GUEST COLUMN: FROM MY FRIEND G, WHO IS FROM CANADA, WHICH EXPLAINS HER WEIRD SPELLING

by Steve Clem on September 5, 2010

I finally belong….

The 2010 college football season is about to begin and there are no words to describe the way I feel about this game, or how it has changed my life.

About 3 years ago I was inadvertently led to an online football message board and while there I started to get to know some real down to earth, genuine people. Each day I’d post about some random topics and engage in everyday conversation and banter.

These average folks posting along with me live in small town America and truly love their football. Some might say it’s because they have nothing else to think about and nothing else to do, but I think they have something more than most. I think they belong to something simple, yet unspoken, I know they belong to something more than just a game.

It seemed peculiar to me at the time, their unusual relationship to football and their relationship to each other, but as I got to know them I realized that they were bound to one another. Their Hawkeyes connected them and I was intrigued, like a science experiment I was drawn to uncover the secrets to the bond they formed.

At first I tried to buy into what they were selling, but I will be honest I thought those young guys tossing a football around in tight pants were just kids and the people who loved the game just got together to drink beer and hang out with other like minded. I didn’t know a “drop back” from a “drop kick” and I definitely didn’t realize why these people would count down the days until the next season started.

And now look at me, I’m counting down the hours like some love-sick teenager who spent an hour on the phone with her boyfriend, but is waiting for it to get dark so she can climb through her bedroom window just to spend whatever time she can with him. I admit it, it’s addicting. The more time I have had, the more time I want, and I never want it to end.

This probably seems a bit foolish to anyone who doesn’t love college football, especially the Hawkeyes the way I do and I am continuously questioning how it all happened. All I can say is that something transpired the first time I went to a game in Iowa City. On that crisp October morning I tailgated on the streets with almost complete strangers; I simply never felt alone, or uncomfortable. I was scooped up and taught immediately that being a part of game-day was full of tradition, a deep faith, a powerful loyalty, and patience for what’s meant to be.

To be part of this relationship you had to have staying power and you had to believe, always believe. Those Iowa Hawkeye fans never give up on their team and they never give up on anyone who comes along, curious about what they have, someone like me. They continue to embrace me, not only during the actual season, but each and every day until a new season starts. Talk about loyalty and faith, huh?

I don’t pretend to know what this season holds for my team; whether they will be winners or losers, and frankly I don’t care, that isn’t why I am here. You should know though that the promises by experts are that it will be an awesome year, with the word “championship” written all over the place.

If you are reading any predictions when it comes to college football, you won’t read an article anywhere regarding the Hawks that doesn’t state the expectation they will go far, further than they ever have in their history. Doesn’t that just make you want to watch one Saturday morning to see if “they” are right? I do.

It’s so tempting to think I am just star struck, and you know what I’m not going to lie, I am. When those eleven players walk out onto the field I get goose bumps, my heart swells with pride, and it’s a feeling I can’t describe.

I will tell you this though, my being enamoured with the Hawks has nothing to do with them winning, it is because I know those young men play each Saturday because I am there, and because I care and that is why I belong to the Hawkeyes.

It is why I also belong to the tens of thousands of other followers just like me, who shout each week, for 12 weeks, “LET’S GO HAWKS, LET’S GO HAWKS, LET’S GO HAWKS!” Every chance they get.

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Steve Clem originally published this piece on the blog A Prisoner in the Tundra.

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