F.O.E.: Kansas basketball is all about family

Posted on Mar 31, 2014 in News

It’s tough being a Jayhawk in North Carolina. We are typically overshadowed by a couple local teams. To cope, we have banded together as the “Charlotte Jayhawks.” We are made up of Kansas alumni, parents who paid for for us to become Kansas alumni and even a couple people who grew up in Lawrence or are simply Kansas fans. As often as we can, we huddle together to watch a game, remind the locals where Dean Smith went to college and drink Boulevard Beer.

In the last couple years, with the expansion of the Big 12 to include West Virginia, things have become a little easier for us in Charlotte. At least once a year, we have the ability to see our Jayhawks play a game a mere 6 hours away. It’s become an annual pilgrimage for us. Sure, we could catch the game on TV, but there’s nothing quite like seeing the team in person.

On our trip to Morgantown this year, we were greeted by an impressive turnout of fellow Jayhawks. Despite our large numbers, I was still shocked by how many “Welcome to West Virginia” greetings we received from Mountaineers. Although we didn’t get to give them the Rock Chalk chant, as we left the stadium a couple West Virginia fans went out of their way to tell us, “You guys have a great team” before wishing us a safe trip home.

Do you remember a few years ago, when Thomas Robinson suddenly lost his mother? Soon afterwards his teammates (and even one of their mothers) quickly banded together to become a surrogate family for him and his sister. Out of this tragedy some players started using an acronym: F.O.E. – “Family Over Everything.” You can see the enduring power of this phrase today as the Morris twins still tweet it, to motivate themselves.

Our trip to West Virginia was infused by the power of F.O.E. You see it in the throngs of Jayhawks showing up in Morgantown. It shows up in a group of Kansas fans finding each other despite living in a state distracted by other basketball programs. You could even see the power of F.O.E. in the welcoming faces of fellow Big 12 fans in West Virginia.

Because Kansas basketball is all about family.

—David Zimmerman, c’95, is a former columnist for the University Daily Kansan and member of the Charlotte Chapter of the KU Alumni Association. He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Charlotte Jayhawks travel to Morgantown | photo courtesy of David Zimmerman

Charlotte Jayhawks travel to Morgantown | photo courtesy of David Zimmerman

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