Putting Lipstick on a Pig

I found something positive to talk about this week. The Missus and I went to Des Moines Friday night to see the Iowa State Cyclone Hockey team play the hated Hawkeyes at KGGO Arena (the home of the REAL Des Moines Hockey team, the Buccaneers).

They had a fundraiser for Muscular Dystrophy where the players & Coach Murdoch auctioned off their game-worn jerseys for charity.  Since we're WAY too old to know who any of the current players are, my wife put in bids for Coach Murdoch's jersey and an autographed picture.  There were several ISU Hockey fans in attendance, and I enjoyed hearing some of the old-school cheers (but not the more "colorful" ones, I guess there were too many kids in attendance).  ISU came out of the gate with a goal at the 1:30 mark of the first period.  Wow, I was starting to think "Drake, 1987" and I actually did the calculations in my head to figure out how many goals we could get if we kept up that pace (the answer, if you're a little slow on the uptake, is 40 goals for the 60 minute game).  Of course, all those thoughts fell away when Iowa scored on a lucky shot about two minutes later.  ISU replied with a great goal through a crowd of defenders & ISU players through the goalie's "five hole", and we never looked back from that point.  ISU kept scoring goals, but Iowa could only manage one more in their 9-2 loss.  Iowa's goalie was a freshman from Norwalk, and the guy behind us was telling us that he was a big part of the Iowa H.S. champion team the year before. 


We ended up winning both of the auctions, and we got to go out on the ice to have our picture taken with Coach Murdoch.  He autographed the jersey for us, and we talked about a couple of mutual friends (I used to work for Outdoor Rec at ISU back in the day, and his office was two doors down from my old boss's office).  It was a good time, and it's great that they're trying to widen the appeal of ISU hockey to the Des Moines market.  We'll definitely be making a roadie to an ISU game this year, and we're event talking about going to an ISU road game with the tailgating bus.   Maybe Chris could have a "Win a Dream Road Trip With CYlent Bob" essay contest.  The winner could win a trip with our gang of malcontents (second place could be TWO road trips with our group?) to the ISU event of their choice (within 200 miles, the bus sure as heck isn't a Cadillac, so we limit our exposure to breakdowns by keeping the mileage low).


Football Saturday was somewhat disappointing.  My wife and I drove up separately, since I had to finish some work on the SE side of Des Moines on the way, and she had to pick up three of her nephews to take them to the game.  We got to Ames at 10 or so, and got to park in the lot along Elwood by 10:30.  Usually, that lot is full within an hour & a half of opening, but we found an open spot about 100 feet South of that lonely walnut tree where they stack up all the portapots.  We parked, mounted the pig on the front of the bus, and were immediately accosted by a group of young women who wanted to have their picture taken with Bobby.  Even when the team's in the crapper, Bobby's still "got it".  We fired up the grills, had our usual brats, beer & burgers, and my wife headed into the game at about 12:40.  I stayed outside for a few more minutes (I surrendered my ticket to the boys so they could all sit together – my parents decided to sit this one out in order to do some work around the farm) eating and drinking for another 20 minutes or so. 


The game was bad.  I mean "Showgirls" bad.  You ever get the feeling that you're caught in a trap, but you can't walk out?  (Yeah, "Suspicious Minds" is a great jam, yo)  I spent most of the game trying to think up Dennis Miller-esque descriptions of where I'd rather be.  Most of them are lame, so I'll spare you the agony of a list.  The worst part of the game was watching some of my favorite over-achievers make mistakes.  Brandtner fumbled a snap & got tackled on the one-yard line.  Kock coughed up a fumble in a scrum early in the third quarter when it looked like ISU had momentum for a comeback.  Baum fumbled a punt that led to an early KU touchdown.  Euseph Messiah didn't make any mistakes, but he didn't catch any passes either.  I love all of these guys because they're not five-star recruits, but they play with a white-hot passion for the game, and it hurt to see them suffer out there.  Moses was the lone bright spot on offense.  The defense started out great, but they had to be disappointed by the offense's inept performance.  Every time the defense held, or took away the ball from KU to give the offense another breath of life, the offense picked up the gun and (BAD FLASHBACK FOR ISU FANS HERE)……….shot all the Easter Eggs.  They didn't just shoot the eggs.  The shot the eggs, shanked the Easter Bunny with a rusted hunk of metal, peed in everyone's Easter Bonnets, and ate all the good jellybeans except for those damn black licorice ones. 


I don't want to talk about coaching changes while we've still got games on the board, and I hope Jamie Pollard agrees with me.  There will be plenty of time to discuss the future of ISU football after this season is over.  As for me, I'll be back at the game next week, but I'm not sure if I'll make it in to the game.  My brother in law Hooter, Hog Farmer & a couple of the Young Guns have already said that they're going strictly for the tailgating on the 18th, and I can't really argue with them.  I'd like to go into the game to pay my respects to Coach Mac and the seniors, but it's been a long, painful season.  Either way, I'll be in Ames for Mizzou, and I'll tune in to the Colorado game to see if we can finally get off the schneid next weekend. 


On the bright side, I think my wife found a way to lay the whammy on Iowa.  She usually leaves the radio in the spare bedroom on when we leave to go to Ames "so the cats can listen to the game".  We haven't exactly set the world on fire since she started doing that, so I suggested that we let them listen to "Flipper & Otis" do the Iowa game on WHO instead.  Whaddya know, it worked.  Northwestern 21, Iowa 7.  We'll be doing this again for the Wisconsin & Minnesota games, so maybe we can stop hearing about "New Years Day Bowls".


Am I still optimistic?  Not really, but I'm still here.  Go Cyclones, and see ya out in the lots, Clone Fans (that means you too C. Will.  We've still got to get your picture taken with the pig.)

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