Duo’s dueling loyalties: She loves Jayhawks and he treasures Terps

Posted on Mar 23, 2016 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

KU-Maryland shoes | A House Divided | www.kualumni.org (photo courtesy of Shawna Seed)

“I hate that it’s Kansas.” – Maryland coach Mark Turgeon, after his team advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.

Amen to that.

At our house, we cheer passionately for two college basketball teams: the Jayhawks of Kansas (my alma mater) and the Terrapins of Maryland (my husband’s).

Most of the time, this is fine, especially in the era of the DVR. Sometimes at home we do wardrobe changes—including shoes— between games. (More on that later.) We’ve found ourselves at Allen Fieldhouse or Xfinity Center in College Park watching a game on a cellphone at halftime. But nothing too crazy.

We did once watch Maryland play in the old Wooden Classic in Anaheim and then drive to San Diego to watch Kansas play that evening. And in 2001, we flew back and forth between Anaheim and San Antonio, watching three NCAA tournament games in two cities in three days. It would have been four games in four days, but alas, Kansas lost to Illinois in the Sweet Sixteen.

Did I mention we’re passionate about college basketball?

Our schools aren’t in the same league, so it’s mostly a good thing, not competitive. We’ve learned new cheers and traditions. I never knew before that Maryland also calls itself the Free State, because it abolished slavery in 1864. Kansas, of course, was admitted to the Union as a free state in 1861. Three years earlier. Now, what was I saying? Oh, embracing new traditions and cheers. Rick mastered the I’m A Jayhawk clap in record time. Even the double-time part.

Rarely do our interests conflict. The Jayhawks and Terps have played only one regular season game in the time we’ve been married. (Maryland won.) Some years, they’ve been on a collision course in the NCAA tournament, but the bracket was busted before they met. The exception was 2002, when Maryland beat Kansas in the national semifinal game in Atlanta. We were at that game, but did not sit together. The marriage survived.

Then the brackets came out this year and the selection committee placed Kansas and Maryland in the South region. When both advanced to the Sweet Sixteen, we started getting messages of concern from friends. What would we do?

Well, we’d go to Louisville, of course. We’ve been focused this week on travel plans and ticket acquisition. No trash talk.

Everything is arranged. Now all I have to do is pack.

When we were in Lawrence for the Kentucky game, I bought a pair of Jayhawk sneakers. I have worn them for every game since. As you may know, the Jayhawks have played well during that time. Undefeeted, as Rick puts it.

During that streak, he decided I needed a pair of Terp sneakers. Even Rick acknowledges, though, that the Crimson and Blue shoes are cuter than the Red and White and Black and Gold pair. (Yes, Maryland has four colors, and yes, I can explain why, but it’s a long story and not that interesting.)

The Terp sneakers haven’t been nearly as lucky as the Jayhawk pair, which I will wear Thursday in Louisville.

I will tuck the Maryland pair in my suitcase for the Elite Eight in case I need them. I hope I won’t.

Marriage is all about give and take, and I think it’s the Jayhawks’ turn.

—Shawna Seed, j’85, lives in Dallas and is the author of two novels. Find her on Twitter @shawnaseed.

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