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To some it is just a big octagonal concrete building. To others it is just a basketball arena. But to WRNL readers and Cyclones fans alike, it's all of those things mixed in with some magic. I'm talking about Hilton Coliseum in Ames, IA. North of Jack Trice and south of the Iowa State University campus. The state should mark this land off as sacred ground. And it is home of the Cyclones. Where Hilton Magic is present. But where did Hilton Magic originate? It came from a Des Monies Register sportswriter the following day after the mens team defeated the #3 Missouri Tigers in February of 1989. The following day’s headline read "Hilton Magic Spells Upset One More Time." (Thank you Wiki!) And this is where the name stuck. Does that game sound like games from last season?
What is Hilton Magic? It is a vibe, a swagger, almost spiritual, & a feeling of the Cyclones making comebacks and winning game after game in Hilton. It is a magic that exists. One you can't buy at the store. It starts and ends with the fans. A magic that connects fans to the players. There have been numerous times I have sat in Hilton and stared at the banners, the floor, and the stands after an Iowa State victory to soak in the moment. If only the walls of Hilton could talk. Whether attending games as a youngster, college student, alum, university donor, or an avid fan; Hilton holds a special place in our lives. Including myself.
Being about eighty minutes from Ames, my dad would load up the suburban with me and my brother and make trips for weeknight games. We then would scalp tickets, get Clone Cones, get embarrassed at least once by our dad, and proceed to lose our voices. Afterwards we would listen to the talk show on 101.1 FM and converse about the game. My love for the Cyclones goes a long way back, and I remember hearing about Hilton Magic when I was younger. I vividly remember going to mens and womens games when I was in my teens and couldn't wait to be a part of Cyclone Alley (or college in general). Probably mostly because I saw attractive 'older' girls decked out in Iowa State gear singing Sweet Caroline, but also to have floor seats and embrace the magic.
And I certainly did.
That magical feeling was restored last year. With a hefty line up of players starting and guys off the bench ready to play, made it an exciting season to be a part of. Mixed in with our players of course, is our coach. Fred "The Mayor" Hoiberg. The Mayor is not only a native of Ames; not only an graduate of ISU; and not only a former ISU basketball player; but a committed and dedicated god/immortal to this program. And I happen to have a mild man crush on him (and if you are a male reading this, you know you do too). But that's another topic in itself.
Being in Cyclone Alley is where I really got hooked. Especially last year. When I felt true Hilton Magic. The last second shots against Oklahoma State and Kansas State, and the upsets of #5 Kansas and #9 Baylor. I haven't been to any other NCAA basketball arenas, but get the sense of the reputation Hilton Coliseum has with reporters time and time again saying, "Hilton Magic is back." In the past, it has been a very difficult place to play for opposing teams, and I can only foresee it being the same way this season. As I'm sure many readers of WRNL already know about Hilton Magic, and I'm reiterating/already telling you what you know/have experienced, but I wanted to tell you my story of Hilton Magic. Hilton Magic is alive in Ames and ready for some Big XII action this season. Because, after all it is just like magic, only real.
P.S. I do not own or claim to own any of the pictures, but claim to be in the bottom picture.
P.S.S. Bud Light commercial was inspiration for title. Thanks for reading!