It started with a wardrobe change.  “You’ve gotta put your USD sweatshirt on,” my wife remarked as she studied my apparel.  Knowing that the now annual gridiron clash would take place on Saturday between My Beloved’s alma mater Northern Iowa and my institution of higher learning South Dakota, a wave of dread passed over.

We met at age 27 both years removed from college.  Until the Coyotes recently jumped into the NCAA Division 1 ranks, the two schools hadn’t faced each other much athletically since the late 1970’s.  The two teams have actually played some pretty tight games since 2008.  The lone exception was the blitzkrieg in 2009 as UNI prevailed 66-7.

Still the hangover from last year’s one-win season remains for me despite this year’s success and there was little reason for me to get excited this time.  With some trepidation I donned the sweater and we went about our business of the day with occasional reports from the mother-in-law, who is also an alum, at the game in Cedar Falls.  After trading touchdowns early, playing kickball with Charlie became more important.  Then the message came: 28-21 trouble!

It was not a play call from the sideline, but the score from the UNI Dome in the fourth quarter.  Really?  The Panthers were actually ahead 28-7 but in danger of…son of a gun it’s tied.  By the time the home team kicked a field goal in the first overtime, I had to jump on the twitter feed and relay the action to My Beloved.  As the Coyotes snared the 38-31 2OT victory, I became the scourge of the family tree that I joined through matrimony.  Fortunately, the wedding vows bind us stronger than any allegiance to a school.  For her family, the negotiations toward a peaceful resolution will involve just a bit more substance.  Like grandkids and banana bread.