Taking in the big game--Iowa versus Nebraska in football
It was by sheer chance that Iowa was playing Nebraska on the Saturday that I had free before heading back east on Sunday. I of course had no ticket, and would not pay the scalper's prices. So I had a lovely walk to and from Haug Heaven to the stadium, which happily for me were on the opposite sides of town. It was quite the experience!
Here is one of the buildings near the stadium.
As you approach the stadium things become very athleticlike. No surprise! Here is the corner of the Field House.
The many students outside the stadium sure know how to have fun. This part of the campus turns into one big party while the game is going on, and I suspect for sometime afterward as well. Here are a couple shots from one tailgate party that filled an entire parking lot.
If you are wondering what those funny looking things around the doors are, I guess they are the remains of the top after they cut it off. But, hey, it wasn't raining, so who the heck cared? You can see that nearly all the students are bending their social elbows, although I rather suspect that they would refer to it in different terms.
My first view of the stadium after rounding a corner.
Knowing I might never darken these corners again and that I had a good camera with me, I approached this ticket-taker and explained how I was just passing through and how nice it would be if he would let me walk to the end of the nearby ramp and take a couple quick pictures. He would have me in his view the entire time, and I would not linger. He was kind enough to let me do it, and the results are shown in the two gorgeous photos below. On the way out, I offered to take his picture. If anyone at U. Iowa knows this guy, please tell him thanks again and give him the address of my home page!
As it turned out, the Iowa fans had little to cheer that day--they were soundly thrashed by Nebraska. Here they are in their customary sitting pose. They made the most of every occasion to stand up and root the team on, though, as seen in the next shot.
At least where I was, things were pretty peaceable in the stands. Maybe it's hard to be rowdy when you're getting your butt kicked.
This is a shot from the north end of the stadium, as I was hunting for the huge private buses that Greg had told me about. He said that well-to-to alumni of Iowa would buy used Greyhound buses for $500,000, fix them up, and use them to travel to Iowa's football games both home and away. That intrigued me, and I decided to try to find them. The guard at this gate told me to just keep on walking and I would see them.
Before the buses came the trucks, and big suckers, too. This one carried the football equipment. Want to put a price tag on this rig?
Former band member that I am, I was delighted to see that the second rig was for the band. You're not in Rhode Island any more, bunky! I photographed the rear and of the trail just to prove that I wasn't having a dizzy spell.
A little farther were the buses. This one would do anyone proud, but it was just the beginning. I spoke with the guy sitting there, and he told me that this bus belonged to a friend of his. The bus behind it, though, was owned by another friend who had sunk a cool $850,000 into it. To do that, you have to own six or eight businesses, as these guys to.
Here's the big one, with grandma watching the baby while mama (from another bus) is taking in the game. Talk about luxury! The guy behind the first bus said something about one of the side doors lifting up to reveal a 36-inch television complemented by a full stereo system. Well, tailgaters need music, don't they?
I caught my breath and walked around some more. Soon I ran into this happy group of tailgaters. When I saw the corn, I knew I had to photograph this guy. I walked over and blurted out something like, "I MUST take your picture!" He took it all in stride, even when I asked him to turn and give me a side view of the corn (next picture). We chatted for a while. His group, "The Mosquitoes," is a support group for the annual summer Ragride, in which Iowans bike the length of the state. That's all I know about it except that it's evidently a big event.
A good time is being had by all the Mosquitoes
A better view of the group.
Next stop was the Iowa Hawk Shop, where I decided to buy a souvenir of the game.
I wound up with a white cap that said "Hawks" on the front. These two young women helped me pick it out, nodding approvingly thoughout the process. They were a bit nonplussed when I photographed them. They went bug-eyed when I told them that in about two weeks they would be on the Internet. I gave the smaller one the address of my web site, and she promised to check regularly. So if you're viewing this, O nameless one, send me an E-mail message and let me know! One fun side-effect of the Iowa hat, which I put on right away, was that for the rest of the day people asked me, "How did we do?" I didn't learn the score until I arrived back in Rhode Island! Some football fan, huh?
What's a big football game without a gaudy pink Cadillac? It was owned by a local FM station and displayed proudly for all to see. I for one, enjoyed looking at it!
A scene as I was leaving the area of the stadium.
One need never go hungry or thirsty at Iowa football games. I would have love to stop and try a few, but I had dawdled over breakfast chewing the corn with Nila, and still had a field of dreams and a corn maze to find, so I passed it by. In that sense, I was in the minority.
Nothing like getting some perspective on things. These students were actually a pretty quiet group, as were most of the students on the edges of the game.
The last view of the stadium.
Vendors like this were all over the place. And why not? There
are a lot worse things in this world.
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