Profiles In K-State Fandom – Renee Gates

Profiles In K-State Fandom – Renee Gates

The eighth installment of “Profiles in K-State Fandom” features Renee Gates. I “met” Renee on Twitter/X and she was nominated by several people to be featured in this series. If you find yourself at a K-State baseball game and have any baseball questions whatsoever, you might want to seek out and start a conversation with Renee! This is another profile I am sure you will enjoy…

JM: Tell me a little bit about your background. Where were you born/where did you grow up and how did you become such a huge K-State fan?

RG: I was born in Phillipsburg (birthplace of and shout-out to Mark Simoneau, @M_Simoneau), but grew up in Hutchinson and attended Buhler High School. I am not sure when I fell in love with K-State, but grew up watching Sunday afternoon sports with my dad on TV. Though college ball wasn’t a frequent watch as a family and we didn’t really take sides back then, we are a divided family. I have one brother who is a KU fan, one a K-State Fan, a couple who just don’t care, and kids, nieces and nephews on both sides as well. Attended a Wichita State Football game in high school and witnessed the Hutch Community College Blue Dragons win a National Championship in basketball while in school there. I came to K-State in 1989 with my husband and cemented my love for this school and town.

JM: Are you married? Kids?

RG: My husband and I have been married for 35 years in June and have four kids. He is a sports widower! No interest in that (I do occasionally get him to a baseball game), so I had to seek out friends to go with after the kids grew up and got lives beyond this. They almost all love K-State (one son that is a KU fan, but he is a football fan, so I have accepted it as true fandom and relish his misery every fall—I am actually about the only one who can give him crap about it), but not to the level of attending as many games as possible. I am really proud of them all and they have the biggest hearts and stand up for what is right in the world, so I guess I am their biggest fan too.

JM: If you attended K-State, tell me a little bit about how you came to that decision.

RG: That was a rocky path. I am a first generation college student and didn’t know what I was getting into at Juco. It was a little too close to home. My husband went to school at K-State and I joined him after we got married. Started in Chemical Engineering, but ended up switching to Elementary Ed.

Two of Renee’s brothers and a nephew at a K-State football game.

JM: What do you do for a living?

RG: Funny where life takes you sometimes. I got a staff position at the library on campus while I was still a student. When I graduated, the teaching field was saturated, so I stayed on. After taking progressively more responsible positions, I moved into the IT world. I now do IT support for the Library staff and the faculty and students we serve. It is something new every day, which I love. I also haven’t let my teaching degree go to waste. Whether as a scout leader and mom, or doing IT training, I constantly use the skills I learned to help people (including myself) learn new things.

JM: Do you live in or around Manhattan? What’s your favorite restaurant or hangout when you’re in town?

RG: Yes, we’ve been blessed to be able to stay in Manhattan to raise our kids. My favorite hangout is probably Tointon! There is such a peace that I get walking into the ballpark and when I am there with friends the benefits multiply. I also love hanging out at the Bill and DOOM but the energy levels are so different. So Long/Luche and Nicos are some of my favorite restaurants, but it really is more about the people I am with than where I am.

Another of Renee’s brothers, her nephew, and her Dad at a K-State football game.

JM: Do you have a favorite sport? Favorite K-State team?

RG: Baseball and football are pretty close. I love the energy of football and have some fantastic tailgating friends, but the peace of baseball probably makes it my favorite. It was the sport I didn’t know I needed in my life and have fallen in love with the game, the stats, the players and the fans.

JM: Do you have season tickets? If so, which sports?

RG: Yes! It started with football during the pledge season. I will never give up those seats, but it evolved to a group in the end zone as friends with kids in the band joined me at the games. (Band kids and moms are the best!) My son and I began attending baseball in 2013 and bought season tickets the next year. After a few years my best friend and football partner joined me and we had a third join a few years later. I keep trying to recruit more. I’ve also had women’s basketball season tickets for many years and Men’s basketball the last two. It’s been a great couple of years for both of those.

JM: Do you travel to K-State away games?

RG: I have recently been able to do a little of that. I’ve gone to Lawrence a few times for football (with the traitor son 😉). I won tickets to the 2022 Texas Tax Act Bowl and managed to attend my first bowl game. My best friend moved to Florida a year and a half ago, so games have been different and I know she misses it as much as I miss her. We are looking for opportunities with UCF in the mix to be able to again share that love of K-State and continue to nurture our friendship. I love to travel and explore new places, I just need some traveling companions with a spirit of adventure (someone willing to donate to the cause wouldn’t hurt either 🙂).

JM: Do you have a favorite away game place or story to tell?

RG: Stay tuned! We’ll see where this adventure leads!

JM: Any negative experiences?

RG: One nasty comment from a drunk frat boy at KU, but I don’t let things get to me too much. We are usually making friends with those around us and welcoming opposing fans to K-State as they walk by, etc. so that probably helps. You often get what you give.

JM: What is your favorite K-State sports memory?

RG: One baseball game that my husband actually joined me at there were two guys in front of us bickering (all in good fun). I spoke up and jokingly asked them how long they had been married. We spent the rest of the game visiting. They each had a son and they were here to support another friends’ son. Out of the group of friends, two sons played football, one for Arkansas, one for Baylor and the third played baseball at K-State. They took a road trip to support each of the three every year. Such a cool story! I love making new friends! I also love to interact with those around us who are just learning baseball or who need help with Robert speak (if you know you know) to them or introducing them to baseball terms.

When the kids were younger, we loved Dollar days with Women’s and Men’s basketball when we’d buy 20 tickets and all the kids (and my best friend) would invite several friends to come along. Or my youngest’s birthday at the ballpark when it rained and the kids were all singing the “Narwhal song.” It really is about who you are with and spreading the love of sports to the next person or next generation that makes it special!

K-State Twitter meetup photo at a K-State football game.

JM: Who is your favorite K-State player(s), past or present?

RG: I can’t name one
• Football: Bishop, Klein, Thompson, Howard, Simoneau, Gallon, Sproles, and Vaughn
• Basketball: Nowell, Johnson, Wecker, Koehn, Lee, Gregory, and Sundell
• Baseball: Brennan, Wicks, and Phillips ….current players Culpepper, Neighbors and Ingram
I know I am missing some, but I can’t name them all.

JM: Who is your favorite K-State coach(es), past or present?

RG: Snyder takes the cake. He is a man of the people. He brought respect to the game and instilled character into the players. I will never forget that he presented signed awards (footballs and mini helmets) at a Boy Scout awards banquet and took photos with the boys on SUPERBOWL SUNDAY. He is always so giving of his time and himself and so humble. Our current coaches are all wonderful examples who follow in his footsteps in many ways while making it their own.

JM: If you had to guess, what percentage of your wardrobe is purple?

RG: A LOT! I have loved purple since I was a little girl so it wasn’t hard to make that leap. If I put a percentage on it, probably 75% is purple or goes with purple so I can mix and match and about half of that (and some that isn’t purple like my St. Patty’s t-shirts) have K-State words or logos.

JM: What does the “K-State Family” mean to you?

RG: Everything! I feel it in the stands, on Twitter, from the coaches and the players. I feel it in my co-workers and friends. It isn’t always perfect (no family is) but what I grew up with is unconditional love and that means even when you don’t like what someone does you love them. I have been blessed with the biggest, loudest, friendliest and mostly supportive family in the world! This little Twitter family we have going here is pretty special and what started as a K-State connection has grown to talking about life and our struggles and the support I see from folks who may have met, but also may only chat online is amazing!

JM: Anything else you’d like to add?

RG: I am honored to be included in this series. I am truly a small fish in K-State Twitterland, but my friends DID purchase a paver for the East Stadium that declared me the #1 K-State Fan for a reason. I do bleed purple and drink the “Tang,” so to speak. My office walls (beyond my own cubicle) are decorated with all things K-State, but mostly sports. My goal is to be a positive influence whether K-State related or not, I think the world needs more positivity. We’ve all been through some stuff, but there truly are silver linings if we look for them (and if you are lucky, they are in lavender clouds). It really means a lot to be included with the folks you have featured so far and that I am sure you will feature in the future.

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If you would like to nominate someone to be featured in “Profiles in K-State fandom,” please message me and I’ll reach out to them. Thanks!

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