Congratulations to Kansas State University basketball players and coaches. The almost-unbelievable 25-game winning streak Kansas University teams enjoyed at Kansas State came to an end Wednesday evening. There is every reason and justification for K-Staters to be thrilled.
From the sideline, it appeared the Wildcats wanted the game more. They were more motivated and they took the game to the Jayhawks, who were thought to be more seasoned and battle-tested. Maybe that's what too many of the KU players - and maybe even the coaches - thought, and consequently, the streak is over.
The two teams will meet again in Allen Fieldhouse on March 1, and it will be interesting to see how Wednesday's loss will affect KU players and coaches, as well as the team from Manhattan.
No matter how the teams perform, it is not the end of the world. Based on the manner and actions of some fans, before and after the game, a visitor from outer space might have thought the basketball game must be an event of national or international importance with grave and significant consequences.
Again, it is just a game.
When will the sports bubble break? Or will it?
The collegiate basketball season is in full swing at this time, with the NCAA Tournament getting under way in about six weeks. The National Football League's Super Bowl will be played Sunday, and more money is likely to be wagered on the Super Bowl than on any other single event in the country. Advertisers will pay millions of dollars for 30-second television commercials during the game.
The same week that so much concern and worry was being focused on the KU-KSU basketball game, a few other things were occurring that would seem to merit a reasonable level of public interest and concern.
President Bush, whether you like him or not, delivered his State of the Union address and his assessment of where the United States stands today, the nation's challenges and the danger and presence of those who want to destroy America's image and strength in international affairs, as well as inflict mortal damage on its citizens.
It seems reasonable that a fairly large percentage of Americans would have an interest in the president's outlook and how it might affect them - at least as many as are so uptight about whether the Patriots or Giants win this Sunday's football game. Consider the amount of space and time America's news media gave to the State of the Union address and what they have given to the Super Bowl over the past several weeks. There is no comparison.
Kansans should have had an added interest in Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' response to Bush, hoping she would do well, represent the state well and have others around the country saying, "I wish we had a governor who is so articulate and reflects so well on our state."
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards dropped out of the race for the world's most powerful elective position, the presidency of the United States, the world's only true superpower. How much attention, concern and interest should this merit?
The possibility of a giant coal-fired power plant near Holcomb and the possibility of higher taxes for Lawrence residents to increase teacher salaries and fund mental health services in the schools are a couple of matters that popped up this week and could affect most Lawrence-area residents. And yet, how much interest is there in these matters compared to the KU-KSU basketball game or whether the Patriots' quarterback has a sprained ankle that might prevent him from performing up to his potential in the Super Bowl game.
What are today's priorities?
Maybe it is unrealistic to think anything can be done to bring about some kind of balance on what's really important. It's all based on individual likes and dislikes.
Maybe those who get so excited at a basketball game really do care just as much about our national leadership, the huge gap in compensation between teachers and sports figures and other such matters, but sports gives them a way to forget such troubles or challenges.
Perhaps many so-called "average" citizens have a feeling of helplessness, believing their ideas or thoughts don't make any difference. Whatever the reason, it is not good for the country.
Loyal Jayhawk and Wildcat fans will wait outside for more than a day in bitter cold to get a seat for a KU or KSU basketball game. Their arenas are filled to capacity.
What other activity generates such interest, emotion and attention? The most important people in the country today are sports heroes and those in the entertainment business - at least based on salaries and attendance numbers.
Bringing enjoyment to individuals and giving them a diversion from their everyday routines is fine and probably healthy, but can it get out of hand? Or is it already out of hand?
Who's supposed to take an interest in the truly important matters facing our citizens?