Iowa 58, Western Illinois 43

For Christmas I bought my dad and I tickets to the Iowa-Western Illinois game.

When I was a kid he took me to as many games as he could — usually two or three a season. Because we didn't have enough money to buy tickets he pawned them from a friend at work who knew I loved basketball or our neighbor who had faculty season tickets (section HH, biotch!). I always cherished those nights when we parked near Lexington, walked across the Wolf Avenue bridge, and through the east doors of Carver into its salty fragrance of popcorn and sweat. So tonight we went to a game like in the old days.

Instead of posting a few AP pics I'm using those I took with my digital. They're not spectacular, but they do the job.

Carver-Hawkeye Arena — cathedral of college basketball.

As usual, we got to the arena insanely early. My dad always liked watching the teams warm-up. Only a few fans had arrived. The weather was bad, too, so a lot of people stayed home. I miss those rip-roaring sell-outs, when the arena was freight train loud. More are around the corner.

The 2008 NCAA Division 1 Wrestling National Championship trophy.

The 2001 and 2006 Men's Big Ten Tournament Champions trophies. I ran around the house when we won it in '01; Deano and Co. won four games in four days and my friends and I went to the arena to celebrate that night.

The Hawks.

Fucking TV timeout. Apparently my dad and I were on TV.

Sorting out a foul, I think.

The seat in front of me. My tickets were for row 40 in section B, but dad and I sat in the very top row (42) of section A.

It's chips and salsa time. "In heaven there is no beer..."

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