Tag Archives: Football

First alumnus to be Iowa State president…

Iowa State University announced a new president this past week.

Others have written more insightful comments about the choice of Wendy Wintersteen than I can. But I did want to report on my own small contribution to the broader historical record; that contribution was simply maintenance, but it seems that such maintenance is needed.

In perusing the online reactions to this announcement, I happened upon a story by the Iowa Informer. I was vexed to see Wintersteen described as the first Iowa State alumnus to become its president.

I knew for a fact that Iowa State’s 10th president, James Hilton, was an alumnus.

Happily, the Informer was responsive on Twitter and updated the story. I remain a bit resistant to their assertion that “alumnus” is gender-neutral… but they did change the story, not only to use the modern, gender-neutral “alum” but to describe Wintersteen as “the second” such. Cheers.

Meanwhile, I’m willing to take their word that “multiple sources were saying she was the first.” It wasn’t correct, but I’m aware that such historical record “resets” happen. In fact, this is the second time I have been involved in pushing back against one which involved a central-Iowa university…

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Opting out of the NFL

I may do a year-in-review post a bit later, but for the moment I feel like writing a bit about a minor item of 2014, in most ways: turning aside from the NFL.

I suppose the arc of my interest in the NFL spanned about 20 years. Up until high school I never took particular interest in sports, as participant or spectator. Then… peer pressure, I guess? I wasn’t drinking, smoking or taking part in any other illicit activities, but I also wasn’t comfortable with isolating myself completely from the mainstream of my peers. Adopting a team* popular among some of their number worked for me.

I think the NFL must have been the first sport/league of which I really developed a functional understanding. The NES classic Tecmo Super Bowl was undoubtedly a great help here. The 1990 season has remained my baseline for evaluating NFL affairs ever since, in a lot of ways. I still bust out this 8-bit masterpiece from time to time, too. I played a couple games of “Tecmo” just last night in fact.

In 2014, though, that has been about it for NFL stuff.

After 20 years, I simply did not return from the (period formerly known as the) off-season this year. Just didn’t really feel like it.

There is no one reason, as usual. The revolting spectacle of millionaires vs billionaires in a greed-off a couple of years ago was probably a big shove. Since then, as most observers would acknowledge, the NFL has been through a series of scandals adequate to prompt “will football survive” essays. The league’s predictable stonewalling has not exactly fed or watered my enthusiasm for it, nor has the continued extortion, by millionaires and billionaires, of public money.

I should emphasize that I don’t regard dropping out of NFL nation as a test of moral superiority. I have abandoned neither college football nor the NBA, each of which shares more than one of the NFL’s offenses. I can quibble about how the NFL seems worse, when all is added up, but the difference is ultimately quantitative rather than qualitative; if it’s wrong to be a fan of the NFL then it’s wrong to be a fan of those other entertainments. I can’t go quite that far. All of them are compromised, certainly, but we live brief lives in a fundamentally compromised world, and on the list of Evils that People Should Stop Enabling, the NFL is a long way from the top. Even I don’t make it through the day on virtue and righteousness alone; if the NFL makes existence a bit more bearable for you, I think “go right ahead” is an entirely valid answer.

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Dear Cyclone football: never back down

I was sightseeing in Chicago over the weekend, so I missed the Big Game. My brother called immediately afterward and provided a recap, though, and what a sweet sequence of events. ISU prevailed, plus, ISU prevailed as a direct result of Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz outsmarting himself. Whooops. Thanks, U of I campus police, for this apt summary:

Coach Rhoads roars with laughter as Ferentz looks on… yep, that about sums it up

Bwa ha ha

Reading afterward, though, I noticed that the Des Moines Register was making noises about ending this series. It seems to be a bit more than just a daft Randy Peterson idea, also. Not only were fan reactions mixed, but the relevant officials seemed less than committed to sustaining this rivalry.

I could spend time deconstructing this, but I just want to make one point, for whatever my opinion is worth: if and when this series is interrupted (again), it should not happen with any formal approval from ISU. Ignore Peterson’s arguments that halting The Big Game would be to Cyclones’ advantage. Don’t give the Hawks cover, guys. If they want to cop out, fine. If they want to offer up excuses, claim that it has never been important to them, revive the arrogant and now ludicrous muttering about “quality” opponents, fine. That’s their business.

But please, Cyclone football, make it clear that ISU stands ready to challenge the Hawks any time, anywhere (in a manner of speaking, at least, since college football games follow a fixed schedule negotiated well in advance). Do that, and honor will be ours no matter what, no matter the result of any “last game” before Iowa slinks off to seek wins elsewhere.

We will never surrender.