Memories of a past, bitter winter
By BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
It was back in 1979-80 — that winter I remember for things other than wind, cold and snow, or the triple crown of yuck.
At the time, I was living in northwest winter, where winters can differ greatly from the southeast part of the state. Having resided an equal number of years in the northwest and southeast parts of the state, I find it rather humorous when people here grumble about winter.
People, you haven’t seen a real winter until you spend one in northwest Iowa or South Dakota, my native state.
That 1979-80 winter was eerily reminiscent of our current one. The mercury dropped early in the season (December) and stayed there until late March.
Northwest Iowa had much more snow than we’ve had here that winter, but wait, winter isn’t over. The 18-inch bucket load of snow we received in February of 2011 proves we can catch up in a hurry.
Weather aside, the thing I remember most about that winter was the warm glow and respite from the elements provided by the Hawkeye basketball team. That was the Ronnie Lester team, the last Iowa team to make it to the Final Four. Iowa fans maintain to this day had Lester not been hurt in the latter stages of the season (he did return to action after injuring his leg but was not the Lester prior to the injury), Iowa, not Louisville, would have been NCAA champs.
But as in any championship run, a few favorable bounces of the sphere are needed. Had Vince Brookins missed and not made a late field goal against Georgetown, Iowa never would have reached the Final Four.
This year’s Iowa team reminds me of that team and year. No, the teams are vastly different, but each is special in its own way.
Circumstances beyond my control have enabled me to watch more basketball this winter than ever before. Although I love the sport and often wanted to take off the first weekend of work during the NCAA Basketball Tournament, I have learned that I have a tipping point.
It came last week when I turned off the television in the middle of a game. I was “hooped” out.
Perhaps my penchant for watching hoops during recovery says something about the quality of network television. I am not into reality shows and the other programming, save for Dateline on Friday nights, has little appeal to me.
So, it’s watching Iona and Canasius tangle on the court one night and Wagner and Elon the next. While I prefer Big Ten basketball, I have found that nearly any game is better than watching network television.
Chapters are still to be written on the 2013-14 Hawkeye basketball team, but so far they have been a special team. They may not have the best starting five in the collegiate ranks but I have yet to see any team that can match Iowa’s talent in the first 11.
I am sure they will break our hearts a few times in the remaining weeks, but they will give us more reason to smile.