The more and more I got to spend time watching [K-State] sports, the more and more I just felt connected with the university,” Lewis said. “It definitely made my college experience grow a ton.”

If Lewis is unable to attend K-State football games this fall, he said it will change his senior year. He has been in attendance for all but one K-State home football game since he arrived on campus in 2017.

In fact, Lewis said he even attended most K-State home football games while he was a senior in high school, since his family had season tickets. He’s also traveled to watch the Wildcats on the road on multiple occasions. He said he’s glad the Big 12 Conference hasn’t given up on having a football season.

When Herbel and Lewis aren’t watching K-State sports, they’re often rooting on their NBA and MLB teams.

The two enjoy playing sports just as much as watching them — they say that watching from home is still fun, but nothing can compare to the in-person atmosphere.

Both roommates are hoping to be in Bill Snyder Family Stadium watching Wildcat football this fall.

“As a senior, K-State football is something that just gets me fired up,” Lewis said. “If I got to walk into the stadium one more time as a student and go crazy for three hours … that would be awesome.”

Lewis also said that if K-State has sports, he’ll be camped out the night before every single home game.

The pair watch sports, go to games, play sports on video games, compete in fantasy leagues and constantly talk about it with friends.

“Sports were a key aspect of life since I was like three years old,” Lewis said. “I feel like I’ve learned a lot of life lessons in sports.”

For now, K-State football plans to open its season on Sept. 12 against Arkansas State, a day sports fanatics like Herbel and Lewis are counting down to.