Iowa plays TCU in the 2nd round of the NIT this Sunday, March 18th, at 4:00 pm. I will be in attendance with my father, brother, and friend. What colors I will be wearing is up for debate, here’s why:
I was born and raised in Des Moines in the midst of a Hawkeye family. None of my family members actually went the University of Iowa, so we were “those” fans. But we still cheered hard whenever the Iowa was on. Some of my most fond memories are huddling around our old 27″ tube TV, watching the grainy feed of ESPN+.
As I grew older, my love for the Hawkeyes didn’t change, it only deepened. Luke Recker, Reggie Evans, Jeff Horner, Greg Brunner, Brody Boyd all populated my mind whenever winter rolled around. I ended up applying to Iowa, but not going. I went the small (read: tiny) school route to play football (I was a kicker/punter), but even then I would go to Iowa football games when I didn’t travel for the away games.
Hell if there’s any question of my commitment to all things Hawkeye, I was repeatedly chastised by my fraternity brothers for watching the Lickliter years. I spurned parties in order to huddle into my small dorm room to get my gut punched in the race to 50 points.
I realized my wife had a thing for me when she would plop down beside me for two hours when I pledged my night to Iowa (granted it took a couple times for me to figure this out). My brother (who became an actual Iowa grad) and I can leave our petty differences aside when we watch games together. My Saturdays in Fall are still patterned by the football schedule.
All of this is to say my heart is squarely on the side of Iowa in this fight. Being a Hawkeye’s fan is integral to my social identity.
But I’m a bit of a double agent. On my Master’s diploma, it reads Texas Christian University. For four years I lived in Fort Worth, TX and went to seminary at Brite Divinity School on TCU’s campus. I walked the halls of TCU’s classrooms. I ate in the cafeteria. I played pick-up basketball in the Rec. I spent hours reading and writing in the library. I drank pitchers of beer at Dutch’s and ate wings at Buffalo Bros. I went to football and basketball games in the student section where I cheered “Riff Ram Bazoo, give ’em hell TCU!” and sang “Hail, all Hail, TCU…”
I was even employed by the athletic department as a tutor in Religion and History (all TCU students are required to take one history and one religion class.) I tutored people in the NFL (Josh Doctson & Treyvone Boykin initially come to mind) and the MLB (Brandon Finnegan), among all the scores of athletes who don’t play professionally. I had a vested interest in how TCU athletics did because it was my job to make sure they were academically eligible to play.
SIDE NOTE: I also know some of the ridiculous rules the NCAA puts on such tutors. Case in point, if a student didn’t have a pen or pencil, I couldn’t give one to the student. That’s a violation.
I proudly wear purple on Fridays now because that’s what you do for TCU. And so my head is undoubtedly in TCU’s camp. I went there. I bled there. I gave them money. I met my wife there. I got to know some of my now life-long friends there. TCU is the place where I came into my own as a person.
By all accounts, I should root for TCU on Sunday. It’s a no-brainer. There is no rational argument for Iowa, but I’m still torn. Iowa is integral to my identity, I can’t seem to let it go. Do I go with my heart or my head?
Well, the heart wants what the heart wants…