Hurricanes, Hawkeyes and Hope

From the first time I set foot on the Iowa State University campus more than 30 years ago, I was hooked — my support for the Cyclones has never and will never waver.

And so when the college football season draws near, like many of my ISU brethren, I proudly fly the cardinal and gold flag as our team marches toward what we hope will be a successful season.

Of course, and I freely admit it, one of the main objectives during every football season is to see our Cyclones take down the Iowa Hawkeyes.

That’s not to say the ISU football season is only about this one game with the Hawks, but there’s no denying its importance to our collective psyche if we should pick up a win over the black and gold.

So in the days and weeks prior, there was a lot of banter back and forth between myself and my Hawkeye friends.

For the most part, it really is in good fun and if we should lose, as we did this year, I’m never really surprised that I’m going to hear a few choice comments from those Hawkeyes who can’t help themselves after a close victory (believe me, I would have done the same had the outcome been different).

In fact, a wager made with a couple of Hawkeye fans forced myself and three other Cyclone devotees to pose for a photo with Iowa Hawkeye cookies, ready to choke those down along with our words. Sort of like eating crow.

At the same time the game was going on, we were also following the second of two major hurricanes to strike the United States this year. Following Harvey’s devastation in Texas, the Caribbean and Florida was being walloped by Hurricane Irma.

The images of flooding, extreme property damage and the heartbreak of those who survived was palpable. For me, there was also more interest in this hurricane as Irma had targeted areas of Florida where my parents have their winter home and my sister and her family reside year-round.

It got me thinking about what’s really important and how petty issues, like who wins a football game, doesn’t mean a whole lot if you’ve lost everything to Mother Nature’s wrath or you’re unsure as to what you’re next step is going to be. With that in perspective, an in-state rivalry on the gridiron doesn’t mean much.

And maybe because of Irma, the push back from Hawkeye fans, or at least the ones I know, was kept to a minimum this year. I know they knew about my concerns related to my family’s situation back in Florida (thankfully, neither my parents nor my sister incurred any major damages to their homes) and maybe they felt a responsibility to hold back on the verbal abuse. I don’t know if that actually was the case, but I like to think they too knew there were and are more important things to think about.

The hurricanes and the Hawkeyes also got me thinking about hope.

We place a lot of hope in our favorite sports team that they will come out the victor. We also pin our hopes on next season, when we’re sure we can bounce back following a tough loss.

And more importantly, in Florida and Texas, residents are resting their hopes on a brighter future after what has had to be unimaginable heartache.

A friend stopped by the office this week to commiserate over an issue that we were both bothered with. But our frustrations, over something that in the end was nothing more than a petty concern, soon dissipated after we shared our concerns with what was going on down south. Right then, we both felt a little sheepish afterwards and promised not to dwell on something not worth worrying about.

I love Iowa State University — my alma mater, my beloved Cyclones. I hated to see them lose last weekend to the Hawkeyes.

I also love my family and my friends, and my heart aches for those in need.

Despite our differences, a football game or a petty argument doesn’t mean a whole lot to someone who has just lost his/her home. And as rebuilding efforts get under way in Texas and Florida, my hope is that we all remember what’s truly important, regardless of who wins or loses.

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Contact Jeff Hutton at 641-753-6611 or jhutton@timesrepublican.com