Rodney Stephenson is one of the reasons Kansas University won against Texas A&M University on Friday evening.
At least he thinks so.
Stephenson, St. Joseph, Mo., was front and center in Kansas City’s Power & Light District for the Jayhawks’ semifinal game against the Aggies in the Big 12 Tournament. Wearing all green KU gear complete with shamrocks on his hat and shirt, Stephenson knew Kansas was going to win. He brought the luck.
“I wasn’t going to leave anything to chance,” Stephenson said after KU sealed a 79-55 victory and advanced to today’s championship game.
Stephenson said he’s been a Jayhawk fan since birth and does whatever he can to will the team he loves to victory.
He’s not alone.
Jayhawk basketball fans do a little bit of everything when they think it’s helping the team.
Overland Park resident and KU alum Steve McGhee said his friends changed viewing locations during halftime if Kansas was behind. He was a little more skeptical and said he didn’t always follow their lead.
“I don’t think it ever really worked,” McGhee said.
Jayhawk fan Carrie Buckley, Waldo, Mo., said her aunt engaged in stretches during KU games because she believed it helped the team score points; Catherine Lewis of Overland Park said her parents always popped popcorn in the middle of Jayhawk games.
Lifelong Kansas fan David Sheppard lends the team a helping hand in close games. Sheppard, of Gladstone, Mo., steps outside during the dying minutes of games when the Jayhawks are behind and lights a cigarette. Then he prays.
Kansas fans will have another chance to partake in their various superstitious rituals today when the Jayhawks vie for the Big 12 Tournament championship.
Stephenson said he’ll be there, and he’s bringing his luck.