We made it out to NJ for the game and all went well. As you probably know Iowa got the win but it was not easy and it was not particularly pretty, (although there were some moments and plays that were very good!). But a win is a win and on the road in the Big 10 we are glad to get home with it and move on.
There were a lot of Iowa fans in town for the game and the Hawkeye Huddle seemed to have drawn a good number. But the Friday HH event was in NY and we were not really up for the drive into the city and then back again to NJ where our hotel was. Seems a bunch of people headed into NYC to check it out (like doing the tourist thing) but that never even occurred to us. We were just looking to fly in, get to the stadium to check it out, get food, get to hotel, and go to bed! Not very exciting I know but that was fine for us.
I will say that I felt very much from Iowa during this trip. I thought I was doing OK driving but apparently not as folks quickly found their horns and frequently showed me the real NJ state flag, which conveniently it appears is printed on their middle finger, so they can flash it quickly and at any time! : )
But folks overall were great to us (not so happy we won) and we had a good time. I thought many parts of NJ were beautiful, lots of woods, streams and the like, and our time in New Brunswick was really neat. We also got to see some of the east coast/NJ boys from my playing days at Iowa, including Duane Williams, Pat Dean, Zane Corbin, (Jim Pekar), and Lou King. Was very good to see them. But the density of people, cars, and buildings was a bit much for us and I was comforted to know we would be returning shortly to our life in Iowa. But first, some thoughts from the game....
PARENT ISSUES: As a parent we are thrilled for our son to have the opportunity to play college football and particularly at Iowa. As a parent, you want your kid to play, to do well, and to have a role in helping your team win games. And it is hard sometimes when your kid is hurt, not playing or not playing as much as you think he should. These are all parent issues that many of you have been through no matter what level your kids have played at.
It really is hard at times because you want to be positive, be supportive of your kid and also the team and coaches. And sometimes internally as a parent those do conflict. But you just have to suspend so much of how you feel about things, expectations, etc., because the team needs to come first and you can't do anything about any of those other issues anyway. So you just love your kid, keep smiling, offer hugs, and trust the process.
The games at times can drive you crazy. You have ideas on this and that, particularly as a former player and coach, regarding play calls, strategies, etc. and blah blah blah. But no matter what you think it doesn't really matter and the earlier you accept this the better. So the entire process of being a player's parent is basically nothing more than a great exercise in letting go and learning to focus on what you are really there for, which is supporting your kid and being there for them no matter what.
KEEP ON WINNING: No matter what happens or doesn't happen during a game, winning usually takes care of most of it. And the reality is that at Iowa we tend to play close games and the margin of victory is pretty slim. You have to play clean, no penalties, no turnovers, and you must execute at a high level. Players need to line up correctly and make plays when and where they are supposed to. We simply rarely overwhelm teams and that is just our reality and our style of football. And honestly it is a good fit at Iowa. Recruit solid individuals, develop players over 2-4 years, play with great effort and technique, don't make mistakes, and win close games.
And that is exactly what we bought into when George came to Iowa, we knew it, and were/are grateful for the chance he got and has had. And George is exactly one of those kids. Not highly recruited out of high school, not sure where he would play, came to Iowa, added 60 pounds of muscle while working hard for 4 years and now has his chance. That is what Iowa does and they do it as well if not better than anyone in the country. They have shown it time and time again and it works. They have some patience in a world that typically demands immediate production. Thank goodness!
So work hard, invest, do the right things, buy in, trust the process, and eventually you get your day. And here we are, trying to enjoy these days (as short as they feel right now), letting go each week of all the things you can't control and have no input into, being grateful for just being in this space and having the chance to share it with your kid and the family. And after 57 years that is exactly what life has taught me in almost every other aspect of my life as well! Accept what you can't change, work hard, let go of the other stuff, and live in gratitude and with appreciation.
BACK IN IOWA: Back to being grateful about Iowa. I was driving back from another county today and took the back roads. It was a gorgeous day and it made me really appreciate Iowa. The fall days, sun out, a bit chilly, the leaves turning, the crops being harvested. A lot to be thankful for. So a short video to share the moments. Have a great week....