On Nov. 13, when the Kansas State men’s basketball team destroyed Alabama-Huntsville by 61 points, the largest margin in Bramlage Coliseum history, Chargers coach Lennie Acuff said something profound.
“It just shows you that everything you do isn’t based on basketball,” he said, “because it goes from one extreme to the other real quick.”
The night before that 87-26 defeat by the Wildcats, Alabama-Huntsville gutted out a 78-75 nail-biter against North Texas that came down to free throws.
The parallel between what happened to the Chargers between Nov. 12 and Nov. 13 and what happened to the Kansas State football team just a few days later is an easy one to draw.
Last Friday, the Wildcats only need to win out, and they have a clear path to the national championship, which would be the first time ever a Kansas State team would play for the BCS title.
By Saturday night, those hopes were all but dashed after the Wildcats were defeated handily by Baylor, a team that entered the game with a losing record and whose only conference victory came against KU.
So much emphasis is placed on sports these days, and central to that is an emphasis on winning. There is nothing wrong with that. Still, it is important to remember that a W-L record is not what truly defines an individual. Not even close.
Deep down, most people understand that, and it is a testament to coach Bill Snyder and the Kansas State football program that when asked about Thanksgiving on Tuesday afternoon, many players seemed to have a very firm grasp of that reality.
Needless to say, no one mentioned the W-L record.
“These guys are my brothers,” said center B.J. Finney, “and the family that we have here is incredible. I am just thankful again to God that we have been blessed with such good health and few injuries. We have kept a really good head on our shoulders, and I am just thankful for that.”
“It has been an incredible experience,” said kicker Anthony Cantele. “The most important thing to me is the friendships that I have made with these guys along the way. We always talk about family, and this is definitely a family atmosphere. That is never exaggerated. I am incredibly thankful. I could not be more blessed to be in the situation that I am and have these kinds of teammates.”
“It has been a great journey,” said linebacker Arthur Brown. “Just the process of growing together with the team has definitely been something that I will take with me and remember for the rest of my life. It has helped mold me as a person, and I think I will continue to grow and develop from here.”
“It is a special group,” said quarterback Collin Klein. “It is a group that has been through a lot through our time here. We have come a long way, and it is a group that we truly care about each other in a pretty special way as brothers would or family members would. We are still having fun, and that is important.”