In this chapter, the author recounts his journey from antagonism for University of Kansas (KU) basketball to appreciation and pride. Thanks to superb mentoring and his own maturation, the author realizes that some of the values he learned as an American studies graduate student—community building, teamwork, and the pursuit of excellence—explain the locals' commitment to and love for the Kansas Jayhawks. The author recalls the time he matriculated to KU, which is located in Lawrence, after living his first twenty-two years in New York, and how his initial misgivings about the school was replaced by eight years of fondness for the place he proudly called home. He then explains how he came to appreciate the significance of mentorship in his own life, at the same time that his attitude toward the KU basketball program softened and he became grateful for all its accomplishments. According to the author, his case illustrates how sport, community, and identity can be interconnected.
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