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Game Faces - Part 3

Exhibit logoOur Team

You don't have to dribble the ball to be a part of a team.  Lots of people get into the game by cheering from the sidelines.

At colleges, sports help bring a community together by developing loyalty to the school.  People continue supporting that community long after they no longer live in it.

Sports instantly create links between strangers based on their shared support of a team or school. 

A House Divided

Mascots often are the most recognizable symbol of a team.  True fans can spot their beloved mascot at 50 paces.  Individuals connect with their team by donning wigs, painting their faces, and wearing team colors. 

Some fans devote entire rooms to their team, and paint companies market color chips for specific teams.  This room (left) belongs to Jayhawk fan Tom Christie of Lawrence.

Many Kansas couples live in mixed marriages--one spouse a Jayhawk, the other a Wildcat.  The state's biggest college rivalry is between these two teams, Kansas State University (Wildcats) and the University of Kansas (Jayhawks.).

Kansas State University’s mascot hasn’t always been the Wildcat.  "Aggies" was the original nickname because K-State was Kansas' agricultural college.  KSU teams were briefly known as the "Farmers" before finally becoming the "Wildcats" in 1920.  In this part of the country, when people refer to a wildcat they generally mean a bobcat.  These bob-tailed felines are excellent hunters.

The University of Kansas incorporated the Jayhawk into its school yell as early as 1866.  "Jayhawk" refers to antislavery supporters who rode into Missouri to plunder property and harass proslavery settlers.  It is a mythical bird that survives by stealing from other birds.

School Mascots

These are the mascots for all six Kansas Board of Regents universities.  Click on the images to learn which school they are associated with, and a fun fact about the mascot.

University of Kansas' Big Jay was KU's sole mascot until 1971, when Baby Jay was hatched at the homecoming game

Corky the Hornet Gus Gorilla


Wu Shock

Willie Wildcat

Victor E. Tiger





Game Faces: Kansans in Sports is an online exhibit developed by the Kansas Museum of History.

  1. Introduction - There's no "I" in "Team"
  2. Our Town - Cheering on the home team
  3. Our Team - Fan is short for fanatic
  4. Our World - Sports make the world a little smaller
  5. Our Traditions - Some games reinforce our roots
  6. Our Friends - Socializing can be as important as competition

Audio Tour

Listen to the curators' Game Faces audio tour online or download it to your mp3 player!

Contact us at KSHS.KansasMuseum@ks.gov