Tuesday, January 12, 2016

I Went To The Rose Bowl And Saw Iowa Get Their Ass Kicked

When Iowa made the Rose Bowl this year, I planned on finding a way to go. Then I saw that tickets were nearly $700, and I quickly decided that I could watch the game from a television and get enough of the experience. Then, about two weeks before the game, ticket prices dropped, and I told my wife that I would be ditching her on New Year's Eve to fly across the country so I could attend the game. Oh, and then I asked her if she could drive me 2.5 hours from her sister's place to DC, so I could catch a flight out there.

I got out late on New Year's Eve and plans to party with fancy people in downtown LA quickly changed to partying at a dive bar. Before I could head down there, a buddy of mine from the LA crew came back to his house (where I was staying) and said he was feeling sick and that it was going to be coming out of both ends. He then walked about three steps, and started projectile vomiting a comical amount of puke over and over again. As he was bent over getting everything out of his system, my Lyft ride came, so I patted him on the back, told him good luck, and headed to the bar to talk shit to my buddies.

My buddies were shockingly hanging out with members of the opposite sex, and the ladies found my shit-talk super charming (they repeatedly referred to me as an asshole), and I could tell that they were disappointed when they saw a ring on my finger. After dashing those girls' hopes of hooking up with a certified G and a bonafide stud, it was about 12:30, which meant it was time for this old dog to head home and get ready for an early morning.

I naturally woke up at 5:00 AM and could not go back to sleep, because it was the ROSE BOWL. Still, nobody else quite shared my enthusiasm, so I took my time pooping before I got bored and had to start playing Psychostick's chart-topping hit, "Beer!" 

There is no better song to get ready for the day, and it did get them and their vomit-soaked bodies moving, although still slower than I would have preferred. Still, we were able to get an Uber up there before 8:00 AM. 

This is where things got interesting. One guy brought up staying sober and watching the parade. I thought he was joking. Then another guy said that he'd like to do that too, and I knew that these jokers were serious. There was no way I was going to waste anymore time to watch giant balloons float around while possibly getting free candy (I'm an adult). So, although I may have ditched three friends, I was still rolling deep with a dozen of my best friends, 12 cans of Natural Light.

After knocking back a beer and receiving a half dozen compliments on my beer choice, I decided to do something that I do not ever endorse, and that is fire up Facebook. I knew my good friends were still hours away, but maybe I knew some other Hawkeye fans in the vicinity. Sure enough, I had a buddy that I worked with in Seattle that I hadn't seen in years that I saw was in the area. I went to meet up with him, and on the way, ran into an aunt and uncle that I had no clue were going to be there. It was a great way to spend a couple hours. And the moral of that story is if you drink Natural Light by yourself on a beautiful day, good things will happen (God, I want to be the spokesperson for Natural Light more than anything in this world). 

Anyway, then I met up with my lazy buddies and had a totally uneventful time as I finished off my 12 pack before we headed into the game. Now, at 12 beers deep, I'm feeling good. I'm talkative but always friendly. I was having amicable conversations with a variety of Stanford fans, even getting a sweet treat from some ladies; was it for being the sexiest fan in attendance? Well, they didn't specify that it wasn't. 

As I said, all of my conversations were amicable, but that doesn't mean I wasn't talking some shit while waiting in line. There were a few black people willing to go back and forth with me (white people aren't confident enough to go toe to toe with my wit) about their evil Stanford Cardinal and my beloved Iowa Hawkeyes. It ended with me saying that I was going to find where they were sitting, come down, snuggle right in between them and let them know how great the Iowa Hawkeyes are. They were getting a good chuckle out of it and said they hoped to see me later.

As I entered the stadium, I'll admit, I was a little in awe. It wasn't logical to be in awe, but my love of the Rose Bowl was already solidly built on my desire to be there. For me, the Rose Bowl was like a kid going to Disneyland. The familiar sights and past stories made it the happiest place on Earth before I even set a foot inside of it. Maybe it's not the most up to date, amazing place in all areas, but my admiration of the entire place was going to cover up any warts that existed. If you asked me to describe it, I could tell you that the concourses were open and the sight lines were good. Outside of that, I'd really just say that you have to be there to experience it.

We got to our seats that were in the corner of an endzone in the 22nd row, and it also had a cement barricade right in front of us which was perfect for setting down our drinks. It gave us a great view of everything and would allow us to see plays develop.

So this is the part where I need to talk about the game, don't I? Shit. Well, before the game, I read a breakdown from SmartFootball of a HB Option play for McCaffery that went over how difficult it is for defenses in man coverage to handle. I wasn't concerned, because Iowa usually zones their linebackers, so they at least shouldn't be susceptible to that. Of course, Iowa played man on the first snap of the game, Stanford called that EXACT play, and Christian McCaffery used deceptive speed (because he's white) to roll into the endzone without a Hawkeye even threatening to touch him.

As Stanford fans jumped around in front of me, I saw some familiar faces just three rows in front of me. That's right; it was the people I was talking shit to. Some would call that karma, and they would probably be correct, but they started pointing up at me, and I assured them that I still planned on snuggling up next to them to celebrate as Iowa was beating Stanford in the second half.

Then Stanford scored again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

And I continued to talk shit the ENTIRE TIME. I continued to tell them that they were going to have to make room for me, so I could educate them on the greatness of the Hawkeyes. I'm an incredibly optimistic person when I have 12 Natural Lights in me, so I figured, hey, if Stanford can score 35 points in a half, there's no reason Iowa can't as well. I was still screaming about how Iowa was just playing with Stanford when Tom Arnold came on the Jumbotron, and nearly said what I was saying verbatim. It was the first sign that maybe I had been drinking too much.

And then Stanford scored again, but this time it was only a field goal, so...victory? 

It got near the end of the 3rd quarter where Iowa cut the lead to 38-3, and I decided it was time to take my medicine. I promised those Stanford fans that I would be snuggling right in between them and educate them on the greatness of the Hawkeyes, and that's exactly what I did. When I snuck up and sat down between them, their faces went from shock to uproarious laughter as I told them I was a man of my word and that I still believed the Hawkeyes had the game in the bag. I picked a great time to sit down there, as shortly after that, CJB threw a deep ball to Matt VandeBerg for Iowa's first touchdown. Oh man, did I shove that right in their highly educated and successful faces. Then Koehn missed the extra point, because of course he did. After that, the Stanford fans got pictures with the smartest/coolest/sexiest guy (I'm talking about me) there, and I took the long journey (three rows up) back to my regular seats.

Iowa and Stanford each added touchdowns to make the final score 45-16 (Iowa won the second half 16-10, NO BIG DEAL). Iowa had their worst game of the year and got their asses handed to them, but it was still a great experience. 

How did I stay so positive throughout the entire game? Maybe it's because now that I'm an adult I have a little perspective on things and realized that it's just a football game. But that seems unlikely, because I still scream at my television during Iowa sporting events like a lunatic. No, it was something bigger than that. No matter the outcome, Iowa was finally playing in the Rose Bowl. 

The Rose Bowl. 

To most people, it's just a stadium, but in this kid's eyes, it's Disneyland, and it's hard to be sad when you're at the happiest place on Earth. 

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