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Big A$$ Weekend in Iowa City

     By John J. Thompson

Having trouble waking up at 6 a.m. to tailgate for Hawkeye games?  That won’t be a problem this Saturday as kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. for the game against the Northwestern Wildcats.  Fans are looking forward to the chance to tailgate in the afternoon rather than waking up early in the morning before the game, and having limited tailgate time.

“I’m not a morning person so I usually only spend a couple of hours tailgating before the games,” says Stephanie Spengler, a junior at the University of Iowa.  “The night games are my favorite, because I get to sleep in and tailgate all day.”

Tailgating is a huge tradition before Hawkeye home games.  Some favorite tailgating spots of Hawk fans are the Myrtle lot behind the law building, the dentistry lot, and various houses along Melrose Avenue.  If you have never had the chance to make it down to Melrose Avenue before a game in Iowa City, this Saturday will provide a great experience.  No matter what makes you happy, you will enjoy the tailgating atmosphere on Melrose.

There are many games that people play such as bean bag toss, Plinko, and even just a good old fashioned game of catch.

“My favorite thing to do during tailgating is playing Beersbee,” Spengler says, referring to a game in which two long pieces of PVC pipe stick out of the ground with an empty beer bottle sitting on top.  Participants take turns throwing a Frisbee trying to knock off the opponents bottle.

Food is also a big part of tailgating at Iowa.  Many people grill out and there are also vendors selling various types of food along Melrose.  It is a rite of passage for every Hawkeye fan to get a Big Ass Turkey Leg from Chuck Ford’s stand right across from Kinnick Stadium.

This Saturday promises to be special, not just because of the wonderful evening kickoff time.  This weekend will be the Black and Gold Spirit Game.  Fans in alternating sections in Kinnick Stadium will alternate wearing black and gold, giving a striped affect.

“Kinnick looked amazing last year when we had our Black and Gold Spirit Game,” says Matt Mitchell, a senior at Iowa.  “Everyone was so excited for the game, it kept the fans into it and the stadium was extremely loud.”

This game will be even bigger to Hawkeyes fans because of the opponent, the Northwestern Wildcats.  Iowa fans have grown to think of Northwestern as a bitter rival, as the Wildcats have beaten the Hawkeyes in three of the last four meetings.

“Northwestern always plays tough against Iowa and the fans of both teams always get really pumped up when the teams meet.” says Mitchell.  “Having Northwestern come into Iowa City for our Spirit game should make it a great day at Kinnick Stadium.”

Here’s a link to a picture from last season’s Black and Gold Spirit Game.  The title of this posting will be explained in a future post.

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