It was my good fortune to have been granted a sideline photographers pass for the six Iowa State University home games this season. I am not sure I will attend every game, but missing the season opener against Northern Iowa was never in doubt.
Suspecting that a sellout crowd of 61,000 would also draw an additional 10,000 who were just there to tailgate (both proved true), I realized that, unless I arrived in the wee hours, parking would be a problem.
Now, if I had been one of the lucky ones to draw a media parking pass along with my credential, everything would have been different, but, alas, the remodeling of Jack Trice and the new football building slashed the size of the media lot, and I was far down the list of those who wanted to receive the precious commodity.
As it was, I arrived at the stadium with little trouble at 3:30 p.m., a full three-and-a-half hours before kick-off. All the public sparking anywhere near the stadium had long since been filled, but I managed to pull into the nearest lot and found two attendants who took mercy on a poor media slob who might have to hobble two blocks.
So much thanks to Rob (didn’t get his last name) who not only found a prime spot for me, but then turned into a true angel by golf-carting me to the press tower to retrieve the required armband that accompanies the kind of credential I had. He then went even further beyond the call of duty by proceeding to whip me down to the Jacobson building. I could not have guessed I would have encountered that kind of unnecessary, but completely welcome, help. Thanks, Rob!
I spent the better part of two hours having a media meal and watching several football games on the big screens TVs, all in the cozy comfort of the air conditioning. Conversations with a handful of the many recruits who were there with their parents followed, after which it was time to hang out on the field for all the pre-game fun.
The end of the BYU vs. Nebraska game was shown on the big screen, with the ISU student section roaring with approval at the last-second heroics that allowed the Cougars to hand the Huskers a heartbreaking home loss. I was happy to see that bad blood never really dissipates.
As for the game, I made sure to catch Perry’s Kane Seeley in numerous photos, both in action and on the sideline. Snapping a few photos that would capture some of the atmosphere of the game was also a goal.
Kane will continue to be a big target for me (of course), but in future contests more time will be spent on other parts of the game and, perhaps, more on the festivities and traditions that surround Division I football.
After spending several years in the press box at Jack Trice, it was quite a change to be on the sideline, where I was only once in any real danger of being made pulp by players flying over the boundary.
Now, if only I can find more golf-cart angels next week …