Sports rivalries exist in nearly every state. There are some states where the smack talk is a bit more significant. You’re bound to have more bitterness in a Chicago White Sox and Cubs battle than when the Montana Grizzlies meet the Montana State Bobcats.
When I first chose to go to school at Drake, one of the first things I realized was that there were no professional sports teams. Although I’m no longer an obsessive fan, I love supporting my state’s sports. I was certain that moving to Iowa meant the end to that.
But, like my assumptions that I’d be spending my weekends in the cornfields and many miles away from a mall, my ideas about Iowa were entirely wrong. Within my first week of school, I learned of a rivalry that turned friendly Iowans into trash-talking fanatics.
That rivalry, non-Iowans, is Iowa versus ISU.
Yesterday was the big showdown. The smack talk of this showdown, however, lasts throughout the entire summer. Also spring. Winter, too. And of course fall.
Although I’ve been an Iowan for the past five years, I’ve never chosen a team. I wish this weren’t true. I’d love to show support rather than respond “I’m not a Hawkeye or a Clones fan”…only to receive the same look as if I’d just asked “Now, what exactly is football?”
During this past weekend, I was probably asked my preference at least 50 times. In quite a few cases, I was asked the question before being asked my name. I received the awed expression an excessive amount of times when I revealed my response. Except when I was saved because the yellow tank top I was wearing meant I was surely a Hawkeyes fan [you better believe I rolled with that].
In Iowa, the school you support becomes part of your identity. On at least one day per year, a mutual love of football builds friendships and ferocity. You talk smack to the other team, take celebratory shots with your fellow supporters, and, in some cases, probably end up bonding back in the bathroom at the end of the night.
If I do stay in Iowa after I graduate, I’ve decided that I need to chose a team. I’m not sure how I’d do this exactly. What school’s shirt will I select? Do I jump on the Hawkeye bandwagon or go with the underdogs of ISU? Perhaps eeney, meeny, miny, mo is truly the way to go.