Bernard and Stephanie Carty at the 2010 Orange Bowl.
Dec. 26, 2010
IOWA CITY, Iowa - In the holiday season of giving and sharing, the UI Athletics Department invited the greatest fans in the world to share their most memorable black-and-gold experience. The wide variety of responses were full of unforgettable memories and reminiscent of why, "It's Great to be a Hawkeye!" After having the privilege of reading each submission, a total of seven lucky winners were selected for online publication. We will post one entry per day on hawkeyesports.com from Dec. 21-27. Today's entry comes from Stephanie Carty in Caledonia ON:
"My Hawkeye memory stems from last year. I have been following the team closely for the past few years and I was excited with their performance in 2009. I remember eagerly watching the bowl announcement to learn that the Hawkeyes would be playing Georgia Tech. My dad and I said, `How awesome would it be if we were at the game.' My family is from Ontario Canada so I knew heading down to the game was going to take some planning. I jumped online and found a couple flights to Orlando scheduled the day before the game.
As the days passed, my excitement continued to mount. On Christmas morning I found an Orange Bowl t-shirt under the tree to wear to the game. My sister, who currently attends the University of Iowa, bought the shirts for my dad and me. The anticipation was causing me sleepless nights and the topic of conversation around the dinner table never strayed far from our enthusiasm for the Orange Bowl.
The most nerve-racking time was the day of our flight to Florida when a snow storm was attempting to ruin our air-tight plan. At one point we feared the worst, but we luckily escaped with only a delay at the airport. After our plane was de-iced we were soaring through the air. Both my dad and I were already sporting the fashionable Iowa Hawkeye shirts we got for Christmas, along with other paraphernalia we collected over the years. As we landed safely in Orlando, we were relieved to finally settle down in our hotel and start preparing for the trip to Miami the next morning. The following morning (game day) my dad and I picked up a rental car and made the drive down to Miami.
We were excited for the entirety of the drive. As we got closer to the stadium we began to see more and more fans with Hawkeye flags pinned outside of their car windows and honking and cheering as they passed other cars decorated in a similar fashion. This was an experience that I never would have had back home. This was truly once in a lifetime.
As we came upon Land Shark Stadium to join in on the tailgating and meet other Hawkeye fans we could feel the anticipation of the game in the air. Soon after we saw both teams being brought to the stadium by a police escort, the marching band, and black and gold EVERYWHERE!!!!!
The Hawkeyes ended up winning the Orange Bowl and we were all excited, but it is not just the game I will remember. For me it was the whole journey that made the moment of the game more special. I continue to bleed black and gold today and I am excited to make more of these types of memories as the Hawkeyes continue to show their colors across the Big Ten and future BCS bowl games!"
- Stephanie Carty
Thank you, Stephanie, for sharing your story and congratulations on winning six tickets to a home men's or women's basketball game of your choice this winter. Stephanie is now one of seven finalists eligible to win 10 tickets to a 2011 non-conference home football game of their choice. The winner will also receive a souvenir football and a $50 gift certificate redeemable at the concessions stands at Kinnick Stadium.
If you submitted a story that was not selected for online publication, you'll be placed in a pool and eligible to win six tickets to a non-conference home game of the 2011 Iowa Hawkeyes.
The randomly selected winners will be announced at halftime of the Insight Bowl on the Official Iowa Football Blog.