Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Night to Remember

Every year KU student-athletes have the opportunity to compete against each other in a variety show always consisting of very unique events called Jayrock. You can try and decipher out my political correctness for your own image of the night. This year was no different. I take that back, this year was very different. It was the biggest Jayrock in the history of Jayrocks. It was the sultan of swat, the titan of terror, the colossus of clout, the COLOSSUS OF CLOUT! It was a night to remember (of course all brought to you by SAAC and Mike Harrity).

As I paced backstage I contemplated just sneaking out the back door. I could have probably made up an adequate excuse enough; I mean who in their right mind would sing a Whitney Houston to an athletic director. Not to mention I tip the scales at a smidgeon under three bills and this athletic director just so happened to be Time Magazine’s Best Sport Executive in the World: Lew Perkins. I mean doubt me not, I can kill the song, no problem. But I had been fighting off a cold for quite some time and try as I might all the hot tea and throat lozenges in the world couldn’t help my rasp.

To make matters worse, while calming myself I was interrupted with a slew of questions about my lack of outfit. Apparently jeans and a KU t-shirt wouldn’t do. Ten minutes before my performance, microphone in hand, I was rushed out to the elevator to pick up my outfit. Not only was it transportation in the building, but it also became my dressing room. If the point hasn’t come across I was nervous and flustered, with my Irish skin it’s pretty easy to notice when my face gets flushed. I reassured myself it would be okay again and again and then I was announced.

I guess I should mention my compatriot hiding behind the stage with me happened to be Phoenix from American Gladiators, a former KU women’s thrower. Again as I tried to ready myself I was interrupted; Phoenix was appalled I would go out with a shirt on. I mean Google her and check out those biceps, I wasn’t about to say no. Back to me nearly dropping the ball on the opening act of Jayrock though. As I stood there and the music started I tried to gracefully enter into the first verse. Nothing. Tried to sing a little louder. Nothing! I started to panic and tried to push out the words. NOTHING! Actually that’s a lie, if anyone was there and remembers that short shrill squeal that sounded like electronic interference, that was my voice. I turned and looked at Phoenix and lipped “I can’t” and with that she thrust me onto stage. From there it’s history. I belted out every line and left the crowd in tears, standing ovation, roses at my feet. That may also be a lie but I won’t admit to it outright.

Anyway, enough about me. This was the beginning to a great night for everyone overall. There were some incredible events that took place, most notably the fall of Men’s Track and Field supreme reign. Insert memorial piece to Paul Hefferon who championed all of these previous wins for MTF here (that’s one of the cool abbreviations you get to use if you work in athletics). Okay, I have to mention Matt Baysinger as well since he was actually the brains of the operation but come on who can say no to Paul's 130 pound frame? Granted they did a great job, not as good as I did, but other teams showed up to compete as well. It was an excellent testament to the competitiveness and fun loving spirit of KU athletes. If you didn’t already know on behalf of all athletes we would like to yet again highlight 2008 Orange Bowl Champions in football and 2008 National Champions in Men’s Basketball (FB and MBB respectively if you want to abbreviate them). Rock Chalk Jayhawk anyone?

A couple days before Brad made his incredible Jayrock debut, I got the privilege of giving Brad a pep talk and sharing all of my performance tips with him. Basically, his success is because of my awesome advice. Oh yeah, this is Kaitlyn Coen, a proud member of the Women’s Cross Country and Track & Field teams (or WTF in Brad’s abbreviation terms). Brad has a slight ADD issue and just wandered off somewhere, so unfortunately you are stuck with me to finish out your Jayhawk Chalk Talk blog experience (this is actually a great discovery for you because not only am I cooler and wittier, but I am better looking than Brad).

Let me tell you exactly what Jayrock is. Our #1 athletic director, Lew Perkins, decided that it was important for student-athletes to come together in a non-athletic way, so he allows Mike Harrity to put on a “dinner and a show.” All athletes come together for a delicious meal and some great acts put on by their fellow athletes. Until this year, MTF had never lost. The tradition was proud, and strong, but unfortunately it wasn’t carried over to the women’s side. Previous MTF acts have been a “Mike Tyson’s Punch Out”, an OK Go music video, and a “no-show skit from last year that somehow was magically put together that night” skit. So for three years running, MTF had the coveted “Overall Best Act” trophy; that is until this year. Swimming & Diving dethroned the guys with a fun little dance about food. Volleyball and Men’s Basketball felt somewhat slighted because they didn’t receive any award for their version of the High School Musical movies (getcha head in the game!) that has, as I write this blog, hit 72,024 views (and counting). According to some insiders in KU Athletics, “the rest of the world has spoken” regarding awards for Jayrock. Oh, here’s a fun fact of the day for you (FFD if you really wanted another abbreviation), the trophies awarded to the winning acts travel to Lawrence all the way from the big city of Hays, KS. Yeah, that’s right; there are some cool things that come from Hays; me being one of them.

Well, the best way for you to get the entire experience is to watch the videos that Matt Baysinger has posted on YouTube. You can’t really explain in words the amazingness of the event. Except for maybe Brad’s rendition of “I Will Always Love Lew” because if you watched a video of that, it may end up permanently damaging your ears. Rock Chalk.

-Brad Thorson (Football) and Kaitlyn Coen (Cross Country/Track & Field)

FYI- Kaitlyn forgot to mention Wild Bill Hickok, former Sheriff of Hays, KS. In my opinion he's probably the most famous person from Hays although the race is a close one.

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