We started at JB’s Stout, where it breathed as a multi-cellular existence and the patrons roared with a single voice when a rubber ball was passed through a hoop. Alcohol fueled anxieties and joys brought out the screaming lunatic in otherwise settled individuals as I pondered nationalism in its many faces. I sipped coffee that confused nostrils with expectations of beer reek.
The night found us across L-town deep in the heart of matters. It was pandemonium clothed in a sea of blue. Hands outstretched slap slap slapping all night long. The streets clogged with a procession of entourages that moved at an inchworm’s pace, of truck beds choked with drunken revelers, of overflowing cars breasting a tide of humanity. A kaleidoscope of triumph, of humanity’s many varieties re-enacting a macrocosm of comedies and tragedies. My retinas drank it all in: the angry upraised fist, a failed punch, scared scatterings; the wet-lipped wild abandon of lust on a bench play of dry congress unmindful of sopping drinks in hand; jittery children wired with the enthusiasm of their parents; a girl weeping into her cell phone while cries of joy and delight echoed above her head; the bemused expressions of helpless police officers who could do nothing but stand and watch, for the press of people is too much to moderate; the crunch of beer cans and water bottles underfoot; countless high fives that I imagine the owners of these hands waking up in the morning to find them swollen.
I wish I could do the scene justice with my words. Kansas fans are hardcore. Too hardcore for my tastes, really. Better sports than wars I say, but doesn’t seem to be working too well these days.