No patriot act

Published: November 19 2010 | 12:01 am - Updated: 31 March 2014 | 8:40 am in

Communism isn't as chic as it used to be, but we are talking about Iowa City and the University of Iowa.

There is a possibility that Ricky Stanzi may have sat in on a class with a communist. Yes, the American quarterback, the "Love it or leave it, USA No. 1" quarterback, might have shared class space with a Marxist, socialist or communist. We are talking Iowa City and the University of Iowa.

"I don't know how other colleges are, but when you walk around here, you've got people . . . you've got guys walking around in dresses and just these hippies," Stanzi said. "They're doing nothing. There's the Ped Mall area down there, right in the middle. Those people are going nowhere. Those people are the people who don't like America."

And off we go.

The No. 21 Hawkeyes (7-3, 4-2 Big Ten) face off with No. 8 Ohio State (9-1, 5-1) today at Kinnick Stadium. It's all-American day, basically. The UI plans to air a video salute to Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta and all veterans at Kinnick Stadium. The salute will contain video from Tuesday’s Medal ceremony and likely will air before the game. Giunta was invited to attend Saturday’s Ohio State-Iowa football game, but can’t because of a scheduling conflict, according to Iowa associate athletics director Rick Klatt.

A military fly-over also is scheduled. Also, Iowa wrestling legend and ’72 Olympic gold medalist Dan Gable will serve as the team’s honorary captain this week.

Terrific setting for Stanzi, the quarterback who really does love America.

It's not an act. It's not a gag. Yes, Stanzi did pull one of the all-time funnies when thrown an indecipherable question from Fox's Chris Myers in the postgame of the Hawkeyes' Orange Bowl victory last January.

“Of course, there’s nothing better than being American,” the Iowa quarterback said to Fox Sports reporter Chris Myers after Iowa’s 24-14 victory over Georgia Tech. “. . . If you don’t love it, leave it. USA, No. 1.”

That was funny, but the sentiment behind it is genuine. Stanzi says this isn't some extension of Will Ferrell's "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby."

"There's definitely something real. It's definitely real," said Stanzi, one of 26 Hawkeye seniors who'll play their final game in Kinnick today. "People always talk about it being from "Ricky Bobby." It wasn't. It wasn't a joke. We're dead serious. That's literally how we feel.

"It's not something from Ricky Bobby or trying to be funny on national television. It was something that we talk about a ton. It was the first thing that popped into my mind, because it's how we feel."

The "we" here includes Stanzi's roommates, fullback Brett Morse and linebacker Jeff Tarpinian. They vouch 100 percent for the Stanzi's American fervor.

They've seen the rants, sometimes public, that back it up.

Tarpinian is from Omaha, so the trio made the College World Series a regular summer trip. They walked through the concourse and a gate area. People cut in line and there was some chaos.

Stanzi happened to be wearing a T-shirt from Tarpinian's high school, Millard North. It was from their student section at football games. It's black with 'security' on the back.

There's cutting in line. Tempers rise. The national anthem starts inside the stadium.

"Some guy from the line, 'Hey, security! Security! What's going on? Everyone is cutting us!' " Morse said. "Someone in line who was getting cut thought that Rick was the security guy. They start yelling at Rick when the whole place is quiet during the national anthem.

"I think you can imagine how he felt about that. He turned around and let that guy have a piece of his mind. It was definitely one of the top five hardest I've ever laughed."

Again, a tint of comedy, but it's real. Stanzi said he grew up in a family that valued patriotism.

Stanzi's dad, Joe, was in the Army. His uncle, John Stanzi, fought in the Vietnam war. His grandfather also was in the service, he said. "There's probably one person in every family," he said.

"There was alway an American flag hanging up in the house," he said. "There was always one hanging up outside. There was a lot of patriotic talk and having a lot of pride in your country and the freedom and not taking things for granted and working hard. You just kind of adopt those things."

There is some "moto" to Stanzi, sure. His moped sports an American flag and is covered in USA stickers. He yells out in the Iowa weightroom when Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" comes on or when the "Rocky" theme kicks in.

"That's just the way he is," Tarpinian said. "It was the way he was raised, it's the way his family is. He really respects our country and he's proud to be an American. Yeah, on the stage at the Orange Bowl, that was him being kind of goofy, but he does love America. There's no doubt about that."

Even Stanzi admits this thing has taken a life of its own. There's even a UI licensed "Love it or leave it" T-shirt. The senior class poster is all Americana, "It's a Hawkeye Football Nation: Love it or Leave it." Stanzi is holding the American flag in it, by the way.

"Everybody I live with is just like I am," Stanzi said. "We're always talking about it and it tends to take off from there. It turns into a quote and the next thing you know there are T-shirts.

"Little stuff over time has added up and now it's just exploded and everybody's just running with it. It's fun. It's great."

It's not a patriot act. It's not a joke. Take the topic up with Stanzi. Soon, you will find yourself in the throes of a passionate discourse, aka rant.

Thus, the Ped Mall commentary. Right or wrong, agree or disagree, it's Stanzi.

"They always find something wrong with [America]. They're the problem," Stanzi said. "They're the people who need to change and figure it out. They need to get it together and work hard.

"The people who are doing things right and working hard, they don't complain because there's no point in complaining. When something happens to you, you take it on the chin and keep moving forward."

If you need further verification, Stanzi does have "Made in the USA 1987" tattooed on his back.

"I didn't know if he was joking when I first got here, but when you see a 'Made in the USA 1987' on his back, you know he's pretty serious," safety Tyler Sash said.

Oh, he serious.

Not arguing for or against, but please consider the young man's outreach. This is the tip of the iceberg.

Extra quotage

Raw quotes and notes for this story.

Stanzi

From my family. My aunt who's on my arm was extremely patriotic. She was kind of the frontrunner in the family for all the patriotism. But just the way that I was raised, my dad, my aunt, my mother. Always American flags around. Always with that patriotic mindset. July 4th is the best holiday. Little things that you kind of build up and almost take for granted when you grow up. You don't think about it. There was alway an American flag hanging up in the house. There was always one hanging up outside. There was a lot of patriotic talk and having a lot of pride in your country and the freedom and not taking things for granted and working hard. You just kind of adopt those things. Then you come here and there are more guys like you, who've been raised that way. You talk about it. Everybody I live with is just like I am. We're always talking about it and it tends to take off from there. It turns into a quote and the next thing you know there are T-shirts. Little stuff over time has added up and now it's just exploded and everybody's just running with it. It's fun. It's great.

Core something real -- There's definitely something real. It's definitely real. People always talk about it being from "Ricky Bobby." It wasn't. It wasn't a joke. We're dead serious. That's literally how we feel. It's not something from Ricky Bobby or trying to be funny on national television. It was something that we talk about a ton. It was the first thing that popped into my mind, because it's how we feel. If Brett was up there, he probably would've said something like that. It just so happened it was me. Tarp, I live with him, too. He feels the same way. I know how they are. I think a lot of guys who play football tend to be patriotic. They know the hard work. You see that a lot. You see guys in the NFL with American flag tattoos. Pat Angerer, the first example. He's a huge patriot. When you're around those guys, you talk about it even more.

History of service in your family -- My dad was in the Army for a little bit, during a time of peace. My uncle John, dad's oldest brother, fought in Vietnam. My grandpa, my dad's father, was in the service also. There's a little bit there, but I there's probably one person in every family almost. There really is. There are a lot of people who can find someone Vietnam, someone in the Army. I have friends who've had brothers who've served. You tend to have a lot of pride in what they do. They're the real heroes. That's the toughest job you can probably do. It deserves more glory, but it's more of a team-oriented, not an individual thing. Those people don't want that. That's just tremendous on their part, what they do for the country.

It's not cool -- Classes with a communist -- Absolutely, it's very liberal over here, very liberal. I know what you mean. Some people think it is. You get to college and this seems to be the most liberal place ever. I remember telling that to my dad and he said, that's just how colleges are. I don't know how other colleges are, but when you walk around here, you've got people . . . you've got guys walking around in dresses. I've seen and hippies. They're doing nothing. There's the Ped Mall area down there. Right in the middle. Those people are going nowhere. Those people are the people who don't like America. They always find something wrong with it. They're the problem. They're the people who need to change and figure it out. They need to get it together and work hard. The people who are doing things right and working hard, they don't complain because there's no point in complaining. When something happens to you, you take it on the chin and keep moving forward.

Didn't vote -- I don't want to go in there and make a wild decision. -- I see the commercials. The commercials are funny, because seems to be bashing each other, but I haven't really learned about anybody and what they do. I just learn about what the other people aren't doing correctly. So, I don't even know who's good. Everyone seems to be bad.

Brett Morse

A gag -- He's very passionate and very serious. I think we're all very serious about it, but he takes it kind of to the next level on that front. He's very passionate about it. I'm sure you guys asked him a couple questions and got him going, huh?

College and patriotism -- communist -- Only a couple words would spark that rant, that's for sure. It's definitely entertaining when he gets on it. I've participated, sat through, listened in on and have been entertained, all those work. It's definitely fun to get him on a roll like that. -- Anything can spark him. On TV, someone says something. Sitting in the living room, driving around town, getting something to eat. Anything really can spark a rant like you heard yesterday.

Challenges -- No one challenges him. We all have very similar political views. -- No one on team -- No. I think they'd be worried about catching a rant themselves. No one challenges Rick.

Public? -- So, we're going into the College World Series. Tarp's from Omaha, we go every year. We're walking through general admissions up a big driveway into the stadium. About three-fourths or the way up, there's a fence that goes down a hill and there's this line. There are thousands of people walking through. Then, the game starts and there's a moment of silence for the national anthem. -- We're all sitting there. There are a couple thousand people on this ramp and the national anthem starts playing. --- Some guy from the line, 'Hey, security! Security! What's going on? Everyone is cutting us!' Rick had a Millard North shirt on. Their student section from high school. It was a Millard North shirt, it was black and all it said on the back was 'security.' So, someone in line who was getting cut thought that Rick was the security guy. They start yelling at Rick when the whole place is quiet during the national anthem. I think you can imagine how he felt about that. He turned around and let that guy have a piece of his mind. It was definitely one of the top five hardest I've ever laughed. Tears are coming from my face. That was an example in public. -- Reaction -- He gave him a piece of his mind about being respectful to the United States of America and the national anthem. Then he said, 'Hey buddy, it's a Millard North T-shirt. A T-shirt from Millard North, a high school. I'm not security.'

Sash

Every once in a while in the complex, 'Born in the USA' will come on in the weightroom. He'll start screaming and freaking out. Anytime the 'Rocky' soundtrack is playing, he's all about the USA. -- That kid has an American flag on his moped. USA stickers on his moped. He's all about the red, white and blue. -- Gag -- I kind of did. I knew kids like that in high school. I didn't know if he was joking when I first got here, but when you see a 'Made in the USA 1987' on his back, you know he's pretty serious.

Julian

I think a lot of people don't expect that out of a college football player. People have their ideas about how college football players are supposed to be, how we're supposed to act and think and what-not. There are political science majors who you'd expect patriotism from. Ricky could've done any number of things where patriotism would've been fully expected. I think it's genuine. That is the way he feels. I think people are surprised to hear it coming from him.

Communist -- We've got everything here. -- He has a way of keeping his poise and composure, so I don't think he'd hit the guy. But there would be a difference of opinions that would be hard to overcome. Knowing Rick and the kind of guy he is, I'm sure he'd give the other guy his two cents and would be willing to hear it back and maintain a dialog. I don't think he'd fly off the handle. -- We've never had a political discussion. All we really care about is America No. 1. Look at our senior poster.

Tarp

1021 -- Team America

Rants -- Someone was talking during the national anthem. He didn't like that. -- He wanted to make sure the guy took a minute and respected our country. He does think a lot of people take it for granted. A lot of people do. We've got it pretty good here. There aren't a lot of things we aren't able to do here in America. It's something he thinks people might take for granted.

Geniune -- That's just the way he is. It was the way he was raised, it's the way his family is. He really respects our country and he's proud to be an American. Yeah, on the stage at the Orange Bowl, that was him being kind of goofy, but he does love America. There's no doubt about that. --

Have you found an error or omission in our reporting? Is there other feedback and/or ideas you want to share with us? Tell us here.



Featured Jobs from corridorcareers.com