Big 12 Sports Articles

Putting Nostalgia in its Place During this Unusual Iowa State Basketball Season

NCAA Basketball: Jackson State at Iowa State

If you are anything like me, you love to watch sitcoms and turn off your brain in the evening. Lately, I have gotten into The Goldbergs and I must say it’s one of my favorites. For my kids, they think it’s just funny. But for me, it’s the universal nostalgia the show portrays of the 1980’s that I love.

The gym teacher in tight thigh high shorts. Waiting for a song to come on the radio so you could record it on your latest and greatest mixed tape cassette. If you lived in central Iowa during the 80’s, chances are you had a blank tape at the ready on your parents stereo system set for Q102.

Parachute pants, the Sports Illustrated football phone and ordering a felony’s worth of Columbia house tapes under assumed fake names.

All of these things are quintessential 80’s propaganda. Yes the 80’s has that warm feeling for most who grew up in that generation like myself.

There were other things in years past that I can remember too as a kid. Going to Hilton and watching Johnny Orr pump his fists in that sport jacket as they took the floor.


“Heeeeeeeerrrrreeeee’s Johnny!”

The announcer would say, sending us all into standing ovation.

Victor Alexander posting like a mailman at Christmas.

I remember Hilton in the Hoi-ball year. Yes I was older, but that place made me feel like a kid again as I sat and watched those games.

Those players that were electric both on and off the floor. Georges Niang, DeAndre Kane, and my personal favorite, the “Bull Dog” Dustin Hogue.

Yet here I sit only a few years later writing about a team that has yet to win a Big 12 game, albeit early in the season. A team that I have very little attachment too either in comparison to previous teams.

It dawned on me while watching the Goldbergs just the other night that I may be dogging a Cyclones basketball team based on my own perceptions of Iowa State basketball.

Nostalgia can work both ways in your heart.

In other words, my nostalgia is getting the better of my logic when it comes to this basketball team. But I’m not certain much of my despair can be blamed on this team that takes the floor.

For years, it was all we had here at Iowa State to depend on.

The Cyclones basketball team was our knights in shining armor to redeem another year of football folly and let us cheer for greatness with expectations. We looked at ourselves as a basketball school from necessity to keep our sports sanity most years. But that is the past. That’s simply nostalgia.

Logic says: This current team plays just as hard. This team is young, and still hasn’t gelled due to lack of practices and tune-ups due to Covid-19 protocols.

I had even written an article before football started. I had written about how more experienced teams with established players and coaches would fair better than those teams with younger inexperienced players. How new coaches due to the Covid-19’s monkey wrench would find limited practices and thus team cohesiveness hard to obtain.


This team hasn’t gotten the advantage either of a Hilton Colosseum rocking and packed with rabid fans. I should remember that of all the college sports, it’s basketball that holds the greatest home court advantage for teams.

Hilton Magic, The Phog, whatever you call that animal house in West Virginia; All of these places under normal years deliver upset wins against better teams at least once a season.

This team has missed practices, played only a handful of tune-up games before conference ball, all while being inexperienced at certain places on the floor.

I don’t get a week to shake off a loss, come to my senses and look at this team with new eyes as we can in football. No. It’s a few days and they are tipping off again.

I, for one, am going to silence my critiques of this team, at least for a few more weeks.

I must remember that my nostalgia when it comes to Iowa State basketball, it’s players, and even Hilton Magic are simply unfair to throw at this team this year.

It’s an odd year, and these are different times. I wish I could see this team after a full and normal offseason. I wish I could see them under the Hilton lights with a packed coliseum of crazed fans to their benefit.

But that seems like years ago, and isn’t possible in today’s world.

No, for just a while longer I will let go of nostalgia and blame. I will simply root for this team to improve, possibly win a few games here and there when it’s all said and done.

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