I cried after the CyHawk game. Not a lot. Not for very long. But just enough.
If I’m being honest, I’m not even that much of a football fan. I love sports in general, I love Iowa State, but my football knowledge is such that I still have to ask the difference between a safety and touchback, just occasionally. When I was a kid, I read books in the stands (including the memorable Where The Red Fern Grows, another time where I cried around football, but not because of it). It took a long time for me to stay awake for the duration of a football game, but I can now say I enjoy and occasionally even understand what’s going on!
That makes the loss all the more crushing. There’s a lot of people who will rehash specifics, endlessly, in some attempt to find sense in it. I’m not one of them. Both teams played well in absolutely insane circumstances, but unfortunately, someone had to lose in the most “us” way possible.
I don’t think I got emotional about the game, really. For me, it was more the culmination of SO many years of being overlooked, ignored, made fun of, and finally seeing a chance for some respect, only for it to end in a new joke with us as the punchline. After a chaotic day, it hurt. I was so frustrated and tired of being inundated with negativity and fighting on social media, so I logged off and reflected a bit.
Being a Cyclone is heartbreak. We don’t get perfect seasons. We get great games, we get tough fights, but we don’t get perfect. We continue to hope that someday that’ll change, but I don’t think we’d know what to do with ourselves if it did. I’m obviously not suggesting we accept imperfection and quit hoping for better. I just don’t think it happens overnight.
Maybe someday we’ll go a season without a memeable mistake or apology letter, but in the meantime, I’m trying really hard to focus on the progress we’ve made. We have a locker room full of passionate people who really, truly want to be here and be a part of taking this program to the top. We have some of the most passionate fans anywhere. We have a whole lot of potential still out there to reach.
As unsatisfying as that game was, we have a lot more to come. Vent, worry, do what you need to do, but don’t lose sight of how improbable this all seems in light of our past. Success has been a long time coming, and at least in this series, we’ll have to wait a little longer. As it always is, as it always has been… it’ll be worth it. Go State.