Some of you may have seen the YouTube series “College Life Presents” in which vlogger Jesse Weiland visits universities across the nation to capture the unique qualities of each respective university. Upon finding out that my alma mater, Kansas State University (KSU), was added to his collection, I was more than thrilled.
This video had captured K-State just as I remembered it. My favorite part comes in when Weiland highlights the heart of our K-State “Family,” Bill Snyder Family Stadium (BFSF). One student describes our football program as “where it all started” and others reference the electric atmosphere of the town and BSFS during football season. In watching this, I found myself reflecting on my first experience at the stadium.
In 2008, my junior year of high school, I had a friend invite me on my first real road trip to Manhattan, Kansas, for the KSU v. Nebraska game. Before this, I had only been there for a campus visit with my parents, still unsure whether this would be the place to spend my undergrad career. Gameday morning, we woke up early and prepared ourselves, decked out in purple with hand warmers at the ready. I remember showing up almost two hours before kickoff, finding our seats near the visitor section on the far south end of the field, all the way at the top. As more people filled the stadium, I felt as though the excitement became palpable. Despite the freezing cold, the energy and warmth of the fanbase amazed me. I had never been to a sporting event where I felt such a strong sense of belonging. The funniest part about all of this is that the ‘Cats were losing the game that day, but to me that didn’t matter. The stadium and “Family” had won me over.
Throughout my five years in Manhattan, I returned to that stadium every fall, ready for my “Family” reunion. I will never forget the memories made in that place, and I will go back each season, with as much excitement as my first.