Are you ready for some football!? This phrase is associated with the NFL. But to me, true football is college football or even high school football. The players are playing for their teams, their schools and themselves. They aren’t playing because they get a huge paycheck. To me, they play with more heart. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think so.
You can tell it’s fall when you see the kids practicing on the fields and hearing the clashing of helmets and shoulder pads. I can sit on my deck and hear the announcer at the high school games even though the field is a couple miles away. The glow in the sky, the people huddled under blankets sipping hot chocolate (well not yet, wait until October). I love October because of high school and college football, leaves changing colors and of course my birthday.
I come from a small Iowa town. All we did on Friday nights in the fall was go to a football game. The stadiums would be full; even the visitor’s stands would be full because there wasn’t anything else to do but maybe work at the local pizza shop or babysit. The feel of walking over the gravel, through the gates, then up the stands to find a decent seat with your friends. There was a tiny little shack in the back where maybe four people could fit, where you could get a snack for super cheap. I remember in elementary running around under the bleachers and not really watching the games.
My freshman and sophomore years I was in the marching band. We had some hideous uniforms but we were part of the excitement. Marching in for the half time performance, sitting in the stands cheering on the team and cheering with the cheerleaders. Every year Coach Tighe always had a favorite ball carrier. My senior year it was Matt Matteson. So you were always hearing “Matteson the ball carrier.” Matt and I have known each other since first grade so I always felt a little pride when he was mentioned since we were from the same elementary school.
My favorite college team is the Iowa Hawkeyes. My town was closer to Ames and Iowa State but there was just something about Iowa that drew me to them. I always enjoyed watching their basketball team and the football team. When I was a kid it was during the Hayden Fry and Lute Olsen eras. I LOVED the basketball team and enjoyed watching Kenny Arnold, Steve Waite, Steve Krafcison, Kevin Boyle, Bobby Hanson and Mark Gannon who were on the team that made it to the final four in 1980. I was obsessed with that team and got to meet Bobby Hanson before he turned pro.
My freshman year in college I spent the weekend in Iowa City with my cousin and she took me to a football game. I remember I couldn’t feel my feet it was so cold but it was such a fantastic experience. My first time in a real football stadium, and my first official college football game. We sat in the student section and it cracked me up all the instructions given before the game to the students what not to do. Pass bodies up the stands, foul language, storm the field, and tear down the goal post. I guess nobody was listening because all of those things happened. Iowa won that game which sent them to the Rose Bowl. What a crazy and exciting game to attend.
Iowa is ranked 9th in the nation this year after going almost undefeated last year. Boy did they have some exciting games winning with seconds to spare. I’m sure the neighbors could hear us yelling. Yesterday it was the Iowa/Iowa State rivalry game. Iowa has won 22 of the last 33 games. Of course they won again and gave ISU quite a spanking. Years ago it was a true rivalry; it got so nasty they stopped playing for around 41 years. Finally the schools said it was crazy and in 1977 they resumed the rivalry game and created the Cy-Hawk Trophy.
At yesterday’s game I saw black shirts with yellow “Beat State” and red shirts with yellow “Beat Iowa” on them. I thought those were pretty cool and made me laugh. Friday, my daughter’s school, Park Hill played their rivalry school Park Hill South. South had shirts on that said “Park Hill, Make me a sandwich.” Of course Park Hill won and the students stormed the field and surrounded the players. They also yelled at South to make them a sandwich. I’m glad she’s enjoying her senior year at the football games. High school football games are a memory to cherish and she will never forget them.
My nephew played college football for Midland Lutheran College. I was able to attend one of his games last year, which was his senior year. I wish I could have seen more. It was so much fun watching him play, but of course, since he’s my nephew, I was holding my breath when he was getting hit. Maybe that had something to do with the broken leg he got the year before which required two surgeries, a big metal plate and several big screws in his ankle. I know my sister wasn’t breathing most of the game.
I don’t know about you, but I know where I will be this fall on Saturdays.
Until next time…enjoy the view from your passenger seat
Iowa Fight Song (one of three currently used)
Written by Iowa native Meredith Wilson in 1951 the author of The Music Man
The word is “Fight! Fight! Fight! for IOWA,
Let every loyal Iowan sing;
The word is “Fight! Fight! Fight! for IOWA,”
Until the walls and rafters ring (Go Hawks!)
Come on and cheer, cheer, cheer, yay for IOWA
Come on and cheer until you hear the final gun.
The word is “Fight! Fight! Fight! for IOWA,”
Until the game is won.