I’ll be the first to say it, I wasn’t born into the greatest fan base of college sports like most Iowa State fans. I was born smack dab in the middle of Fighting Illini territory and right on the edge of Notre Dame fandom. The first-ever college football game I can ever remember going to was a Notre Dame game with my father and grandfather around the age of nine. I’ll admit I still follow Notre Dame to this day, but that’s not what shaped me as a college sports fan.
We moved to northwest Iowa into a town full of Hawkeye fans when I was a young kid. The only Cyclone fan I can really remember growing up was my school route bus driver “Sport,” who has been a Cyclone football season ticket holder since Jesus himself walked this earth. He would always be talking about these Cyclones, and me, being a young kid, just thought he was crazy. I never really knew why he was so fired up about it. All I knew about the world of sports growing up was the Chicago Bears and Chicago Cubs, which isn’t the worst thing in the world I might add.
I remember going to an Iowa State game as a kid around the time we moved to Iowa. Sage Rosenfels was still the quarterback and they were playing Texas A&M. It never dawned on me before that moment that college sports are one of the greatest treasures in life. The way they bring people together from all walks of life and make people passionate about something so simple. For a few hours, people can forget about life outside of these moments, which is one of the reasons that makes being an Iowa State fan so great.
Fast forward to present time. My sister and I are now college graduates from Iowa State, heck even my soon to be wife is an Iowa State graduate. She doesn’t get too fired up about football like most of us because in her words, “I don’t understand football,” which I don’t quite understand how she doesn’t, but I digress. Throw some Iowa State basketball on and she’s just as fired up as the rest of us. To make my family interesting, my older sister and brother-in-law are UNI Panthers, but we won’t hold that against them. It could be worse, they could be Hawkeyes.
My parents’ fandom has evolved just as much as mine. Born and raised in Illinois, being an Iowa State fan probably wasn’t on their radars. They have now been football season ticket holders for roughly four seasons and they enjoy every moment of their Cyclone game day experience. It’s something we can share as a family every fall and it’s what makes every Cyclone game day so special. It’s also why a lot of you fellow Cyclone fans make the trek to Ames. Hell, my mom probably has every Iowa State piece of clothing and accessory known to man. She may even have a slight obsession.
In my time of being an Iowa State fan, I can’t even count the number of football and basketball games I have attended. The upsets I have seen peaked with one of the greatest fall nights in Iowa State history. You all know it, the night where Jeff Woody punched in a touchdown to seal an overtime thriller and take down #2 Oklahoma State. I’ve also been there for our recent three Big 12 Tournament titles in men’s basketball.
In a whole, what makes being a Cyclone fan so great? It’s the fact that there’s never a stranger out there. Cyclone fans are part of one big family. Working in the agriculture world, you come across Cyclone graduates, fans, and followers. You always have something in common, and that’s pretty valuable in the world today.
So why am I an Iowa State fan? It’s the passion, the friendships and the element of the unknown. You never know what you are going to get as a Cyclone fan and that’s what makes it so exciting.
I now know that feeling “Sport” had talking about Iowa State on the school bus all those years ago.
Loyal sons, forever true.