(I’ll bet a lot of you have a lot of stories about where you were and what you felt after watching a certain college football game on Saturday. Feel free to use the comments section to join the conversation.)
While in the Michigan State press box late Saturday night, I got a four-word text-message from a Cedar Rapids friend.
“My dad can’t talk.”
It wasn’t a health problem, unless there is such a thing as feeling too good.
Surely thousands of other Hawkeye fans were momentarily rendered speechless by their team’s 15-13, last-play win over the Spartans.
While in the van taking the Gazette/KCRG-TV crew from Spartan Stadium to Lansing’s Capital City Airport early Sunday morning, I got a phone call.
A good friend, a transplanted Iowan who has lived in Las Vegas almost a quarter-century, was a little tipsy and a lot giddy. He had watched the Iowa-MSU game in an off-Strip Vegas establishment called McMullen’s Irish Pub with 100 or so people, about two-thirds of them Iowans. There were a few Cedar Rapidians in the joint.
“I jumped on the bar after that touchdown,” he said. “I’m 49 years old. I have no idea how I did it.
“I’ve never been married and never had a kid. This might be the greatest night of my life.”
I heard a vaguely similar story — though not involving bar-leaping — about an Iowa State grad who watched the tail end of the Cyclones’ 9-7 win at Nebraska Saturday afternoon in a Cedar Rapids drinkery after attending a wedding.
Isn’t it something how a last-second catch here or a defensive stand there can give people memories for, well, a lifetime?
Young-adult Iowa fans have repeatedly heard about Iowa’s 12-10, last-second win over Michigan in 1985 from their elders. It’s someone else’s history.
Those of the Hawkeye persuasion who are old enough to have cared about such things 24 years ago can and do tell you where they were when Rob Houghtlin made the field goal that kept Iowa unbeaten and No. 1 in the rankings.
Twenty-four years from now, current fans will probably be telling the next generation about that October night at East Lansing in 2009.
No Cyclone fan under 32 was alive the last time Iowa State won at Nebraska. Oh, there have been a lot of bad beatings there for ISU since its last win in Lincoln, in 1977.
Not Saturday. It will be a long, long time before the images of Paul Rhoads and his players celebrating with Cyclone fans in Memorial Stadium fade.
By the way, if Iowa State wins two of its final four games (and maybe just one), Rhoads has to be the Big 12’s Coach of the Year.
Football days like Saturday come along about once a decade and maybe longer in our state. When Iowa State and Iowa both have victories that make their fans tingly on the same day, how do you quantify a thing like that?
I’m guessing a lot of people in this state slept less than they normally would on Saturday night and woke up happier than they normally would on Sunday morning.
Dare one ask what’s next?