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Rock Chalk Nation fantasy

Posted on: April 8, 2008 9:23 am
 

Mark and Mike Komosa were stuck in traffic somewhere near Fort Worth on Tuesday morning.

The Flying Komosa brothers are a lot like their dad. They're never down. They could chat up an orange highway cone, so you can understand that the two KU students from Kansas City didn't really need a car 8 1/2 hours after their Jayhawks won the national championship.

They were indeed flying.

In reality, they were driving back from a trip that they will tell their grandchildren about 50 years from now. Twelve hours there from Lawrence to San Antonio on Friday. Twelve hours back after the national championship game, hoping to get back in time for a 3 p.m. players' celebration back in Lawrence. Classes were cancelled which is a good thing because Mike had a speech due.

For one weekend they lived the ultimate Jayhawk fan's fantasy. They won Final Four tickets in the student lottery and decided on the spot -- Animal-House style -- that a roadie was in order. How often do you get to see your school in, and win, a Final Four?

They crashed at the house of a friend of their dad's. They had a free-throw shooting contest with the young son of their weekend landlord who whacked them with a stick to ruin their concentration. Hey, maybe it carried over to Memphis' free-throw shooting.

Mostly, they smiled. All weekend.

It's no surprise that Mark and Mike were partying on the Riverwalk on Monday night when a friend got a call. Come on over to the Hilton, the caller said, you're invited to the players' VIP party. Understand that Mark is a friend of Kansas forward Sasha Kaun. The perfect night just got better.

They got their picture taken with the national championship trophy. A limited English vocabulary didn't get in the way of Olga Kaun, Sasha's Kaun.

"Guys," she said in her Russian accent, "We champions."

"She was so happy," Mark said. "She couldn't stop hugging Sasha."

The Brothers Komosa glanced over in one corner and saw Bill Self chatting with Larry Brown, two generations of Kansas national champion coaches. Into the conversation came R.C. Buford, Self's best friend, former KU assistant and GM of the San Antonio Spurs.

"It was really cool seeing the players around the people they love," Mark said.

It was like being backstage at the Oscars, except that that award ceremony is held every year. This one comes once in a generation, maybe. It had been 20 years since Kansas raised the trophy. This victory might have been every more dramatic than 1988. Danny (Manning) and the Miracles became Mario (Chalmers) and the Miracles when that epic three fell to force the game to overtime.

Chalmers -- a kid from Alaska -- threw one in from somewhere over the rainbow. Memphis? On its way down a Yellow Bricked Road.

Even Roy Williams wearing a Jayhawk sticker and cheering for Kansas, couldn't steal the moment. (Doesn't this guy get it? At that moment two schools were hating him).

I'm surrounded by Jayhawks every day, living in the Kansas county (Johnson) where a large portion of alums end up settling. LIke the rest of us in the Golden Ghetto, they drive their SUVs and sip their Starbucks. Unlike the rest of us, they whisper this secret language to each other that begins with the words, "Rock Chalk ..." Sure, they're annoying at times. But so are Ohio State and Alabama fans. When your life surrounds chasing a championship, you need to get a life.

But this was their moment, one that felt good to us outsiders too because of people like the Komosas. It was the same feeling I had when my Cardinals won the World Series two years ago. Times like these sustain you. Children yet unborn will hear the story of Monday night. Then they will become fans too. Their Mario, their Miracles await somewhere in the future.

Until then, drive safe guys, and remember -- the cones don't talk back.

 

Category: NCAAB
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