It’s all about the students and student/athletes: young people with their enthusiasm, their exuberance, their creativity, their willingness to defy convention. There is nothing to compare with the atmosphere in a highly charged, highly anticipated matchup of college basketball rivals. And one of the best venues in the nation is that of my alma mater, Hilton Coliseum – Hilton MAGIC, BABY! -at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.
This group of fans? They just want to get a little crazy, have a little fun, and support their Iowa State Cyclones!
Tonight is a big game for my Iowa State Cyclones. Kansas – our Big 12 conference nemesis – recently lost on the road to Kansas State and with a win tonight, revenge for our 1-point road loss to Baylor, we’ll be tied for first place.
Yesterday, the weather for today was forecast to be challenging at best. Five to six inches of snow (nine by one account), strong winds and frigid temps made it entirely feasible that we might not be able to make the hour commute for tonight’s game. So we made reservations for two nights here at the Quality Inn (a nice enough place) with plans to work remotely all day at the hotel before tip-off tonight at 8:00.
Almost perfect planning. The execution? Not so much. Unpacking my suitcase on our arrival last night, I was chagrined to discover that I had failed to pack any underwear. Today I’m ‘commando’ as my bra and panties dry from the hand-washing I administered before bedtime.
Next up: While prepping my laptop for work this morning, a heavy groan escaped my lips when I realized that I had forgotten to bring with me the security fob that I needed in order to login.
The last day being 57 years young – my birthday is tomorrow – and here I am, holed up in a hotel conference room alongside my husband as he works (he’d remembered to bring HIS fob), with snow and wind and bitter cold escalating in intensity just beyond the front door lobby, not far from where we’re sitting. Fortunately I have my Kindle with me here and a couple of magazines, my crochet project and my cell phone is outfitted with the requisite Facebook and WordPress apps to keep me plugged in and connected with the outside world. To periodically stretch my legs, I walk the second floor ‘concourse’ with its lovely view of the pool just below. Since bringing a suit failed to materialize, just like my underwear and fob, would anyone mind or notice if I chose to swim a few laps au naturel?
All of this – no change of underwear, unable to work today, having to burn another day of PTO, shelling out $200 for two nights of lodging – all of it just so we won’t miss tonight’s basketball game.
Guys: You better win this one.
SWARM Definition: Move somewhere in large numbers. Synonyms: flock, crowd, throng, surge, stream.
This describes the atmosphere in Hilton Coliseum after Iowa State beat inner state rival Iowa last December in a thrilling display of Cyclone domination! Students rushed the floor and arms swayed to and fro in time with Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline.
Victory was indeed sweet and seeing all the fans rushing the floor at the buzzer was a perfect way to seal the deal!
Watching the marching band perform pre-game today (another cringe-worthy loss – don’t ask), I snapped this photo of their – what DO they call these things: hats? helmets? head gear? – anyway, the Things They Wear On Their Heads – lined up like so many soldiers standing at attention on a brick wall near Alumni Hall. I like the orderly display of these elegantly adorned uniform pieces, each one outfitted in grand fashion with shiny medallion, gold braid and fluffy white plume.
The cadence of drums and clanging of cymbals, the cheers of the crowd and the pep squad routines all help to fire up the faithful before every game. The crowd claps and cheers their enthusiastic approval under a sunny sky that helps to offset the chilly, breezy November air. Our college mascot, on display throughout the huge tailgate lot on flags, banners, party RV’s, stocking caps and jackets, with our school colors of cardinal and gold, provides a colorful backdrop to bag toss games, grilling, canopies and liquid spirits. The carnival atmosphere, steeped in tradition, brings friends and family together for every home game ensuring fond memories for years to come – even when the win-loss record (such as is the case this particular season) is horribly out of balance.
Opening day of Iowa State football was gorgeous – sunny blue skies, slight breeze and warm temps. I love the carnival-like atmosphere of tailgating with the sights, sounds and wonderful aromas, friendly laughter and big-screen TV’s set up for watching the game in the parking lot for those folks without tickets. People-watching at its finest!
Too bad that the game, which started out so promising with a 14-0 lead early on, ended the way it did. Our beloved Cyclones lost 34-14. Ouch! Here’s hoping for better days ahead.