I have to start out by explaining that I am the great disappointment of my family: I was born and raised to be a Hawkeye. I was the kid who drew Tiger Hawk logos all over his Trapper Keeper in third grade. My Dad woke me early one morning, much in the fashion that you would had you found out a family member had died, and explained to me that Chris Street has just died. (We were in no way related.) I was once actually excited about having Sam "Steve's Dad" Alford in the gas station I was working at that I had him sign my "Big 10 tournament champs" shirt." I was destined for Hawkdom, and somewhere along the way I realized I wanted to be an engineer and ended up at Iowa's red and gold-headed stepbrother, Iowa State.
And I tried, lord knows I tried to be a good Iowa State fan. I was at Arrowhead when the refs screwed us out of the greatest comeback in Cyclone Football History. I laughed when Seneca silenced Kinnick stadium, I stood triumphantly on the goalposts after beating Nebraska, I saw the run live and I honestly believed until the last crushing defeat to Colorado that Iowa State would return to Arrowhead again that season. And then, there we were, becoming the first notch in UConn's FBS cap and getting smoked by Boise State at Boise State on the smurf turf. And, to top things off, the loss that Iowa suffered to ISU kept them out of playing for the National Championship.( To this day, I cheer for both teams, and always feel conflicted when they play each other. )
So when my little sister decided on Iowa and earned a spot in the HMB drumline, my parents were estatic, and predictably bought season tickets, and followed them all the way down to Florida to watch them dominate Georgia Tech defensively to win the Orange Bowl (it is never going to get old typing that) in a grey Ford F-150 Pickup. On their way back, a healthy dose of welcome-back-to-Iowa weather in the form of snow and wind and below freezing temperatures caused them to have to spend the night in Mount Pleasant, Iowa on the way back. On the way, a ridiculously cute cat crawled under his truck, attracted by the warmth (he's one of those guys who lets their vehicles warm up for 10 to 15 minutes before driving anywhere) and rode on the spare tire attatched to the underside of the truck across 80 miles of snowy 5 degree Iowa landscape and into our garage.
After leaving a couple of space heaters next to the truck, the sounds from under the truck got a little louder and eventually a way-too-cute calico cat came out from underneath. She ate some of our golden lab's food, and mewed non-stop for about the first couple hours. (In retrospect, wouldn't you after going through all that?) I have to admit that I actually wanted to call it Clayborn (it was tough as hell to survive that, after all) but once my sister commented that "it sure cried a lot," the name Tebow just seemed too perfect.
So we let it run around the basement, and it has staredowns with our dog Maddi (who has been amazingly calm throughout this mess despite having a feline encroaching her space) and knows how to use a litterbox and has actually started answering to Tebow. Along the way, we tried to call the hotel, the restaurant next to the hotel, and every animal-related organization in Mount Pleasant that we could think of, and couldn't find anyone who knew anything about this cat. Somewhere along the way, the local news got ahold of it, and KCRG news and the Gazette both ran stories.
Suddenly the cat is on BHGP and Deadspin and we've got Florida fans in Los Angeles calling us and apparently my sister just got off the phone with a nice lady from People Magazine. All because we named a stray cat after a football player and the world laughed with us.
College football is awesome, isn't it?