I Was There: Iowa invades Chicago

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!

19 thoughts on “I Was There: Iowa invades Chicago

  1. L.A.- Here I thought with our bonding over Scotty Ro and his super cutie pie back up Brendan Ryan you were going to be my new best friend. Guess it was too good to be true Miss Hawkeye, I live in Champaign, IL and am a die-hard Illini fan. I guess we will have to agree to disagree on that one, huh? I am loving the college football posts though. I was in STL on Saturday for the ultimate double header Illini football at the dome, then on to the stadium for the Cards game… it was awesome. Had a little trouble transitioning from baseball to football though, kept calling back up Illini QB, Eddie McGee, “Wille McGee” by mistake, and my pal Nik actually said “Look they are taking Juice (injured starting QB) to the dugout, I mean clubhouse, I mean locker rooom.” I very much share your love of the marching bands though, and I totally get a kick out of the pink locker room in Iowa City… it is legendary even here in Champaign. Actually I will be in Iowa City for the Illinois vs. Iowa game in about six weeks… any “can’t miss” place we have to check out in Iowa City?… I am guessing we won’t be allowed in the pink locker room :) Oh, and excellent tailgating on the fly skills- the cardboard box/garbage bag cooler is very “MacGyver”

  2. Hey, I got no real animosity against Illini football. I guess we can be friends until basketball season starts. : )

    For bars in Iowa City, I like more chill, sports-bar or pool hall type places, so I’d recommend Joe’s Place, The Sports Column, Brothers, Martini’s, The Deadwood (best Blood Marys EVER). However, on a football weekend everything is going to be PACKED.

    Lucky girl, seeing one of the wins over the Reds. That’s awesome. I wish we were playing better today…..

  3. OK so buddies until basketball then. It will be less fun to be a Hawkeye basketball hatah this season though, now that Alford is gone. Besides the awful helmet hair, he was a former Hoosier turned Hawkeye, a double whammie for the Illini :) Today’s Cards game has been awful, I had to turn it off :(

  4. Ohmigod. I haven’t thought about the Column in years. Waaaah! I miss Iowa City!

    Jano, I’m a devout Hawkeye, also living in Champaign. I have plenty of aminosity over everything orange and blue. *eg*

    Alford’s a Hoosier and a puke, though. You’re right about that. May all the Southwest enjoy his helmet hair and his obnoxious, Hoosh wife. Good riddance.

  5. Oooh! and Micky’s! Micky’s Margaritas on Wednesdays will put you on your ass. Fries and ranch dressing. Free popcorn. I could go on. I’m with Jennifer, I miss Iowa City.

    Did anyone ever hit up the Atlas martini Thursdays? Those weren’t bad either.

  6. Woohoo! Marching bands! Iowa’s is one of two Big Ten bands I don’t think I’ve ever seen (Minnesota being the other). And our band was definitely the only good part of Saturday.

  7. Deadwood Bloody Mary’s. Yep. I second that emotion.

    When we were there, the Deadwood crowd was, ummmm, interesting. ; ) A friend that I met after college used to work there and her stories are highly entertaining.

  8. I visited Iowa for the 2001 wrestling NCAA’s, and stayed at the hotel at the end of the Ped Mall-goodness what a good time. The bars were a blast, and the Iowa crowd respected wrestling-a very cool thing.

  9. Thanks for the Iowa City highlight tour ladies. Jennifer, glad you agree on the Alford helmet hair, he always wore hideous suits when he came to Champaingn too. A Hawkeye in Champaign, how do you do it? This town is so completely Orange & Blue crazy… bet you want to poke your eyes out (or our eyes out) with a fork some days.

  10. chitowntiger – We Iowans love our rasslin’ : )

    Jano – Ummm, sometimes it’s hard, but we talk a lot of shit and teach our sons to say, “Go Hawk-iiiiiiiiii’s!” as soon as they can speak, so it’s fun, too. It’s more fun when we’re winning and you’re losing, but we dish it out so we have to be able to take it, as well. : )

  11. If Christensen gets to play against the Huskies every game, he’ll never lose a start. As an NIU fan, this might be the first time in a while the offense doesn’t have a running back worth watching.

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