Iowa fans wave to kids in the Stead Family Children's Hospital during an NCAA football game between Iowa and Wyoming in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated Wyoming, 24-3. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Guest Opinion: An ode to Hawkeye football

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I came in to this world the fall of 1988.

I was basically born for college football.

My family was almost evenly split between my mom, my dad, and their respective families being Florida and Alabama (with the exception of my mother’s sister and her family being Clemson fans).

However, having been born in Florida, I naturally grew up a die-hard fan of the Florida Gators. From the time I was born, the Gators have had more than six wins every year. In terms of bowl games, Florida went 15-12, being ineligible for just one year. I grew up with a history of winning, and we all know that all of Alabama’s national championships speak for themselves. Much like hearing from Cardinals fans about all their World Series wins, even though they couldn’t do it last year. I did at least get MLB right the first time — go Cubbies.

Back to my point, though.

I moved to Iowa a little over a year ago, and I’m about to start my second semester as a student at the University of Iowa. I have to tell you, the love and support I’ve felt here is far superior to any other. Despite Iowa’s bowl game record of 8-12-1 and not having won one since 2010 in the 27-24 victory over Missouri, (thank goodness that was before my wife attended the University of Missouri), the dedication and love for this team has blown my mind.

I truly didn’t understand it at first. I just couldn’t grasp why a team with less than what I understood as being “winning” loved and supported a coach rather than kicking him to the curb for a better option like Florida did, having had seven head coaches in my lifetime versus Iowa’s two coaches in the legendary Hayden Fry and current coach Kirk Ferentz.

Then the unexpected happened. I was accepted to the university as an official Hawkeye in October 2016, and although I tailgated every home game with my friends who are all alumni of our incredible university, the first game I attended as a resident Hawkeye wasn’t until our famous nail-biter against Michigan. On that cold November night, I sat in the Wolverine fan section with my brother-in-law and his mother with their Michigan friends. It just so happened that I pulled out my phone to record the play about to happen at our end zone, as Michigan had the ball backed up almost entirely to the goal line that Jaleel Johnson turned into an epic safety. Then later, I captured Duncan’s legendary last-second field goal for Iowa’s epic 14-13 win over the nation’s No. 3 Wolverines. It wasn’t until the crowd rushed the field that I realized:

Here in Iowa, it’s not just about winning. Not that we don’t enjoy it when we do, because believe me, we love it. It’s more about loyalty to all of our fellow Hawkeyes and our administration. It’s about the love for each individual game. The love of Iowa.

This summer I traveled and found at least one fellow Hawkeye in every state I went to, and every one of them made a point to stop me just to say, “Go Hawks.”

It’s about Iowa, the passion and the fight to win.

Just like the university’s hype video, we come together to fight.

To fight for Iowa.

Shane Norman,

School of Journalism & Mass Communication student

 

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