It was like a bowl game in September. Seriously. The Hawkeyes are notoriously good travelers because the entire state is corn, cows and Hawkeye football. Since this faux-bowl was right next door in Illinois, we showed up in droves. The estimate was that around 50,000 Hawkeye fans were in attendance, with thousands having gotten their tickets from the Northern Illinois ticket office when the Iowa ticket office ran out.
Friday night was the Hawkeye Huddle down on Navy Pier. That place was a complete zoo and was definitely a display of Iowa’s finest. There was a 45 year-old man who wanted to buy me beer and kept repeatedly calling me “honey.” There was a woman in her 50s who had obviously had quite a lot to drink and kept fist-bumping my mom about the video screen, the band, the announcer, the fact that she got a new drink, that we were also, in fact, Hawkeye fans. Imagine that.
Every time the Big Ten Network was mentioned in connection with giving away free tickets to the game (which were not cheap), there was a loud chorus of “BOOOOOOO” echoing throughout the pavilion. The best was how my mom kept asking me how she could get some Hawkeye beads and I didn’t have the heart to tell her that she’d probably have to flash for them. I also heard “Sweet Home Alabama” no less than 3 times, with the final time being sung by the female lead singer of some cover band. That song should never be sung by anyone other than a 250 lb man sporting an Oak Ridge Boys beard.
Have another beer, mom…..
Saturday dawned with the Lady Andrea family realizing their collective wires got crossed and nobody had brought any tailgating paraphernalia, so we stopped at a liquor store for beer and then got a convenience store clerk to give us a giant cardboard box, a big black trash bag to line it, and a bunch of ice. PRESTO! Instant cooler. Mama Lady Andrea had 3 beers and was totally looped. On our walk from the parking lot to the stadium, we crossed under a highway that had wooden planks on the bottom and she was lifting her beer in the air and singing “Under the Boardwalk.”
No grill, no chairs…….but we had BEER and BEEF JERKY!
The stadium looked like some kind of bastard child of the Colosseum and the Men in Black spaceships. However, our seats 4 rows from the top of the highest spaceship afforded a beautiful view of downtown and Lake Michigan. They also weren’t bad seats to watch the game. I hadn’t realized how much I missed Iowa City and home games until the band took the field. I LOVE MARCHING BANDS! The football team looked decent, especially the defense. I would’ve liked to see a few less dropped passes, but when one of your top receivers decides to really test Capital One’s no-hassle fraud policy…..that’s what you get (thanks, Mathew).
Look! It spells “Hawks!”
After the game, my brother, his girlfriend and I traipsed up to Wrigleyville for food and we were going to go out, but got too tired because we are (apparently) old and lame. We realized if we left right after we were done eating, we could make it back to the hotel while the hot tub was still open, so we rode the train for 40 minutes and then got a cab to the hotel. The cabbie (I swear to god) kept farting, and apologizing as he sprayed his pine tree air freshener. If I hadn’t been sitting on the side of the mini van that doesn’t have a door, I would’ve Charlie’s Angel-rolled my way out onto I-290. The hot tub was quite possibly the best thing I’ve ever slipped into. Heh. I had a great time. GO HAWKS!