For the love of the Hawkeyes

A few years ago, I never would have thought I would expose myself to a monsoon in order to go a football game. I’m not much a sports person. I never played them, I don’t follow professional teams whatsoever, and generally don’t care about any team of any sport period. Except one. I love Hawkeye football.

It’s actually shocking to me because I always thought I hated football. I mean, how barbaric and pointless to knock heads and fall into messy piles just for a few yards, right? I went to every home football game in high school because I was on the dance squad, but I never actually payed attention to a single one. Talking to my friends was entirely more interesting and worthwhile.

But then we moved to Iowa, and Chris’s uncle generously gave us his season tickets to one of the first games. I will never pass up anything that is free. We tailgated with some of Chris’s old high school friends living in town before heading to the game. (Coming from tiny DePauw, tailgating blew my mind. But that’s another story for another time.)

I was in awe of how big the stadium was when we got inside. The field looked pristine – the white lines were crisp and the turf looked so neat compared to the dinged up grass I remember from high school. And I couldn’t believe how many people were there, and how excited they all were. It was a sea of black and gold. I was wearing navy, so I kind-of fit in. The energy from the crowd was exciting, and I found myself excited to be there, too.

When the game started, I decided to bite the bullet and just ask Chris to explain the rules of the game to me. I understood the getting-to-the-end-zone part, but all the first down, second down business was way over my head. I suppose I was preparing for a long, confusing explanation that I wouldn’t completely understand but would hopefully be able to take away enough of the “nuts and bolts” to make a little more sense of what I watching in front of me. But surprisingly, his description was brief, and perhaps even more surprisingly, I understood it. That day, I watched my first football game. And I really liked it.

We’re lucky enough to get Chris’s uncle’s tickets at least once a season. Sometimes we even get all four, which we can either use to bring friends or sell for concession stand money. Today was the season opening game against Tennessee Tech, and we got to bring my dad and brother Joe. (Joe didn’t end up making it to the game. He was…um…studying…) My mom stayed with Charlotte, which she was more than happy about.

But remember when I said something about a monsoon earlier? Okay, I guess there aren’t monsoons in Iowa, but it can rain really hard and the wind can blow really strongly. Probably twenty minutes before kick-off, the downpour began. My dad and I had ponchos, which helped as much as they could, but poor Chris, along with about 40,000 other fans, was exposed to the elements. Inside the stadium I was expecting to see tons of abandoned seats, but instead I saw tons of dripping wet people. 70,000 of them to be exact. It was a sold out show, and it looked like most ticket holders showed up. We made it to the third quarter before the game was called off until the weather improved. Two and a half quarters was enough for us. We called it a day and ran through the rain to the bus. I’m pretty sure my toes are still pruney.

This was a very long story, and I’m trying to remember whether I had a point to make…

Oh yes, my point is this: I actually turned into a sports fan. Well, perhaps I shouldn’t say sports fan. I still don’t care about all sports. Heck, I still don’t even care about football unless it’s Hawkeye football.  Yes, Iowa football I love.

Maybe this is because our current quarterback sort-of resembles Chris?

Anyone else see the slight resemblence? (But Chris is cuter.)

Later, after we poured the puddles out of our shoes and put on dry clothes, we picked up my mom and the baby and ate lunch at one of our local favorites, the Bluebird Diner. If you’re ever in town, you should eat there.

Finally, here’s a picture of the family with widdle C before they left tonight:

Missing Uncle John. 😦

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