I am an Iowa State fan. I come by it naturally, having graduated from ISU in 1992 and having met my wife while I was there. I’m emotionally invested in the success and (oftentimes) failure of the athletic teams that wear “Cyclones” on their chests. Some might even say too invested, but that’s a debate for another time. My two boys never really had a chance, getting indoctrinated into the Cyclone way at an early age.

We have season tickets to football and basketball. Have for years. The games are something we do as a family.

My son Ben went to his first football game in a baby carrier at 4 months old. His brother Jake might have attended his first basketball game even younger. They have grown up at these events. The Iowa State fight song is the sound track of our fall and winter activities. And our wardrobes lean heavily to cardinal and gold.

I missed a good portion of the a Texas game as we worked on potty training, meaning eight to 10 bathroom trips per half up and down the Jack Trice Stadium steps, much to my chagrin, and the amusement of the regulars in our section. Ben learned his numbers by looking at a basketball poster featuring pictures of Marcus Fizer, Jamaal Tinsley and his favorite, Stevie Johnson.

We have traveled to support the team, spending late December in Memphis (Liberty Bowl) and Phoenix (Insight Bowl) and spring breaks in Dayton and San Antonio at the NCAA tournament. Nothing says spring break like Dayton.

When they were young, we mastered the art of traveling light but always had essentials like Power Rangers and Goldfish crackers to keep the boys occupied if they tired of the game. Now we tailgate, go to the spirit walk, and eat at Little Tai Pei before basketball games (it’s good luck, you know).

This year will mark the end of an era for us. Ben is a senior this year and has announced his intentions to attend Iowa State. (It’s on Twitter, so it must be official.) I couldn’t be happier. He had options all over the country but chose the one he knows, the one that feels like home, right in his own backyard.

But that means change looms on the horizon. When the renovated south end zone opens next year, the section we have called home for the past five years, the seat to my left will be empty for the first time in 18 years. My partner in fandom, the one who has shared the highest highs and suffered through the lowest of lows by my side, will be off on his own new adventure. Enjoy the student section, kid; I’m gonna miss you.

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Jason Swanson
Director of Operations, Business Publications Corp.