Old soliders never die, they just fade away. That's how Gen. Douglas MacArthur so eloquently put it anyway.
MacArthur could have been talking about college quarterbacks, too. Most of 'em are here today and gone tomorrow. It's like living inside a fish bowl one day and underneath the fish bowl the next.
Kelly Donohoe wouldn't argue with the MacArthur analogy.
For two years, he was the starting quarterback on the Kansas football team. With the territory went constant media attention, on-campus celebrity status and instant recognition on the street. That was in 1988 and 1989.
Then it was over.
LAST YEAR he was still a member of the Kansas football team, but who knew it? He worked in almost total obscurity as a graduate assistant, the lowest job in coachdom.
"I went from being important to, uh. . .not being important," Donohoe told me. "It's a psychological thing."
Donohoe hung on the football fringe for two reasons. "I still missed the game," he explained. "And because I had graduated in four years, I had another scholarship year available."
Donohoe battled through it just as he had during some of the darkest days in Kansas football history and today he's on the verge of earning a masters degree in sports administration, a relatively new degree that has attracted some other former KU athletes, including basketball player Milt Newton.
In late August, a panel of Donohoe's academic advisers will assemble to grill him about his thesis. It's entitled: "Comparing the Justification for Aggression of Offensive and Defensive Football Players at the NCAA Div. I-A Level."
DONOHOE POLLED 80 Kansas football players 40 offensive; 40 defensive concerning 18 potentially provocative situations that might occur during a football game.
"Here's an example," Donohoe said. "Your opponent is playing well so you elbow him to try to get him out of the game. Were you justified to do that?"
If the panel feels Donohoe is justified in his premise and has executed his thesis competently, he'll have another sheepskin and perhaps a foot in more doors.
One door he's considering is one he has already partially opened the Sunflower State Games. Donohoe is just a low-paid assistant to interim director Sid Stevenson in the fledgling operation, but he envisions the Games as a potential giant someday.
"I think I'd be real interested in something like this," he affirmed. "I think the biggest problem right now is marketing it out in western Kansas. We also need to get more corporate sponsors."
STATE GAMES have blossomed all over the country. More than 16,000 Nebraskans participated in the Cornhusker State Games last weekend in Lincoln. And about 13,000 Missourians took part in the Show-Me State Games over the last two weekends in Columbia.
Both Lincoln and Columbia are Big Eight cities, lending credence to the notion the Sunflower State Games will eventually take off and thrive here as well.
Will Donohoe be a part of it?
"I'm going to wait and see," Donohoe said. "If not, I'll do the old resume thing."
Maybe not all old college quarterbacks just fade away. Maybe Donohoe is one who'll paddle his way back into the mainstream in a canoe bearing a Sunflower State Games logo.