cyhawk shirts

I’ll save some readers a little time and declare my fandom for the Knoxville Panthers, St. Louis Cardinals and Iowa State Cyclones.

For the handful of you who are still reading, thank you!

Other readers may resonate with that great philosopher, Jerry Seinfeld, who said that sports fans are cheering for laundry.

“You’re rooting for clothes, when you get right down to it,” the great comedian mused. “I want my team’s clothes to beat the clothes from another city!”

My loyalties are simply explained. I grew up in St. Louis. I could have cheered for the Cubs. I also could have slept in the garage. Go Cards!

My kids and my tax money went to Knoxville. My money still does. I know good kids at every other school in the county. But ever since my kids put on black-and-gold uniforms, I was a Panther fan.

Which brings me to the red-and-gold of Iowa State. It’s actually cardinal red, which helps a bit. But again, it’s the green of the tuition money I spend to send my son there that has me cheering for ISU this Saturday.

It’s all mere laundry, except when the rivalries help us thrive.

On June 22, 2002, I had my car radio on when the Cards-Cubs broadcast was mysteriously delayed. Then the Cubs’ catcher announced that the game was canceled due to a tragedy.

Cards pitcher Darryl Kile had died suddenly. Joe Girardi spoke words that no Cardinal was strong enough to speak, and I’ve respected him ever since — even when he coached the Yankees. That day, I found it in my heart to respect the Cubs.

It’s heartening to see how a friendly competition in Pella has helped support people living with intellectual challenges. Teams from Pella and Pella Christian have competed for four years to raise the most money in the Knights of Columbus Tootsie Roll drive. This year, they raised more than $5,200.

The Lady Dutch soccer squad took in the most, with the Eagles cross country squad not far behind. The real winners are the people whose lives will be changed by this effort. Those cross country kids, by the way, team up with runners from Pella and Knoxville every August for Balloon Festival runs that benefit all three schools,

Knoxville was scheduled to host a big Cy-Hawk party Wednesday night, after the deadline for the Journal-Express and Chronicle. Assuming the bash wasn’t quashed by predicted monsoons, there was a common color being rocked around the square.

The color is gold, and the cause is the kids at the University of Iowa’s children’s hospital. The Iowa Wave quickly became iconic last fall, as Hawkeye fans would pause during games at Kinnick Stadium and wave to young patients looking down from the nearby hospital. That feel-good moment was made better by fund raising. Last year, more than $440,000 was raised for the hospital’s research efforts.

Knoxville’s Cy-Hawk tailgate planners encouraged participants to buy Iowa Wave shirts. The gold shirts come with a choice of Hawkeye black or Cyclone red logos. Perhaps the University of Iowa gets the warm-fuzzy buzz from the wave, but it’s a cause that transcends the rivalry. It’s not for Hawkeye kids or Cyclone kids. It’s just for kids.

The party’s over, but the shirts still can be ordered at Sometimes our loyalties are just laundry, even dirty at times.

But cheering for a good cause never goes out of style.

Pat Finan is the editor of the Knoxville Journal-Express and Pella Chronicle. He can be reached at 641-295-0624 or via email at or