I woke up this morning, still in disbelief. I checked Twitter, Facebook, ESPN; they all confirmed what I had hoped was merely a bad dream.
The Hawkeyes’ run at perfection is over. And as reality sets in for me (while, admittedly, my denial persists), I take to the only outlet I know: writing melodramatic, over-emotionalized, hyperbole-laden monologues. Sue me.
This monologue, however, is less never-ending list of what-ifs and hypotheticals, and more a toast to the best damn thing to happen during my college career:
Here’s to the 12 teams the Hawkeyes played first this year. To the 12 teams who, despite their best efforts, could not overcome the mighty Hawkeyes.
Here’s to the burning heat of September games and the freezing snow-covered games of November. To the fans that refused to leave night games and who shivered through snoozers to sing “In Heaven there is no Beer.”
Here’s to the 2014 Hawkeye football team. To the men on that team that weathered a brutal season and came out on the other side.
Here’s to the “pundits.” To those damn pundits. The pundits who doubted Iowa every step of the way. Who questioned our legitimacy and our style of play. To the “pundits” (I’m looking at you Paul Finebaum and even you, Kirk Herbstreit), who thought we were headed for Big Ten blow out a la Wisconsin v. OSU, 2014 (no offense, my Wisconsin friends).
And let’s be honest, here’s to Michigan State. To an unbelievable team with unbelievable talent. To the team all Hawkeye-faithful should root for in the College Football Playoffs. To the 22-play, 9-minute and 4-second drive that stunned a sea of black and gold at Lucas Oil.
Here’s to that sea of black and gold. To the relentless articles across the internet that just don’t get it, and that claimed, “Iowa fans are more prevalent in Indianapolis than Michigan State this weekend, because they haven’t been there before.” To the Hawkeye fans who know, there wasn’t more black and gold because this was novel. There was more black and gold because we’re God damned Hawkeyes, and that’s what we do.
Here’s to the Hawkeye fans who didn’t travel to Indianapolis. To the fans who watched from their couches, from the deafening bars of Iowa City, and from the Alumni-designated parties around the country.
Here’s to the University of Iowa students who will spend the next 48-72 hours thinking about what could’ve been. Who will wander the halls of University buildings thinking about the ball rolling–in near slow-motion–off the back of Michigan State LB Riley Bullough and into the hands of Demetrious Cox.
Here’s to the team. To Kirk, C.J., Des, Jordan, Akrum, Matt, Henry, George, Riley, Greg, Tevaun, Marshall, Parker, Jacob, Dillon, Leshun, Derrick, Nate, Cole, Bo, Josey, Ben, Boone, Austin, Drew, and all the others. To the others whose names I didn’t include simply because I was running out of space and attention of my readers.
Here’s to something more than a game. Here’s to a gold light in a world notably lacking one. To a group of hundreds of thousands Hawkeye fans who turn a silly little game into a moment of togetherness.
But most of all, Here’s to the Hawkeyes–all of them. To the team who doesn’t give up. To the team and the school that turns the inconsequential into the un-ignorable. To the group of people who wake up every morning thanking something (God or otherwise) that they were born a Hawkeye. To the fans who will travel with force to whichever sun-soaked town the Hawkeyes will be overtaking come year’s-end. To the Cadillac Ranchs of the world that will never place such small beer orders ever again when the Hawks are coming to town.
Here’s to us. To a season for the ages. And to being a Hawkeye. It’s a thankless job and we will gladly take it every day of our lives.