Hawk Talk Daily: Random Thoughts
Sept. 24, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Random thoughts after a very challenging day at historic Kinnick Stadium...
I was reminded this week that I've been an employee at the University of Iowa for 30 years. Tack on another five at Southern Illinois University (bachelors and masters degrees) and you have a lot of college football games on the sideline, in the press box, and/or in the grandstand. I can't say I've seen many like that which was played under the sunny skies that dominated Kinnick yesterday. Interesting officiating, interesting swings of mo', interesting oddities, and so many stark contrasts, e.g. a record-setting performance by Mike Meyer paired with an eye-opening effort by Mark Weisman against the backdrop of arguably the college football equivalent of a walk-off single.
We spent a portion of Friday night with a couple hundred of the best friends of the Iowa Hawkeyes. The event was the annual Kinnick Society dinner. The night started with an opportunity to gaze in amazement at the new indoor practice facility and ended with some inspirational and heartfelt comments from Aaron Kampman. The former Hawk and NFL All-Pro talked about how special being an Iowa Hawkeye is, particular for a "country boy" like him. Two points hit me between the eyes during the night, one that was a surprise, one that wasn't: The event was the 20th Kinnick Society event. Yes, 20! The other: Aaron told the group that NFL general managers seek out "Iowa guys." No surprise there. More times than not, the young men who are leaving Kirk's program with legitimate opportunities to play on Sunday are disciplined, well-coached, coachable, appreciative, eager to learn and do well, and responsible. Here's a link to an interview the HawkVision staff did with Aaron, who now calls Solon home with his wife and four children: HERE.
The only downside to attending the Kinnick Society event - and joining in the salute of the 19 friends of the Hawkeyes in attendance who are charter members of the highest level of philanthropic support of our student-athletes - was that it caused me to miss the Big Ten Conference home opener for Ron Rainey's nationally ranked Iowa women's soccer team. You can read about it and watch a video HERE. The Hawkeyes defeated Indiana and will entertain Purdue today at 1 p.m. at the Iowa Soccer Complex.
Kirk and Mary Ferentz and the Iowa football program's very successful "Iowa Ladies Football Academy" was recently a focus of the Big Ten Network's "Live Big" show. You can read about that initiative HERE. You can watch pieces of BTN's Live Big show featuring the Ferentz's HERE.
As Mike Hlas sometimes does, the Gazette's superior wordsmith pretty much took the words out of my mouth earlier this week: HERE. And, yes, in my opinion, what Mike suggests/infers about the Hawkeyes still stands true in spite of yesterday's outcome.
Congratulations to both Dish Network and the Big Ten Network for coming to terms on an agreement. The real winners here are the millions of Dish Network customers who have come to enjoy what BTN provides on a daily basis: Unmatched, in-depth, state-of-the-art coverage of the Big Ten Conference's 12 universities and intercollegiate athletics programs.
I'm sure you are like me: There are people you don't see on a regular basis but sure enjoy every opportunity your path crosses with theirs. Darrell Wilson is one of those guys for me. Our defensive backfield coach always seems to have a smile on his face - except, at times, on game days, of course - and, usually, when our all-too-irregular visits come to an end, I'm feeling a little more energized. Darrell is a keeper, as they say. He's also transitioned nicely into his new role on Kirk's staff. You can read about that HERE.
OK. So maybe the weather has turned a little nippy a little earlier than it should. It is, nonetheless, a reminder that in a few weeks we'll begin hearing the "thump," "thump," "thump" of roundballs on the hardwood in Carver. Have you purchased your season tickets to the home games of Fran and Lisa's squads? What are you waiting for? They need you and you're going to enjoy watching them. Place your order today...here's the link: HERE.
For what it's worthNo. 1: I don't think I'll ever grow tired of ESPN's College Football GameDay show. It's just a great, great, great way to being a college football Saturday.
For what it's worth No. 2: The abundance of college football on television in the evening is the perfect bookend to aforementioned.
For what it's worth No. 3: Watching Mark Weisman turn downfield with a head of steam is worth the price of admission and then some.
Have you registered for the opportunity to spend a few minutes on the field at Kinnick pre-game with our grounds crew? You can do so HERE Our good friends at John Deere are making this possible. I met our first winner and her husband the morning of the season opener. I'm not sure who was more excited about being there, her or him.
Speaking of "her's" and college football... According to a note tucked in the lower right hand corner of the sports page in Friday's Wall Street Journal: 78 percent of female college football fans who responded in a fan loyalty poll conducted by Discover said watching their favorite team play each week is either very important or somewhat important. Only 73 percent of male fans said the same. Perhaps this is more evidence supporting the argument that females are, in fact, the superior sex.
Sometimes you read the headline and chuckle. I did on this one: HERE.
Remember Floyd? The bronzed pig? He'll be making the trip to Kinnick next week. I trust the good people at the University of Minnesota have treated him well the past two years but, in all candor, all vacations must end. It's time Floyd comes home. Bring your "A" game to Kinnick next Saturday, Hawk fans, and help make that happen.
A little new and social black-and-gold media reminder for you: hawkeyesports.com is the center of our digital universe and rightly so. It filled with lots of good stuff: HERE. Hawkeye All-Access is our "Hawkeye TV" and, it too, has lots of good stuff including our new weekly "Hawkeye Sports Report": HERE.. Then, we have our Facebook page: HERE. More good stuff. Lastly, we have our Twitter page for those who like your Hawkeye information in chunks of 140 characters: HERE. As they say, Join the conversation!
I have paid zero attention of the substitute referees working in the NFL. I'm not sure what that means other than maybe I just haven't had time to think about it. I would say this, however: I can't imagine that job is as easy as some would like to think. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's a heck of a lot more difficult. Which may explain why they are a little slower than the real guys as reported HERE.
Maybe I shouldn't go here...but I will anyway. I'm among friends, right? So, on the one hand, you have Kirk. On the other, this guy named Lane: HERE. Kirk. Lane. Kirk. Lane. Kirk. Lane. Yeah. This one's pretty easy. I'll take Kirk.
I had a little good-natured fun last week when noting Royce Alger's attire for the on-field presentation of this year's National Varsity Club Hall of Fame class of inductees. I'm not going to repeat that two weeks in a row, but I am going to point you in a direction of a story about something just as sparkly and golden, the UI's new Golden Girl: HERE. Enjoy.