Gearing up for football season in Iowa City is very much like a warrior painting his or her face for battle, gathering supplies and weaponry, readying oneself for the trials and triumphs on the path to glorious victory. The proper accoutrement must be acquired … the black and gold striped socks or overalls symbolically donned, your favorite gold cardigan unearthed and de-mothed, those awesome Tiger Hawk earrings rocked for the first time since last fall. The proper attitude must also be donned: yeah, so, I like football … so what? Sure, I also read books and sip wine on patios and listen to indie rock or whatever. But cool cred goes out the window when it comes to celebrating my Hawks.
I find myself wearing things during football season that I would not-ever-no-never wear on an average day outside of football season. Despite my absolute dread of winter I can’t wait for it to get chilly enough to sport the aforementioned cardigan. Its violent yellow brings out the very best in my extreme Hawkeye spirit.
Every fall, there is a reason for Herkie face decals, shriveled up yellow daisies pinned to ancient black sweaters, vintage stocking hats with puffballs … and the reason, my friends, is love.
I may not be the most rabid Hawkeye fan in Iowa City, but I’m likely the most starry-eyed. I nearly wept with joy when I met Adrian Clayborn last year over burgers at Short’s. I literally could not say a word to my Hawkeye hero and was reduced to a muttering stumblebumpkin barely able to gasp out, “the Adrian Clayborn?”
And the band! Aw gawd, I love the band. I bellow the asinine words to our illustrious fight song each and every week. I remember not knowing those words at a Wisconsin/Iowa game years ago and having an elder fan give me and my friend a forgiving smile as we simply made up our own. Who doesn’t love the crazed inspiration of the band as it comes to the bar the night before every home game? With our ears in the bell of a trombone or tuba, all we can hear is the wha wha wha and the “fight fight fight” but no matter how bad it sounds, it sounds so good
Looking forward, we welcome back familiar stand-outs Karl Kluuuuuuug, the Adrian Clayborn, Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, and Christian Ballard. We anticipate learning who will be the go-to running back this season, and whether the monkey of Northwestern will finally be removed, clawing and screaming, from our backs. Hawks young and old can’t wait to cheer on one of the best-named players ever to grace our rosters, Marvin McNutt, as he is sure to pull a miracle catch out of his, um, helmet, at least twenty-seven times this season. You can quote me on that.
I guess since this is a new column I better introduce myself. My name’s Stephanie, I love football, and I adore the Hawks. I never miss a game. I never actually go to a game, but I’ve got a pre-warmed booth at the Deadwood with my name on it. I eat Sally’s chili, or tacos, or loose meat sammies with my friends every Saturday and we hoot and wail and strategize. And yes, folks, this girl knows the game, so once the season gets started we’ll be talking about more than just cardigans.
I’ll offer readers a little piece of the view from down here, where the regular joes shine as red and sweaty-faced as the players, the beer is always cold, and we might even offer a hug to the folks cheering for the other team. But only after we laugh at their little outfits first.