Saturday, March 20, 2010

Iowa Pride

An outsider may not find anything glamorous about living in Iowa. They may visit and see farmland for miles. They may smell the hoglots that are frequently found in the rural areas. And the largest city in the state isn't among the top 100 in the nation. But one this that outsiders should notice is the pride residents of the Hawkeye State take in Iowa, and Iowans aren't afraid to show it.

Recently when travelling through the western part of the United States, it was easy to spot the Iowans, and it wasn't because of their pasty complextion due to the lack of sun over the winter months, it was due to the pride they took in wearing the colors of the schools they support.

No matter if it is the Hawkeyes, Cyclones or Panthers, the three state schools, or one of the smaller private colleges or universities Iowans aren't afraid to state their allegiance.
Our vacation began in Las Vegas and upon walking into the lobby of the MGM Grand the first t-shirt I saw was that of Northern Iowa on a college student. Obviously it was spring break and most college students will travel in a shirt sporting that of the school they attend, but as we continued to walk around Sin City, it was evident there were many more Iowans. On two other occasions that day I saw two older gentlemen wearing University of Iowa shirts and another college student with an Iowa State sweatshirt on. Then when it became cooler and I had to wear my Iowa Hawkeye jacket, I began to hear supportive comments. Two people said, "Go Hawks" and another offered to open the door for "a Hawkeye."

Now Las Vegas is the number one spring break destination and many of the in-state schools were out at the same time, but the common theme continued into Arizona. The Phoenix area is a popular place for the snowbird Iowans. Seeing individulas support their Iowa schools shouldn't be abnormal, but they don't shy away from it.

Sitting by the pool at our hotel we find one older man walking by wearing a Northern Iowa shirt. Then at the Cubs spring training game, there were a number wearing "Hawkeye" shirts walking around the parking lot. Once I would say, "Go Hawks," the response was very enthusiastically as if the recent success of the football team made them more proud to be from Iowa.

And as you can see from the above picture, the pride Iowans have in their schools also exists in the businesses the transplanted one open away from home. This business with the tigerhawk logo is on one of the busiest streets in Mesa, Arizona, Country Club Drive. Definitely the Hawkeye logo may be frowned upon by the fans of the local Arizona schools, but obviously the owner doesn't care.

But the pride didn't stop with the state's three schools. Also at the Cubs game my wife and I saw two individuals with Drake t-shirts and on the streets of Tempe was a gentleman with a "Simpson College Baseball" shirt.

It isn't out of the ordinary for fans to support their teams wherever they go, but for Iowans it doesn't matter the size of the school, it is their team...and that their team represents where they are from.

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