What an experience. It never gets old, in fact it gets better. More than 70,000 thousand people packed into a special place called Kinnick Stadium to watch Iowa humble Michigan on homecoming weekend. Playing a game at night adds so much to the atmosphere. Especially if your sitting up high or one is lucky enough to be in the press box. The world is dark as you look around, but as you look down the football world is brightly lit for 140,000 eyes and the Saturday night national audience to see. The Hawks rewarded their fans with an evening to remember. An evening that had been declared by many, as far back as spring practice, as the "Night to be in Kinnick" during the 2009 season. When the 30-28 score stayed brightly shining and the Iowa students rushed the field, the memories of 28 seasons of doing Hawkeye games on radio rushed through my head. Where do I place this is the list of great days in Kinnick? At that moment it was number one.
So, Sunday morning it's off to Kansas City and the annual Chiefs players alumni game. I always look forward to this Sunday in October as it's a chance to see my teammates, who I share many memories with from 9 years with Chiefs. Each year, enjoying the weekend has become more challenging, because of physical problems due to football injuries that have taken their toll on my Chiefs buddies. There were 40 players on the active roster when we took the field against the Minnesota Vikings for our win in January of 1970. Seven are now deceased and many are walking with the help of a cane or walker. Some are bedridden and a good number are constantly facing another operation. The NFL and The NFL Players Association refuses to provide the assistance that I feel is needed and deserved. I feel so lucky that I'm not one of the many that so dearly needs this help. The Chiefs played well, but lost in overtime to the Dallas Cowboys. The Chiefs have now lost 14 in a row. Gosh it's great to be a Hawkeye. Tuesday is the induction ceremony for our Super Bowl team into the Missouri Hall of Fame for our Super Bowl team. The induction took place in Springfield and I enjoyed riding the 3 hours from Kansas City with my Chiefs teammate, Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson. "Lenny the Cool" was one of the great ones to ever strap on a helmet. He has the same job for the Chiefs, providing color for the team's radio broadcast, that I have for the Hawkeyes. Who do you think is having more fun?
The T and C Hunt Club (www.time2hunt.com) south of Fort Scott Kansas is my next stop. My old friend Bud Walker has spent 10 years putting together the property and building the white pine lodge that is a sportsman's dream. I need a shooting lesson, as I have been practicing the "shoot and release" program over the past hunting season. I know missing shots on pheasants and ducks is good for their population, it is not good for the table or the ego. After an hour on the range I was back on my game and ready for pheasant season to open.
Thursday is here and it's time to head for Madison, Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes have work to do and so do I. The Michigan victory is history. I've been able to enjoy it for 5 days. I know the Hawk players have only been able to enjoy it for one day before their thoughts moved on to beating the Badgers. But, then that's the advantage of being a has-been football player and a color analyst.