Before anyone ever cared which sports and pop culture website I would write for, I was a kid from central Iowa, who went to college at Iowa State. It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I pretended to care about cherry pies during VEISHEA. It’s where I almost got into a fight with a 37-year-old playing pick-up ball at State Gym. It holds a special place in my heart. Iowa State alumni have seen me on Twitter. Some of them consider me their son. That’s weird, but it’s true. And I don’t hate them for it. My relationship with Iowa State is bigger than just fandom. I realize that now.
I remember graduating from Iowa State in 2010. I thought, “Man, the economy still sucks a lot. I’ll probably work a job where I won’t make enough to move out of my parent’s house for two years. Communications is a degree for people who don’t know what they want to do in life. At least you’ve got that Sociology minor to fall back on though, you idiot. What have I been thinking? I should have been an engineer. No I shouldn’t have, I’m not that intelligent. WHY IS THIS SPEAKER TAKING SO LONG UGH.” If I had to go back to school again, I’d do some things differently, but I would have still graduated, because that’s the goal of college mostly. The workforce, for me, has been like the workforce for most everyone. But these years after Iowa State made me into the man I am today. I’ve had some great experiences working. It’s been good for me.
I went to work after college because I wanted to be an adult. I’ve loved my coworkers. I’ve made sacrifices like not staying up until three in the morning playing Madden then complaining about how tired I am at two in the afternoon. I met my amazing wife at my old job, and we are about to have a beautiful daughter in a few weeks. I want to thank all of my bosses—Keith Murphy, Bill Pierson, and Darryl Downs for giving me an amazing 6 years.
I’m writing this because I want a chance to explain myself. People don’t need to think “oh he just wants to re-live his college days…he’s not taking being an adult seriously.” That is not true in the slightest. I’m not having a party. Well, I am having a party, but not really. It’s a tailgate. And its time to get to work.
I always believed I would return to Iowa State and finish my partying days there. As I said, I have a wife and a child on the way. Despite this, I feel like tomorrow is the perfect opportunity to return to the place that molded me. Ames holds a special place in my heart. Cyclones are family. This makes me happy. I needed support from my wife. She will be at the tailgate with me, 8 months pregnant. Why? Because she too is a Cyclone. She knows what the Cardinal and Gold means. And she’s excited for the Tailgate Society.
I’m excited to meet my new colleagues in person for the first time. I think I can make Ted Flint into one of the best Twitter personalities on the internet. I can’t wait to mentor Stephen Moldovan and show him that Kevin Durant going to the Warriors is really the best thing for the NBA. I think I can help Sarah Kelly Shannon secretly root for Iowa State football (possibly, maybe, hopefully).
But this isn’t just about my colleagues. This is about tailgating in a place that is home. This is about Ames, this is about Iowa State, this is about Main St, this is about Welch Ave, this is about the Agronomy Building and Hoover Hall and Stephens Auditorium. This place made us, and it’s our duty to give back. So we will play Flip Cup, and giant Jenga, and Bags, and we will drink all of the drinks.
Because in Ames, nothing is given. Everything is earned.
I’m ready. I’m coming home.
Editor’s Note: Join us tomorrow in lot G4 near Jack Trice Stadium for a tailgate co-sponsored by The Tailgate Society and DeadEye BBQ Sauce. First few guests will get complimentary koozies and first dibs at tailgate games, food and vegas bombs. Members of the TGS crew will be present between 1pm and game time. See you tomorrow!