Basketball in the Midwest: An Education

Well… I’ve been home almost two days now and I figured it was time to recap my experience in Kansas/Missouri.

As I’ve already mentioned, I was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to attend a professional football game while staying in Kansas City. This was a completely foreign event to me. As a proud Canadian, my passion has always been hockey, and the football craze just never really made sense to me. But, being the good student that I am, I learned the basics and was keen to understand what makes millions of people so fanatical.

However, what took me completely by surprise had nothing to do with the NFL… it was something I am very well acquainted with… university. You see, college sports, specifically basketball, are a religion in Kansas. The University of Kansas Jayhawks are the defending National Champions in college basketball and are so incredibly popular that they have huge stores devoted to selling memorabilia and clothing. Rivalries are fierce and family ties are often stretched to the limits. College basketball is actually more popular than the NBA. Needless to say, this is something that very few Canadians can relate to. I know that I would never pay $75 plus to watch a UFV hockey game… sorry team :(

Allen Fieldhouse (KU Basketball stadium)

In addition to my introduction to college sports… I also saw a few other glaring differences between my home in Beautiful British Columbia and life in the Airplane Manufacturing Capital of the World. The first being the number of restaurants and stores. There really isn’t a lot to do in Wichita during the colder months unless you want to eat out a lot… and trust me we did. Seriously America, this is why you are the most obese country in the world. Don’t get me wrong, I love to eat out, but I would weigh 900 lbs if I had the selection of restaurants that they have. But, with this immense selection also comes way more alternatives for people with allergies, such as dairy and gluten, and also stores devoted to organic produce. There are definitely some perks associated with the American lifestyle. Oh and did I forget to mention the sunshine… 8 days of sunshine was a welcome reprieve from the constant precipitation in dreary old Abbotsford.

To be fair… I did choose the worst month of the year to make by inaugural visit to Kansas. I have been assured that Wichita is actually quite beautiful in the spring/summer months when it isn’t so dry, and brown, and windy.

Wichita, Kansas

And I am certainly one to give credit where credit is due… and Kansas City (which is technically in Missouri) has a beautiful downtown. I fell in love with the Country Club Plaza district and would love to spend more time wandering around and visiting the beautiful museums.

Country Club Plaza, Kansas City

So in closing… I have extremely fond memories of my time in Kansas, which is thanks to all the wonderful people whom I stayed with. My friends and family made my stay so comfortable and filled with love and laughter… if home is where the heart is than I guess I left a big chunk of my heart in Kansas. There’s just no place like home :)

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2 thoughts on “Basketball in the Midwest: An Education

  1. It’s fascinating to hear a critique of American culture from an outsider’s perspective. This section caught my eye:

    “There really isn’t a lot to do in Wichita during the colder months unless you want to eat out a lot… and trust me we did.”

    In Canada what options are there for going out? Do you think there are more because Canadians are somehow culturally more accepting of cold weather?

    Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Thanks for the comments James. I think that there are generally less activities to do in the winter everywhere… but at least where I live, we have great skiing and cities like Vancouver have great concerts, shows, and museums year round. I also enjoy going to hockey games, skating, and even walking in our beautiful parks. But, I’m definitely biased. I think Vancouver is the best city there is!

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