Kansas basketball fan, 102, watches beloved Jayhawks in person for first time

Credit: Jamie Squire

Credit: Jamie Squire

The secret to a long life, according to a longtime University of Kansas basketball fan, is sweet onions -- and KU basketball, of course.

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Hattie Long, 102, watched her first Jayhawks basketball game at the Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday, and the nation’s No. 2-ranked college team did not disappoint, breezing past Eastern Michigan 87-63.

"I just liked to see them play," Long told KWCH. "And by cracky, I knew every one of their names!"

"She's like a kid in a candy store to put it mildly, I think," Long's grandson, Dan Ravenscraft, told WDAF.

Kansas coach Bill Self and team members sent Long an autographed photo two years ago to mark her 100th birthday, and it hangs next to her family photos at her nursing home in Whitewater, Kansas, KWCH reported.

Long said she has watched every Jayhawks game for the past 40 years, the television station reported. But Saturday night was the first time she had seen “her boys” in person.

"Well, I sure would like to have Bill (Self) shake my hand and give me a pat on the back," Long told KWCH. "By cracky, I might just grab him and give him a smack on the cheek!"

Self beat her to the punch when he met Long after the game, giving her a hug and a kiss on the cheek. The players posed for a picture with her and signed a poster, WDAF reported.

About those sweet onions …

Long said when she was younger she used to eat them like apples, the television station reported. Before Saturday’s game, she put some on her hamburger for good luck.

By cracky, it worked.

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