Rainy Sunday morning at Green Lake...but I shaved 7 minutes off a 3 mile walk, including stretching time on both ends! I generally walk to music at Green Lake, more specifically to college fight songs, Sousa marches, the Royal British Grenadiers and the Coldstream Guards. Sometimes I try to emulate the days when I played trumpet in a marching band and could bring my legs up high enough, with toes pointed, head perfectly aligned with body, and horn swinging. It was such a wonderful rush to play for crowds in perfect harmony, and with physical precision. When you play music, you become part of something larger than yourself.
My degrees are from the University of Iowa, home of the Hawkeyes, whose colors are black and gold, and whose fight song goes as follows:
On Iowa, proudly at the fore
On Iowa, on forevermore.
Every loyal son will sing a rousing song to you
Every loyal daughter loves you true
On Iowa, with your wealth untold
A heritage to us you did unfold.
Love of family
Love of home
Love of country too
Makes us proud for what you stand
Our Dear Old Gold.
That's from memory, mostly from my childhood rather than my college years. My father played football at Iowa, on one of the great Big Ten teams of his day. He would from time to time take me 300 miles south to Iowa City, home of the university, for a football game. My first conflict ever about who to cheer for came at a homecoming game between the University of Iowa and Notre Dame. (I am Irish and was raised a Catholic to boot.) Over the loudspeakers came the words, "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame." I can to this day see the Notre Dame band in my mind's eye, with brass flashing, legs all perfectly aligned at 45 degrees, all columns perfect -- and in green uniforms! I turned to my father and said, "Dad, I don't know who to root for...." He looked at me and said "Do you want to come back?" I answered correctly and ended up not only coming back to games but taking two degrees in literature from Our Dear Old Gold.
That's a pretty long way of saying that when I walk, I try to march that remembered way to both the Iowa and Notre Dame fight songs. I remember how special those trips with my father were for me, and know how proud he would be of what I am doing. I suspect when we march into Memorial Stadium on September 9th, we will all feel somewhat like I did at that homecoming game so many years ago -- overwhelmed, stunned, and in awe to be part of something so much larger than our individual selves.