Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Nine hours on a bus to watch a loss = FUN!

A few weeks ago, Cyclone Fanatic (one of the Cyclone sports sites I read regularly) advertised a bus trip to Lawrence to watch Iowa State take on Kansas.  For $95, I could have a game ticket, a ride to and from the game on a bus equipped with satellite TV and wifi, and fun with fellow fans.

I had considered similar trips in the past but just couldn't make it work.  This year's trip was well-scheduled, and I thought it might be a good game to watch.  I also haven't had any kind of real vacation or left the state in more than two years, so I decided this would be a worthy splurge.  I bought in.

After staying out too late Friday night, 5:30 a.m. on Saturday came way too soon.  But I pulled myself out of bed, heated up the breakfast burritos I'd made for myself and the two friends going on the trip, and began the 25-minute drive to Ankeny.  We were told to be there by 7 a.m. for a 7:30 departure.  I like to be early, and I was. There were only a few people not there by 7, and we actually got on the road a few minutes earlier than planned.

Two buses full of Cyclone fans ready to head to Lawrence, Kansas.

The satellite TV didn't work perfectly on the way down, but we made the best of it.  One of our chaperons lead an open discussion on the game, the team, and the upcoming basketball season. He also told a Charlie Weisz joke and created a mix CD that he started up as we pulled into Lawrence.  All in all, Chris Williams' parents were pretty fun.

My friends and I chatted with each other and some of the people around us.  There were three younger guys (mid-20s, as it turned out) in the back of the bus with us who were very entertaining.  So much that two of them earned nicknames on that trip.  One was lip syncing along with Taylor Swift's big hit from 1989, so we named him, "Shake it Off."  Another came out of the small bus bathroom with something wet on the front of his sweatshirt and he said, "Two pumps was a little too much."  He meant hand sanitizer, but our minds took it a completely different direction, and he became known as "Two Pumps." As the day wore on, he embraced that nickname, and I have a feeling it could become permanent.

The satellite TV cut in and out, so wevturned it into a drinking game.

As you might guess, there was also some drinking on the bus.  My friends and I started with some homemade Apple Pie (thanks Justin and Savannah!) and moved to some craft beer.  Our young friends were drinking Bud Light and doing Fireball shots about every half-hour.  Yeah.  We were ready to party.

(Chris Williams is the publisher and VP of Cyclone Fanatic.)

When we arrived in Lawrence, we had about three hours until game time.  We loaded off the buses to find beautiful, sunny, 50-degree weather.  It was perfect for a little tailgating.  Mostly, my friends and I just drank with our new back-of-the-bus friends and two more who joined our crew, Tyler and Kari.  There was also pizza from Papa Keno's (delicious by the way) and lots of laughing and talking.

The girl lying down is one of our new friends. She kept saying she was in Mexico. Ha ha.

About an hour before kickoff, my friends and I boarded one of the shuttles to the stadium and prepared to cheer the Cyclones onto what we were sure would be a victory.  But then Kansas scored two touchdowns in their first two possessions, and the Cyclones went three and out more times than I can count.  Iowa State showed some fight at various times during the game, but they just couldn't get much yardage and first downs were just hard to come by.

My best "action" shot of the day.

The Cyclones lost the game and officially became the worst football team in the Big XII.  They have zero conference wins with three games remaining -- Texas Tech, West Virginia, and TCU (and if you saw what TCU did Saturday, then ... well ...). There might be some who say ISU is the worst in the nation, but I refuse to accept that.  But I do think this was rock bottom.  But, hey the Jayhawks fans tore down their goal posts after the game, so they obviously thought it was awesome to beat us.

This was obviously taken before the game because we were still all smiles.
My friends and I got a bit lost on our walk back to the bus.  The shuttle we'd ridden had taken a weird route through campus, so we had no idea where we were going.  I used my GPS to direct us to Lot 90 (which is the lot number the bus driver had given me that morning).  But when we got there, it was clearly not our lot.  We had no way to get in touch with anyone on our bus ... except through Twitter.  I tweeted to the guy who had organized the trip and he told me we were in Lot 72.  Another quarter-mile walk, after we'd already walked about a half-mile.  Sigh.  I tweeted back to him that we were on our way.  Thankfully, the buses waited for us and we were soon on the road.

The ride back to Ankeny started out with a frustrating tone.  Our long walk plus the terrible outcome of the game had us all in a bit of a sour mood.  But the Back of the Bus Crew started turning things around and we had a good time. Probably too good.  We might have been a bit rowdy and loud for most of the drive.  It seemed everyone else wanted to sleep and just watch the game, but we were still wound-up and enjoying each other's company.  I would not be surprised if we were all blacklisted from future bus trips.

But I hope not.

Despite the disappointing game and the misdirection out of the stadium, I had a great time.  I would absolutely go on another Cyclone Fanatic bus trip.


1 comment:

  1. Dude. That sounds like SO much fun! I always balk at doing things like that because I never know how I could handle such a long bus ride (there and back!), but it sounds like it was amazing! I'm envious.

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