It's the morning after and I haven't had much more than 9 hours of sleep over the last 72 hours...but I'm feeling good. I'm feeling more than good, in fact, as I cannot be any more pleased with the experiences of this past weekend. Admittedly, as of a few weeks ago I had some reservations about the trip. By "reservations" I mean I was flightier than usual, not sleeping and more or less completely panicking. I had fears about everything from attendance (our bus probably accounted for 10% of Ross-Ade) to payments to behavior to completely ridiculous things like having the bus break down or not show up or some other such nonsense. By the time I reached the Menard's parking lot yesterday morning those fears quickly began to subside.
You were respectful. You were courteous of myself and of one another. You were fun. In short, you were everything I recognize as being at the core of Hawkeye fandom. I cannot overstate this enough; it was an honor and privilege to put this together and as I have had a little time to reflect on it, I believe I would do this again in a heartbeat. Really.
I had the pleasure of getting to spend a little time with just about everyone from the group whether on the bus, at the tailgate or at the game and I must say I walked away impressed with what a diverse group of personalities are drawn to this site. Again, you were all far cooler and nicer than I could have ever imagined and I feel slightly guilty for ever having harbored doubts.
To those I met at the game, I'm sorry I couldn't have spent more time chatting. There will be other chances in the near future, of this I'm sure.
To those that didn't/couldn't make the trip this time...you missed out! Sure, the weather sucked and the game gave 67% of those who viewed it eye cancer and the train-based fetish of Ross-Ade crossed over from quaint to creepy at times, but it was a blast. This is mostly because Purdue's hilarious ineptitude outdistanced Iowa's slightly less-hilarious ineptitude but even more so because it was just a really fun group of Hawk fans. Well, that and our mock "Boiler Up!" chant was way more mean-spirited fun than it should have been.
One final special thanks to Adam (BHGP's Sally Mason); I was excited and surprised that you took the time away from your group of HMB friends to come over and introduce yourself. I was dumbfounded when you took me over to meet the current crop of HMB 'tones and found that I'm somehow remembered for 1 year of band 13 years after the fact. But the kicker for me was when I came to say "bye" before leaving the stadium and realized I had barged up just as you all were about to start singing the Alma Mater. There was no hesitation on your part to pull me into the line and have me join in with people a generation younger than myself singing a song I haven't sung in over a decade. I still remember every word (although my pitch wasn't particularly wonderful at that point) and that minute and a half brought back a flood of memories and emotions. As I walked back up the stairs and onto the concourse to rejoin the rest of our group I realized I had tears in my eyes. I have tears in my eyes now thinking about it. Thanks for that. Sincerely. And don't ever take this time in your life for granted, you can't yet fully appreciate how truly special it is.
Not from yesterday, but much like Waldo, you'll find "Sally" in this video if you look for him
Sorry for the rambling nature of the post but at this point I'm slightly incoherent. You're amazing folks and I just wanted to thank you all so much for a great time. The end.
Now for those of you left gagging at how sappy this post is and are left needing something slightly less corny, here's a Thomas Kinkade painting
Hey, did you know there are farms in Iowa!?!