Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Battle for the Toolbox
While the Heartland Trophy began in 2004, the Toolbox dates back to 1991. The current day's edition has a different look to the one that began the series.
It didn't start the year that Barry Alvarez took over as head football coach in Madison, but in year two the game took off. John Chadima, a former manager for the Iowa Football team became the Director of Football Operations for Alavarez. After a year he reached out to Iowa to see if there would be interest in playing a game between the managers of the representing teams. The game was on, and it was played on a sunny Friday afternoon inside Camp Randall Stadium. The Hawkeye managers won the first game, but the Battle for the Toolbox didn't become a yearly tradition until 1995.
The football teams of the two schools weren't on each others schedules for 1993 and 1994, but once that series re-started, the Battle for the Toolbox started a new run that hasn't had an interruption since.
Today the game has taken on new meaning. On that sunny afternoon in 1991, few were on-hand to witness it. The game was officiated among the players and the game was over in almost an hour. But today crowds show up to show their support for their son, boyfriend or classmate. Whether the game is in the Iowa Indoor Practice Facility or Wisconsin's Dave McClain Center fans, cheerleaders and mascots are found crowding the sidelines. And the game has become serious enough that the home team supplies high school officials to keep the play fair.
Friday night after 10pm will be another battle for a toolbox that has seen its better days. But this piece of equipment has meaning and history. And although the rivalry of the two football teams will no longer be played on a yearly basis, the Battle for the Toolbox is truly the biggest loser amid all of the fallout.