Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!

This is not how the University of Kansas’ final trip to Columbia, Missouri, was supposed to end, with the No. 4 University of Missouri Tigers men’s basketball team beating the No. 8 KU Jayhawks 74-71 down to the end buzzer game. Mizzou, as the MU Tigers call themselves, is leaving the Big Twelve. The whole league is busting up. Colorado and Nebraska have left, too. Traitors!

To console myself, I listen to the Rock Chalk chant, which Teddy Roosevelt called the greatest college chant he ever heard. Bully for you, Teddy!

The KU-MU rivalry is a special one. It dates back to the violent Border Wars of the Civil War between anti-slavery and pro-slavery groups that shook towns in the Kansas Territory and the western frontier towns of Missouri during the 1850s. Some in Missouri, then a slave state, wanted to influence whether Kansas would enter the Union as a free or slave state in an era called “Bleeding Kansas.” In 1861, the opening year of the war, Kansas forces plundered and burned six Missouri towns and large areas of the western Missouri country side. Missourians (known as bushwackers) under William Quantrill then led a retaliatory raid on Lawrence, Kansas two years later in which Lawrence was burned and 200 people murdered. Lawrence is the home of the University of Kansas.

KU leads the match-up at 171-95. The teams meet again in Lawrence on Feb. 25, 2012. KU is The Basketball School, so they must prevail. The Jayhawks men’s basketball program is one of the most successful and prestigious programs in the history of college basketball. The Jayhawks’ first coach was the inventor of the game, James Naismith. About the KU Jayhawk's Men's Basketball team.
To read more about this college rivaltry as well as the violence between the states during the Civil War, click on the link.
Border War (Kansas–Missouri rivalry)

And then there were nine: NCAA Big Twelve Conference.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!

  1. Wow. That is a long time rivalry. Very interesting stuff.
    Those chemistry professors are always stirring things up, too.

  2. My mother is a jayhawk so we are very familiar with that chant. Didn’t know it was endorsed by Teddy.

    Tammy you can read more about the chant, sung world-wide, at the link below. I’ve copied the information here: “KU’s world famous Rock Chalk Chant evolved from a cheer that a chemistry professor, E.H.S. Bailey, created for the KU science club in 1886. Bailey’s version was “Rah, Rah, Jayhawk, KU” repeated three times. The rahs were later replaced by “Rock Chalk,” a transposition of chalk rock, the name for the limestone outcropping found on Mount Oread, site of the Lawrence campus.

    The cheer became known worldwide. Teddy Roosevelt pronounced it the greatest college chant he’d ever heard. Legend has it that troops used the chant when fighting in the Philippines in 1899, in the Boxer Rebellion in China, and in World War II. At the Olympic games in 1920, the King of Belgium asked for a typical American college yell. The assembled athletes agreed on KU’s Rock Chalk and rendered it for His Majesty.” Cathy

    http://www.ku.edu/about/traditions/

  3. I was surprised that I remembered all of the words (okay, most of them) from the song! It gave me goosebumps! I remember arriving in Lawrence and falling in love with its history – Quantrill’s Raiders and all.

    The Rock Chalk chant gives me goose bumps, too. You can see why Teddy loved it. Going to a KU basketball game is like a religious experience. Cathy

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