Monday, March 8, 2010

Final Hawk Talk

As one who is unable to attend a Hawk Talk during the Iowa Football season, I decided I would take the family to the final call-in show of the 2009-10 athletic season. And in the main room of the Mexican restaurant Carlos O'Kelly's, Iowa play by play man Gary Dolphin and engineer Kevin Dolan were joined by Hawkeye basketball coach Todd Lickliter. It wasn't a large crowd, but the basketball version of Hawk Talk has never been a huge draw, but it was some of the most loyal fans and friends of the program.

Tommy from Des Moines was one of the earliest callers. And as he was introduced to the patrons a few applauded as they knew whatever was on his mind would be heartfelt. Tommy lives for the call-in shows, whether they are with the coaches of the state's universities, or of the general post-game variety. Tommy doesn't miss an opportunity to speak his mind to the entire listening area.

And there sat Dolph. Every week Gary drives ninety minutes from his Dubuque home in all sorts of weather to take questions from the most loyal of fans, some educated, some not. But after a while what is left to be asked. He knows on this night there may not be as many calls. The team is enduring its worst season in years and the passion for the basketball team wanes, but Dolph put on his best broadcast face and knows he will have to carry much of the ninety minute show. Gary can find a way to turn a simple question into an in-depth, thoughtful prose covering many different angles.

On this night Todd walked in with his wife who sat with friends. He found his way to the head table during a caller who felt the head Hawk needed to adjust his strategy for not only the upcoming Big Ten Tournament, but into the upcoming season. Todd listens and knows the questions won't be easy, but what is when he is as disappointed as anyone with a team at 10-21 with the Michigan on the horizon in round one at Indianapolis.

This was the final Hawk Talk and the next one will have a more festive atmosphere to it. It will feature Kirk Ferentz as he talks with the fans about the upcoming football season. Although the Hawks will not have played a game the expectations will be high. The Iowa fan base is expecting great things. They want to put this basketball season behind them. And Tommy will be busy in the next five plus months to put together his first question...first out of many.

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