Why We Camp: A Message from the Students of Tent City

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Written by Megan and Molly, proud residents of Tent City and the same students who took down a Hilton Magic hater on Facebook.


It was the final hour of a five-day campout for the Iowa State vs. Kansas game. Throughout the line, adrenaline began to rush as the doors to Hilton Coliseum would soon be opened, and the game we had waited nearly a week for would finally be within reach.

Finally, the doors were opened. We rushed to get to our spots, then we sat down and enjoyed our view. We got the seats we had been waiting for... Front row!

For three hours, we sat there reminiscing about the craziness of Tent City and talked with our newfound friends about our enthusiasm for the game. We discussed which insults we planned to use against Kansas' most hated player: Perry Ellis. As we talked, the excitement grew.

Finally after the long wait, the lights dimmed and the siren sounded - as if we weren't amped enough! Game time was here. We heard "Something Big" play over the loudspeakers and we knew something big was truly about to happen. We rose up, and so the frenzy began.

Moments into the game, Iowa State was already down by four. We got louder and louder, hoping to spark the fire. Throughout the first half, Kansas had us. The Cyclones would get close to catching up and then would fall behind again. It was a rough half.

As the buzzer rang for halftime and the teams headed back into their locker rooms, we finally sat down. We rehydrated and discussed how the game had gone so far. Even though ISU was behind, we weren't worried. We believed in our team and we wouldn't doubt them, not even for a moment. We knew what we needed to do in the second half: rise up as a student section and make Hilton rock.

And we did just that.

The teams came back out and we began to bring a new level of passion to Hilton. The time started on the clock, and the game was back on.

In the second half, the Cyclones came alive. We saw the talent that we have grown to know and love. With each basket, the chance for a win became more real. Nine minutes into the second half, we were tired and some of us were even sweating. Then, you felt it.

The Magic.

It's like a small tremble that starts from the upper deck and makes its way down into the lower bowl. The first thing we heard was the people behind us banging on chairs that vibrated the floor below us. Then, we looked around and saw everyone - and I mean all 14,356 people - on their feet. It gave us the chills when all of Hilton stood up; an army of the most loyal and forever-true fans, ready for action.

We began to yell at full volume. It was so loud in there that our voices were lost in the sea of noise.

Iowa State was down by three when Matt Thomas went above the arc and shot the ball. Suddenly, it was a little quieter, as everyone waited on the edge their seats.

Boom, there it is. Nothing but net.

The crowd erupted and so did we. Just when you thought it couldn't get any louder, it did. We jumped, screamed, and high-fived everyone in our section!

With 11 minutes left, the game was tied. Basket after basket, we managed to get louder and louder. The building was in a craze and our throats were beginning to scratch, but we kept going. The clock kept winding down and we began to build a solid lead. The Jayhawks couldn't seem to stop turning over the ball.

Then, it happened. Possibly our favorite part of the game. Thomas broke away with the ball after stealing a pass, went down court and dunked. We lost control and the student section was at riot level! We quickly looked over toward the now-silenced Jayhawk bench with overwhelming joy. Bill Self sat there biting his nails, looking like someone just took his toupee and set it on fire.

The security guards started wrapping around the student section in anticipation. We told them not to worry, we wouldn't be storming the court that night.

The Jayhawks weren't worth our time.

The final buzzer sounded and we had won. We outright whooped KU by 13 points! The fight song played and we sang as loud as possible, so happy to have won. We began to pack our things, when suddenly it plays. The victory-tune we Iowa Staters know and love: Sweet Caroline.

We stood on top of the chairs, swayed our arms, and with screechy voices we sang it to the heavens. "SO GOOD, SO GOOD" echoed throughout Hilton.

After the song we sat there for a minute and said goodbye to our friends as they headed out. We also talked to our favorite security guard and just cherished the moment.

We talked about the reporters, the alumni and many others who had questioned why we do it - why we camp out for games - and what makes it all worth it.

We do it for the moments where we scream so loud that we won't be able to talk the next day. We do it for the moments that make us jump with joy.

We do it for the moments of Magic.

We won't remember what we got on a biology test 10 years from now, but we will remember the moments that Hilton Coliseum took our breath away. So, is it worth it?

Yes, always.

FanPosts are written by members of the WRNL community, not the WRNL staff. Any opinions expressed in this FanPost are the author's only.

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