I had no intentions of going to ISU's Homecoming game against the Kansas Jayhawks. It didn't even matter to me that it wasn't going to be televised (thanks largely to the school's decision to change the start time). It's not like I was going to miss anything since it was only Kansas. But deep down, I did want to go. The weather was just too nice outside to miss a home game. Especially one that my Clones were favored to win. Especially after still having remnants of that Texas defeat fresh in my mind.
So I'm sitting at home Saturday morning minding my own business when I get a call from a 515 area code (that's central Iowa for all non-Iowans) that I didn't recognize. I normally would let an unidentified call go to voicemail (that's intentionally not set up), but I was a little curious. Glad I did answer it. It was an FB friend of mine calling to see if I wanted two tickets to the game. It seems her parents' friends had two extra tickets they didn't need and she didn't want to them to go to waste. The price couldn't be beat either. They were FREE! Well heck yeah I would take them!
I immediately looked at the clock to see how much time I was working with. It was just after 10am. I remembered my co-worker Lisa telling me that the players usually arrive at the stadium a couple of hours before kickoff (1pm in this instance). Their arrival was a tradition of sorts as they would be prefaced by a wailing siren from an old-fashioned fire engine then the buses would pull into the tailgate lots so all the fans could greet them and Coach Rhoads on their way to the Jack Trice Stadium. I had missed it the last couple of times but made sure we got there early enough to catch it this time.
Parking around Jack Trice on game day is an adventure in and of itself. Unless you have one of those coveted season passes, you're at the mercy of folks trying to do get over on us game-goers. The closest non-parking pass lot I found wanted $20. No way I was paying that much. I thought about parking at the dorms across the street and just taking the parking ticket that came along with it. Apparently the dorms had thought about that too. They had a guy positioned at the entrance to prevent that. However, the Rec Center right next to it didn't and their parking was free. It was about a three block jaunt from there to the stadium, but well worth it as opposed to paying $20.
Not only did we get there in time to see the players arrive but we also arrived early enough to get some decent tailgating food. No burgers and/or brats like I hoped, but there was some pulled pork what was off the chain. Not to mention enough snacks there coupled with the sammiches to get us full before the game. That way we only had to worry about getting drinks inside instead of paying their exorbitant concession prices for food.
I couldn't believe how good our seats were. We were seated on the lower level right around midfield about a couple of dozen rows up from the field. Easily the best seats we've had out of the few games that we've been to at Jack Trice. They were just right to get some excellent pictures as well as very clearly seeing the action all over the field without having to squint.
There were a couple of interesting things going on in the stands around us. Probably because of our very close proximity to the student section. One was this gal in front of us that appeared to be so hungover she looked sick. Her boyfriend attempted to help out her out of the stadium and she nearly passed out on her feet more than a few times. I'm not sure she would have made it if some helpful fan wouldn't have assisted the guy with carrying the girl out.
Then there was a trio of KU students that had somehow ended up in the ISU student section. It didn't last long though. The ISU students quickly began booing them and verbally berating them. I almost felt a little bad for the three KU students (all three were girls) as a couple of guys were shouting obscenities at them for being in that section. At least it never got physical. Hey..they should have stayed on their side.
My Clones got off to a pretty slow start. For a moment there I was beginning to think that maybe they were so emotionally drained from that upset over Texas. Fortunately, it didn't last long. They were able to come out in the second half with a renewed spirit and dominated the Jayhawks on both sides of the ball. It was the culmination of a perfect afternoon in perfect fall weather.
It's safe to say that this game produced my last ISU football photo album of the year. I know we can't maintain this weather for long and there's no way I'm sitting out in the cold for one of their games. At least I was able to go out with a bang since this was the very first ISU Homecoming game I have ever attended. You can enjoy it as well thanks to the ISU Homecoming 2010 photo album. There are some random pics in there that could have sparked their own post altogether. You'll know them when you see them...