A Hawkeye Rhyme Before Game Time

Story by Derek Pech

Fall will be here before we know it, and with it comes the smell of tailgating and that crazy urge to hop out of bed at 4:30 am like a kid on Christmas morning.

Tailgating has a way of touching all the senses of a college football fan. The random Iowa fight song being played from a stereo on a motorized cooler. The flags and the face paint, the rows and rows of cars filling up once vacant lots, and fans everywhere the eye can see. The smell of brats, and burgers, and god knows what other concoctions Iowans are throwing on the grill. The chills you get when you hear In Heaven There Is No Beer as you slam one last shot of Fireball to warm you up prior to leaving for the walk towards historic Kinnick Stadium.

Then, along that walk, you stumble upon a giant group of Hawkeye loyalists listening to what sounds like a man reading a poem from atop a stump. You find out you’re at 701 Melrose Avenue, and you’re about to be introduced to Carl Schwendinger for the first time.

Carl Schwendinger has been writing poems about the Hawkeyes and their opponents who are traveling to Iowa City for years now. The reading of his poems has become a tradition in the backyard of 701 Melrose Avenue. He typically reads his poem about 45 minutes prior to kickoff as fans are enjoying their last drink and heading towards the stadium. Thanks to Carl and his poems, thousands of Hawkeye fans have made this into a tradition. It’s their final “pump up” moment just before heading into Kinnick Stadium to cheer loudly for their beloved Hawkeyes.

If you’re a Hawkeye football fan then you may be familiar with Carl, and if you’re not familiar with him then you probably should be. Black + Cardinal Divide is proud to say that we will soon give you the platform to get yourself more acquainted.

Carl has agreed to let us broadcast all of his pre-game poems right here on our website. Carl’s poems are fantastic, and he delivers them with the might of Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday. Hawkeye fans everywhere deserve the chance to get that final adrenaline rush just prior to kickoff. As long as the cell phone towers are cooperating you will all be able to watch his poems live from our site. If for some reason the connection isn’t cooperating we will still upload a video, or at the very least a written version, of his poems prior to kickoff so that you or someone in your party can do your best Carl impression!

We’d like to thank Carl for partnering with us to make this happen. If you’re unable to make it to Iowa City, be sure to tune in from afar as Carl gets you pumped up for another Hawkeye victory!

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