STEPH and ALISA: ‘Twas time for some Cyclone poems

On Monday, Alisa and I recorded our latest episode of the Title IX podcast. It was a Christmas/Championship Week Extravaganza. Unbeknownst to each other, we each prepared our own Big 12 title game versions of the famous Christmas poem, “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” which we read on the pod. But we’ve since had several of you reach out and ask for them in written form. So, without further ado, here they are:

‘Twas the Week of the Big 12 Title Game (Steph’s version)

‘Twas the week of the Big 12 title game, when all through the state
Cyclone fans were stirring, their hearts elate.
The tickets were purchased, the viewing plans set,
in hopes that lofty expectations soon would be met.

But the fans grew restless as they laid in their beds,
visions of past heartbreak danced in their heads.
Sustained success? No, this must be a trap.
There was no settling their brains for any long winter’s nap.

When during a press conference there arose such a clatter,
beat writers sprang to get to the crux of the matter.
Away to The Twitter, the Cyclone fans flew,
seeking information: who is hurt and what is new?

The presser, of course, was done via Zoom,
giving the Pandemic Luster to objects in the room,
when, what to fans’ wondering eyes should appear,
but head coach Matt Campbell and his perfect scruff beard.

With answers full of coach-speak, his approach always the same.
The fans knew in a moment that Coach was locked into the game.
More vanilla than ice cream, his answers they came,
but then he praised his players and called them by name:

“Now Brock! Now Eisworth!
Now Mike Rose and JaQuan!
On, Kolar! On, McDonald!
On, Nwangwu and Breece Hall!
To the top of the Big 12!
To the top of the polls!
Now trust the process! Trust It!
To a New Year’s Six bowl!”

As young soldiers that before battle want relief,
when they meet with their enemy, look to their chief
so on head coach Matt Campbell the players relied,
with his laser-like intensity and calmness their guide.

Five years ago, in Hilton, the fans heard over the speaker
the dreams and aspirations of this serial goal-seeker.
As they listened to him speak of dreams so profound,
into their hearts, Matt Campbell came with a bound.

He looks like a coach, from the way he walks to how he claps,
and his clothes are all Nike, from his polos to his caps.
The burden of a tortured fanbase he’s flung on his back,
and he told doubters to stuff it when he introduced the all-blacks.   

His eyes–how they twinkle! His dimples, how merry!
In cold late-season games, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth is drawn up like a bow,
and the scruff on his face is just impeccably so.

Cotton candy gum he chomps with his teeth,
and the bill of his hat rounded perfectly like a wreath.
He has a tan face and a sly, clever grin,
that tends to stay hidden until the brink of a win.

He is quirky and genuine, a right jolly old elf,
and fans worry he’ll leave, in spite of themselves.
But a GIF of his smile and a twist of his head
let’s the fans know they have nothing to dread.

He speaks few words, but goes straight to work,
and sometimes seems robotic until he tears up or smirks.
He preached the process and watched his team grow,
and in no time at all, up the rankings they rose.

He sprang to Jack Trace Stadium, to his team gave it all,
and away to Dallas they go to play some elite football.
But fans heard him exclaim, ‘ere he walked out of sight,
“Happy Big 12 title game to the Cyclones, and to the Cyclones a good night!”

‘Twas the Night Before Dallas (Alisa’s version)

‘Twas the night before Dallas, when all through Jack Trice
Not a creature was stirring, not even the mice;
The jock straps were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that the trophy soon would be there;

The players were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of touchdowns danced in their heads;
And Brock in his warmups, and Breece in all black,
Had just made a pact to bring the trophy to Jack,

When out on the turf there arose such a clatter,
They sprang from their beds to see what was the matter.
Away to the window they flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of last Friday’s snow,
That didn’t even touch the pristine field below,
When what to my wondering Eyesworth I saw,
But Tariq Milton, Landon Akers and Sean Shaw,

With a leader so loyal and ready for battle,
I knew in a moment he must be Matt Campbell.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

“Now, Foster! now, Soehner! now Newell and Bailey!
On, Kolar! on, Hummel! on, Schweiger and Assalley!
To the top of Burgstrom! to the top of Hilton!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away Milton!”

As leaves that before the Cyclones fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the endzone the coursers they flew
With the record full of wins, and John Walters too—

And then, in a twinkling, I heard in the suites
The shuffling and tapping of each little cleat.
As Brock drew in his head, and was turning around,
Down the tunnel Matt Campbell came with a bound.

He was dressed all in a polo, from ISU Bookstore,
And his clothes were pristine like he’d never worn them before.
A bundle of footballs he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a winner just opening his pack.

His eyes—how they twinkled! His smile, so contagious!
His hat was curved tightly, his tan was outrageous!
His fresh style was cut above his ears,
And the beard on his chin was something new this year;

The shirt under his polo was quite well fitting,
But his grey business slacks were a bit baggier than we’re admitting;
He had broad shoulders and looks like he works out
But seriously, back to the pants… what’s that about?

Twitter keeps saying he’s leaving for Michigan
And I laugh to myself, it’s about that time again;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And drew up a game plan; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his headset,
And giving a nod, he amended our mindset;
He sprang to the sideline, to his team gave a shout,
And away they all flew like the Kansas State blowout.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out the gate—
“Happy game day to all, and to all a GO STATE!”

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