Monday, December 24, 2012

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 48

The Time Mookie Got Hawkeye Bowl Shirts For Christmas

This one obviously goes back many years.

When I was a kid, I was a big fan of the Iowa Hawkeyes.  We watched all the football and basketball games on TV, and I was even a member of the "Junior Hawkeye Club."  That basically entitled me to monthly newsletters, and a yearly trip to Iowa City for an "open house" type thing at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.  We were able to tour the facility, and got to meet many of the athletes and coaches at the University.  It was pretty cool.

After a few years of dismal football seasons, the Hawks finally had a great year in 1981 and earned a trip to the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day 1982.  Back then there weren't 1001 bowl games like there are now, so this was a big deal.  It was the first time they'd been to the Rose Bowl (or any bowl) since the late 1950's, so Hawkeye fever was running high.

My "Grandma Onie" was somewhat "up" on things and knew what was "cool with the kids" compared to other grandmas.  Her youngest son was only two years older than me, so that helped contribute to her knowing what was cool.

That year for Christmas she got me a Hawkeye/Rose Bowl shirt.  It was a pretty basic shirt, but I thought it was bad ass.  Unfortunately the Hawks lost in tremendous fashion to Washington in the game, but I still liked my shirt.

The Hawkeyes ended up having a good run for the next several seasons and went to a bowl game almost every year through the 1980's.  Each year the Hawks made it to a bowl game, she continued the "tradition" of getting me a Hawkeye/Bowl shirt of some kind. Peach Bowl, Gator Bowl, Freedom Bowl, Holiday Bowl, and yet another Rose Bowl shirt followed in their respective years.  While there was little to no surprise that I was probably going to be getting a Hawkeye shirt for a gift, I always looked forward to it anyway.

As I got into high school, the Hawks had a few years where they weren't very good and didn't make it into any bowl game.  Because of this, the "tradition" of getting the Bowl shirts from Grandma and Grandpa came to a sad conclusion.  While they did make a few bowl games during their 1990 and 1991 seasons, Grandma must have sensed the shirts weren't "cool" anymore (which they kinda weren't) and I did not receive shirts those years.  Sadly, her health deteriorated and she passed away a few short years after this.

As I look back and remember Christmases past, I always smile when I think about getting those Hawkeye/Bowl shirts from "Grandma Onie."  It is one of those silly memories that I will keep with me forever.

I hope you have a happy holiday, and a Merry Christmas.

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