Saturday, November 15, 2008

Once A Jayhawk, ALWAYS A Jayhawk


Monday, October 10, 2005by: Miranda Lenning

Terry Dahl bled Wildcat purple. He was born into a family filled with Kansas State fans and graduates. When it came time to choose a college, he had no choice but to attend his parents' alma mater. After college, he held season tickets to K-State football games for 14 years.Dahl, a Kansas State alum who was a season ticket holder to KSU football for 14 years, converted to love of the crimson and blue. His wife, Beth, graduated from Kansas, and her parents are Kansas basketball season ticket holders.At Saturday's Kansas vs. Kansas State football game in Manhattan, however, Terry sat eight rows up in one of the three sections allotted for Kansas fans. Wearing a white Kansas shirt that said, "Jayhawks are born, not made. Finally I discovered myself. KU #1," a Jayhawk sticker, a Kansas hat and jacket, Terry cheered on the Jayhawks.

It used to be that the only time Terry could be found wearing Jayhawk attire was when he lost a bet over a Kansas vs. Kansas State athletic event to his wife, Beth, a Kansas alumna and avid Kansas fan.For years they put small wagers on the rivalry games between their teams. Once Terry had to take a picture hugging Big Jay for losing a bet.Beth doesn't have to win a bet anymore to get her husband to cheer for the Jayhawks. About a year ago, Terry converted."I think I had always admired Kansas a little bit even though I was a huge Wildcat fan," Terry said. "But after I married my wife, and I started reading up on Kansas, I really started to like them."Terry said his conversion was gradual, but it was during last year's Kansas football game against Texas that Terry realized his passion for Kansas."I wasn't at the game, but I was very emotionally into that game watching it on TV," Terry said. "I really fell in love with KU emotionally that day, because of the heart and desire they left on the field that day even though they lost. They lost on a bad call at the end. Usually I root inwardly when rooting for teams. That particular day was different."

There was a steady progression of Terry's enthusiasm toward Kansas. Terry said one of the reasons was simple: the success of Kansas basketball. Beth's parents, who are Kansas season ticket holders, have taken Terry and Beth to Kansas basketball games for years. Terry said the atmosphere at the games made him realize how great Kansas fans were."I was always really impressed with the atmosphere in Allen Fieldhouse," Terry said. "And it's hard not to be a KU basketball fan. I'm not saying I'm a fair-weather fan, but with KU's dominance in basketball, my enjoyment of that was part of the conversion."

Another reason for Terry's attraction to Kansas was the University's high academic ratings."He gets this magazine that ranks colleges and KU is always ranked really high among the other universities," Beth said.Terry said if he and Beth ever had children he would want them to attend college at Kansas."Since I think KU is better, I would want my kids to be Jayhawks," Terry said.It's not like he doesn't like K-State anymore. He just likes Kansas more.

When the two teams play, he will be rooting for the Jayhawks from now on, Terry said.Terry started off the New Year with his big announcement. On Jan. 28, 2005, Terry sent out an e-mail to all of his close friends and family declaring that he was a Kansas fan.For some people, an e-mail might not be necessary, but for the Dahls - a family divided - it was essential."I was really nervous about telling people," Terry said. "I had rooted for K-State all my life, and to suddenly announce that I was going to be a Jayhawk was something I was really nervous about."Terry has gotten a great deal of flack from his family, the Wildcat supporters, while Beth's family joke that he finally came to his senses.

As for Beth's involvement in his conversion, Terry said she had a large influence. He said his perception of Kansas would have been different if it weren't for her."I guess I was brainwashed, growing up to think that Kansas fans were snobby and rude," Terry said. "They are very nice and welcoming. They have adopted me into the KU family, which has meant a lot to me."Beth, however, said she didn't think that she was influential in his decision."When we got married, he was still a Wildcat fan," Beth said. "He didn't hate KU, but he rooted for K-State. I don't think I did anything to do with him becoming a Kansas fan."Perhaps more than anyone else, Beth was surprised about Terry's switch from purple to crimson and blue."I was so shocked," Beth said. "He told me to go check my e-mail, that there was something he wanted me to read. When I saw the e-mail, I was so surprised."

Saturday was a big moment in Terry's conversion. It was the first time he attended a Kansas vs. K-State game in Manhattan as a Jayhawks fan."To be honest, I am really uncomfortable," Terry said. "I didn't get much sleep [the night before]. Going into my alma mater and wearing KU clothes and rooting for KU, I don't know if I can do this again next year."Sitting in his aisle seat in the Jayhawks section, separated from K-State fans by only some concrete stairs, Terry did not look a bit out of place. If you didn't know him, you would probably think he was just one of the of Kansas faithful who made the trip down I-70 to cheer for the Jayhawks.

A while back, a friend of the Dahls gave them a wooden Jayhawk and a wooden Wildcat, the kind that people put in their living rooms or front yards so that visitors know where their college sports loyalties lie.The Wildcat no longer adorns the Dahls living room."I put it downstairs in the basement with the rest of my K-State stuff," Terry said.- Edited by Katie Lohrenz