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There has never been a minute of my life where I wasn’t a Hawkeye fan. My mom graduated from Iowa and for most of my childhood, we had this giant mirror in the basement that had her degree and stuff on it. For years, it hung on the wall, down near some shelves where my dad has a signed picture with Hayden Fry and a football my brother got signed by Kirk Ferentz for being a Taco Bell Ball Hawk™ along with a bunch of other Coca-Cola and Hawkeye memorabilia. My family is originally from western Iowa and there’s a Coca-Cola bottling plant near Atlantic, where I was born, so my dad always had these awesome Hawkeye collectable glass Coke bottles. Pretty cool.
Anyways, I used to look at that and see my face next to the Tigerhawk that was imprinted on it. That’s kind of weird, yes, but my mom was a first-gen college student and I always felt like not going to Iowa would be going against everything my parents had built for me.
I knew I wanted to stay in-state, so the only other school I even thought about was Northern Iowa — I’m fairly sure my mom would have disowned me if I went to school in Ames. Once I was accepted into Iowa, I immediately started the process and the paperwork. I didn’t even take an official visit until it was already all submitted.
There are other reasons too, of course. When Drew Tate threw that touchdown pass to Warren Holloway my mom, dad and two brothers were huddled in front of the TV in our living room. I was 10 and just remember laughing my ass off because it was literally the only thing I could do. I’m fairly sure my dad actually jumped out of his chair when Holloway caught it. I’ll never forget the moment. Or the stunned and dejected look on Nick Saban’s face.
There’s almost 100k views on that video and I’m fairly sure half of those are mine. I’ll never forget the 2009-10 season either, the dominating win in the Orange Bowl or the field goal against Penn State the year before.
When I was younger, my parents were pretty busy, so I didn’t always get a lot of chances to go to a ton of football games, but the first I can recall was Iowa vs. Northern Illinois in 2006. One of my friends invited me to come along with his parents and I spent half the night making this little poster on banner paper. I don’t remember what was on it, but I do know that I don’t have it. Whelan took it at the gate because an 11-year old with a homemade banner paper sign is a threat to national security or something.
It’s not just football though. I was heartbroken when Iowa lost to Northwestern State in the 2006 NCAA tournament. I had a mini-poster of that team in my room growing up and I remember it had Erek Hansen and Greg Brunner on it, among a couple other players. I always thought it’d be cool as hell if Erek and I were related somehow (we’re not) but it was just dope we both had the same last name.
The other basketball memory that sticks out in my head was the 2012 Dayton NIT game. Iowa basketball was BACK and it had been a while since my family had gone to a game together. So my dad bought tickets on a whim and we ended up sitting right above the tunnel. Carver was loud as hell that day and it had such an impact on my dad and mom they decided right after the game to buy season tickets. During my four years of college, if I had time and wasn’t sitting in the student section, it was a great way to catch up with them when they came down from Marion. I also got supper out of the deal, so win-win-win, no?
This was right about when I really started paying attention to this blog (posting as ReisnerPowa) and that NIT run led to one of the greatest posts I have ever seen, anywhere.
There are a thousand other memories that stick out in my head, but I’ll spare you that and leave you with perhaps my favorite... the Big Ten Championship. I had a chance to go cover it for the Daily Iowan and it’s something I’ll never, ever forget. I remember sitting next to Danny and us looking at each other when Tevaun caught that touchdown and me mouthing “holy shit” while thinking… they’re actually going to do this. (Let’s not rehash what followed.)
I’ll never forget my four years in Iowa City just the same as I’ll never forget all the amazing moments that came before and led me to have a deep passion for this school and this town.
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