I just recently returned from a trip to California, and due to having sported my IU gear proudly most days of the trip I was asked the question, "What is a Hoosier?" more than once.  The first thing that always comes to mind when I'm asked this question while traveling is, a Hoosier is a basketball player.  And yes, if I'm being honest, I have answered with that response before.  But after spending quite a bit of time pondering this question, too much probably, and what the best answer would be, I've come to realize that it's not really something you can answer, or even explain.  It's really something that a person needs to experience to fully understand.
     There are obviously different types of Hoosiers.  There are the people who call themselves Hoosiers because they are from the great state of Indiana and well, that's what people from Indiana are called.  There are people that came here to further their education at Indiana University, and no matter where their life's journey takes them, they will forever be Hoosiers.  Some peoples career path brought them here and they've adapted to our mid-west lifestyle that I guess could be referred to as transplanted Hoosiers, and they more than likely wouldn't be offended if you did so.
     And of course then there are "us."  Yes, "us" includes me and all of you visiting this site.  Not to take away from any of the above examples of Hoosiers, but to me, the Cream & Crimson bleeding, Candy Stripe wearing, Indiana University sports junkies that can't seem to get enough of anything Hoosier related is how I would best define a what a Hoosier is. The ones that check the message boards and Twitter numerous times daily on an average day year round looking for any tidbit of info about the Hoosier sports team of their choice.  And the number of checkins to a message board or to Twitter for an individual can reach an obscene amount when it's nearing decision time for a recruit.  I'm talking about work doesn't get done levels of checkins.  And yes I speak from experience on the matter.
     Being a Hoosier fan like "us" is not just during the season either, it is a year round obsession.  No matter how good, or how bad the previous season was, after a very brief decompressing, or celebrating period, we're already looking ahead.  Who do we have coming back?  Who do we have coming in?  Who's turning pro?  Who's transferring?  Who are we recruiting for the future?  All questions that we talk about with like minded Hysterical Hoosiers, and all questions we seek out the answers to on the numerous message boards we're members of, and the Twitter accounts we follow.
     I fell into this "us" group of Hoosiers about 40 years ago and I don't regret one single moment of it.  I've been to every Hoosier Hysteria there's been dating all the way back to the Coach Knight days when it was at midnight, and it was an actual practice.  I've traveled to see both recruits, and our Hoosiers play.  I've attended more games in Assembly Hall than I can remember, including some that I will never forget.  I've met players, coaches and their wives, A.D.'s, and oh so many people, from so many different walks of life, that also fall into this "us" group of Hoosiers.  People I had virtually nothing in common with except for our passion for Indiana University.
    So many definitions for a word, but only one that best suits me.  I, and probably you, have what some would call an unhealthy obsession, and for me that's okay, because I wear that badge proudly everywhere I go.  I'm as dumbfounded at people who are Hoosiers who don't share that same passion, as they are at me and you for having it.
     Hoosier Hysteria is set for September 29th.  If you've been before you should mark the calendar and plan a return trip.  If you've never been before you should mark the calendar and join the rest of "us" in getting our first glimpse of the 2018-2019 Indiana Hoosiers men's and women's squads.  Hear from the coaches.  Let the recruits in attendance hear the best fans in the country chant their names.  Meet about 15,000+ of what could be your new closest "us" type friends.