Nov 25, 2017; Manhattan, KS, USA; Iowa State Cyclones wide receiver Trever Ryen (19) tries to get away from Kansas State Wildcats defensive back Cre Moore (23) during a game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The Wildcats won the game 20-19. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports
I will never forget the first thing Chris Williams told me after Fred Hoiberg’s press conference following Iowa State’s win over Iowa at Hilton Coliseum in 2013. It was my fourth or fifth day on the job at Cyclone Fanatic.
I was still just learning how to doggy paddle in the pool that is covering a Big 12 team. I didn’t have much passion for Iowa State or Cyclone athletics at the time.
At this point, everyone knows I didn’t grow up in this culture. I chose to transfer to Iowa State from Simpson on the back of a hunch and knowing I could go to school with my best friend from high school.
I had never been to campus. I had only been in Ames a handful of times before walking on campus that Fall. That is why what CW told me that night after my first experience with Hilton Magic still sticks in my memory so vividly.
“I’m telling you now,” CW said. “I know you grew up a Nebraska fan, but I can already tell you this place will get in your blood. If you stick with us, this will become your passion. It happens to everyone who gets close to it. There will be a day when you love Iowa State as much or more than Nebraska, as crazy as that might seem right now.”
I have thought about those words a lot the past month or so. It first really popped back up in my brain while watching Monte Morris, Naz Mitrou-Long and Matt Thomas’ senior day festivities last winter.
People sometimes forget this is Cyclone FANATIC. We love the nation’s first grant-land institution as much as all of you. All of us do this because Iowa State is one of our deepest passions.
Cardinal and Gold run deep in my veins just like it runs deep in CW’s, Rob Gray’s, Brent Blum’s, Fitzy’s, Jay Jordan’s, Kirk Haaland’s, Jeff Woody’s and everyone else who contributes to this site.
I could never have foreseen a day when that would be the case five or six years ago. Two of my close family members are Iowa State alums, but it was an afterthought in my mind — until that hunch, I mentioned earlier.
That passion is the thing that made what happened in Manhattan on Saturday so painful. It hurt to watch Matt Campbell, Allen Lazard, Joel Lanning and everyone else in Cardinal and Gold on that field feel the disappointment of the way that game ended. It hurt to see Iowa State Twitter meltdown as the product of another heartbreaking loss.
The people surrounding Iowa State are what make it so special. More than anything else, it is the countless amazing people you encounter that force it into your blood. I hate to see those people disappointed.
I didn’t fully recognize it until I listened back to my Instant Reaction podcast. My voice was shaking with my first sentences. I was doing everything I could to contain my passion and stay above the fray like CW had texted me to do.
Seeing the people of this place so disappointed puts a pit in my stomach. It is still sitting there as I write this in the car while Rob navigates us home. It will sit there when I get back to my apartment, while my mind wanders and I don’t go to bed for hours.
I never can after games like this.
What happened in Manhattan Saturday afternoon hurt this reporter. That’s because this place gets in your blood.