Sitting nearly smack in the middle of the court and only ten rows up my eyes should have been glued to the players on the court warming up before what would be a blowout of a game. Yet I found my eyes darting back and forth between the court, the two perfectly lighted student sections and the crowd still pouring into their 15 inches of bleacher we’d all call home for the next three hours. I counted: one…..two, three…….four…..four……five, six……..seven…..eight…..nine. Perhaps a couple others—the students rarely sat, or stood, still for more than a couple of seconds at a time. I remember, and miss, those days. Looking back to the court: one…..two, three…..four, I think. Now back to the non-student sections of the crowd. Similar.
In my own naive, uninformed way I felt a rush of familiarity with the recent protests, movements or actions (you pick’em) taking place on several college campus’ across the country. Within an entire student section in a sold-out game I counted perhaps ten non-white students. Spanning the 16,000+ Allen Field House capacity crowd were maybe a couple dozen non-white fans, staff, volunteers. On the court perhaps 75% of the home-team players were black.
During one of the breaks the announcer touted the limited chance to purchase a team autographed ball. Tickets, not to mention parking, that run well into the three digits. The < 2% of student population, but >75% player population, capitalized on to help fund the program. From that view it’d appear equitable—fair even. 75% to help fund the other 25%. Yet that’s not exactly how it works.
I’m not read in enough to know many details of the plights and pleas of the (largely minority) student groups around the country apparently attempting to make gains. Perhaps they are justified, perhaps not. What I now have, that I didn’t truly understand before, is a first-hand view of how campus life appears to many minorities. Cool heads, thoughtful discourse and the art of utilizing whatever power the groups might have will pay off in the longer run. Oh, and Go Jayhawks!