Once a Cyclone, Always a Cyclone?

Story by Megan Sprengeler

Iowa running back James Butler (20) breaks a tackle by Iowa State linebacker Joel Lanning, left, during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa won 44-41 in overtime. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

IOWA CITY, Iowa – A classic tale of a house divided. I was raised by Cyclones. Before you offer your condolences, you should know I am now and forever will be a Hawkeye.

I grew up in Hilton Coliseum, watching the cardinal and gold dominate the volleyball court and the basketball court. I knew the fight song by heart and I was trying to learn the Bells of Iowa State which played after every sporting event; everyone sang it proudly with arms intertwined, swaying back and forth, win or lose.

It would’ve been easy to assume my role at ISU, following in my dad’s footsteps. A good share of my cousins, of which I have 40 (yes – you read that right, 40), got their undergraduate degree from Iowa State.

In fact, I was almost sold when my older brother went off to Iowa State to fulfill his dream of becoming an engineer (go figure). He was having the time of his life; I could almost taste the cardinal and gold.

When I was a junior in high school, I applied to Iowa State University. I was accepted and began to plan my next four years, including landing a great roommate in the dorm I had always dreamed of living in—Friley Hall.

My family was thrilled; but they would soon realize who the black sheep of the family was.

During the spring of my junior year, I was given the opportunity of my dreams—the chance to play volleyball at the division-one level. I was torn, but ultimately decided to chase my dream and accepted a full-ride scholarship to play volleyball at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, ND.

After a few months and 10 hours from my home in Iowa, I realized there was nothing quite like the atmosphere of a good ole’ Iowa vs. Iowa State rivalry game; a rivalry that is unmatched anywhere else. Truthfully, at that time I didn’t even know or care to learn my current university’s fight song.

I decided to transfer home after one semester, blindly enrolling to the University of Iowa—sight unseen. I was accepted—now to tell my family.

I would be lying if I said they weren’t thrilled to have me back within reasonable distance, but they jokingly razed me about becoming a Hawkeye.  Of all things – to bring black and gold blood into the family.

The charming college-town had me at first sight and I knew Iowa City had stolen my heart. The University of Iowa quickly became my new home.

My mom was the first to show pride in my new college – proudly wearing black and gold. She now had one child at Iowa State and one at Iowa. For my first Iowa vs Iowa State football game, she made a “house divided” shirt, but as the evening grew colder, she broke out an Iowa State pullover—thanks mom.

My dad finally came around, wearing shirts that said “Iowa” to my sporting events, but refusing to wear the tiger hawk. Did I mention he always brought his Iowa State bag chair to sit in?

We’d go out for dinner in Iowa City whenever my family came to visit. If an Iowa State football or basketball game would be aired, they would always ask the waiter or waitress to put the game on the TV; I still can’t believe the waiters complied with that request.

My second year at the University, my parents became football season ticket holders… at Iowa State. They still are to this day.

At Christmas, I make sure there is black and gold apparel and accessories under the tree from yours truly.

Regardless of the school you cheer for, whether it’s the black and gold, the cardinal and gold, or the purple and gold, one thing is for sure: the state of Iowa has some of the best scholars, athletes, spectators, and coaches this nation will ever know.

The University of Iowa has been life changing. I’ve experienced my share of ups and downs, as anyone does, but Iowa City will forever hold my heart.

…and let’s not forget who beat Ohio State, 55-24. Go Hawks!

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