On Campus With Brent Blum

I'm not one to get very philosophical on a regular basis. I consider myself more of a smart-alik than a Socrates. But, while I sit here contemplating whether or not to study for my final tomorrow, my mind wants to do anything except study. So after pushing aside a 300 page book on Buddhism that I haven't started yet (sounds fun huh?), I got to thinking. Why did we all choose to be Cyclone fans?

Honestly, why do we put ourselves through all of this torture? Just in the past year, all of us have had to endure the OT gut-wrencher at Nebraska in October, the equally crushing OT loss two weeks later at Mizzou, and the game in November down in Lawrence that still gives me the shakes when I think about it. Not to mention, the entire soap opera surrounding the men's basketball program, starring Wayne Morgan as Susan Lucci.


I think if we ever track down Bin Laden way over there in Pakistan, we should force him to be one of us in the Cardinal and Gold. He will give up on this terrorism thing in no time. In all seriousness, I find it hard to believe anybody readily chooses to be a Cyclone. Think about all of the sleepless nights and stress-filled hours you have spent all these years. All of that heartache for those few moments of ecstasy? The Cyclones are like a significant other who continues to irritate you and raise your blood-pressure, yet you find yourself coming back again and again.


And that's what makes you a Cyclone fan. You don't give up when a little turmoil tips the scales. You have to learn to be a Cyclone. It's an experience in and of itself. And goodness knows it isn't easy.


For me it started at the earliest of ages. Growing up I was faced with what would become a life-altering decision. Will I be a Cyclone or Hawkeye?


Little Brent Blum was actually born in the wretched place known as Iowa City. My mom was a tennis player and graduate of the U of I and my Grandpa has taught in the Political Science department for over 50 years at Iowa. However, pops was an Iowa State graduate to keep things balanced.


And so the epic battle started from the day I entered this world. Herkey or Cy? At times it was pretty ruthless. I was forced at the age of two to wear a Hawkeye uniform. Even worse it was a Chuck Long jersey.


But something happened when I was a toddler. Good prevailed over evil. Why that is, I'm not real sure. My dad would like to think he had something to do with it. After all, he lugged me and my two bros up to Jack Trice even in the worst of times. For whatever reason, I found myself cheering for Blaise Bryant over Ronnie Harmon. I figured out early on that it was too easy to be an Iowa fan. Anybody could root for a team that won all the time, but it takes some heart to back a team that lost to UNI twice in a three year span.


Being a Cyclone was and is an exercise in courage. Pure and simple. I liked to think it toughened me up for the real world. Plus it was so thrilling to boo the heck out of Acie Earl. He was the first of a long list of my least favorite Hawks.  


But in all actually the tumultuous parts of being a Cyclone make the high points that much greater.


Do you remember where you were when JaMaine Billups streaked down the sideline against Pitt? How great of a feeling was that. Just thinking about Pete Taylor's call gives me goosebumps: "Here's the punt..it spirals out, now kind of wobbles out, Billups makes the catch 30 yard line..35…up to the 40…midfield…he's down the sideline…He MIGHT GO…TOUCHDOWN JAMAINE BILLUPS!! HOW ABOUT THAT?!!!!!

That is one of many memories that give me chills to this day.


How about Klay Edwards' jump hook against Cincinnati? Kantrail Horton's bomb from the Kansas logo in Allen Fieldhouse?


I haven't graced this earth for that long, but those moments were elation defined. Very few things can rival the joy of a Cyclone success. Jacy Holloway's unexpected three against KU in the last Big 8 tourney was more enjoyable for me than my first slow dance with the good-looking girl in sixth grade. I ran around the living room quicker than a J.J. Moses punt return, pumpin' my fists like Johnny Orr after Jacy hit that dagger. That's what keeps us coming back. (And also why some call me abnormal.) 


The many disappointments like the one in Kansas last November will allow us to savor that time when ISU finally does break down that Big 12 North barrier. It will happen. They said we wouldn't land on the moon or fly cars either… OK, at the very least, we can hold out hope.


Being a student up here only reinforces my connection to the Cardinal and Gold. Seeing the athletes around campus and going to class makes me really appreciate their athletic efforts. In my second ever class at Iowa State, I sat behind a tall, older gentlemen. I swear I recognized the back of his head from somewhere. As this large man turned to give me the Physics 101 syllabus for the semester, my face went into a bit of shock. Jeff Grayer was sitting in front of me in Physics. It was the coolest thing. I wanted to ask him about the days with Horny or with Chris Mullin and Billy Owens at Golden State, but I was too much of a coward. Every day he showed up and sat in front of me and nobody even knew who he was. And I'm pretty sure he received a better grade than I did. Not that I cheated off the leading scorer in Cyclone history or anything.  


Every day, I see something up here that makes me thankful that I am a Cyclone even more. I went to Dairy Queen last month and saw Jason Scales working the Blizzard machine for some extra spending money. Rahshon Clark studied next to me in the library. I sat next to former Cyclone forward Marcus Jefferson on the bus on Monday. These kids are just like the rest of us, only a bit more talented.


We are all in the same boat. We are all Cyclones trying to steer past the multitude of ice-bergs to find the Promised Land. And once we do, imagine the amount of tailgating and celebration that will ensue.


Why do we choose to be Cyclones? Who knows? But one thing is certain; I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.


Now back to that finals thing.      



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