Cyclone students shed Hawkeye pasts

Alexandra Gerling with family, supporting the Hawkeyes.

Isabel Gebers

A University of Iowa onesie. Tailgates, watch parties, the colors black and gold everywhere you look. From an early age, parents teach their children to cheer for and be fans of certain teams. What happens when you were raised as a Hawkeye fan, but 18 years later, choose the opposition and attend Iowa State University? 

Two freshmen shed some light on growing up as a Hawkeye and later becoming a Cyclone. 

Alexandra Gerling is a freshman majoring in pre-business. She’s also a Cyclone originating from a family of Hawkeyes.

For Gerling, the realization that she wanted to be a Cyclone came at age 13. Growing up, when her family gathered to watch the Hawkeyes, she felt an internal conflict.

“It’s pretty much my entire family sitting and watching the game on TV. And my dad yelling for the Hawkeyes. And me sitting there going, ‘When do I tell him that I want to go to Iowa State?’” Gerling said. 

The members of Gerling’s family are all “die-hard Hawkeye fans.” So, when it came time for Gerling to tell her family she wanted to go to Iowa State, she was nervous, but she knew they would be supportive.

“My mom and my brother were very excited,” Gerling said. “My mom had known since I brought it up to her, and she brought me on college visits. And she was like ‘alright you gotta tell your dad.’ So, I called my dad and was like ‘I got accepted into Iowa State.’ And he goes, ‘I’m never putting on a Cyclone shirt.’”

However, her dad didn’t hold true to his word.  At Christmas, she decided to get each of her family members Cyclone gear. Her dad wore the shirt the next day, claiming he would never wear it anywhere else. Gerling said that this rivalry will now always be there, but the communal experience of enjoying a football game won’t change. 

This past weekend, Gerling’s family and friends came up to tailgate and watch the game. Gerling was decked out in her Cyclone gear, proudly claiming that she is a Cyclone at heart. She plans to support the Cyclones after college, too, but realizes that the Hawkeyes will always be a part of her family traditions. 

Kaila Loew is another lone Cyclone amongst Hawkeyes. For Loew, Iowa State was the school for her major — apparel, merchandising and design — and since coming here was the best choice for her, her family was supportive in their own way.

Loew said her dad was very upfront with his love for the Hawkeyes. For instance, during Loew’s orientation visit to Iowa State, her dad wore a t-shirt that read, “Partnership to a Cyclone free America” the entire day. 

“He was supportive that I’m here, but he says he’ll never wear red or yellow,” Loew said.

Loew was used to no Cyclone gear being allowed while growing up, as her family always watched Hawkeye football games and tailgated for their team. She even happened to live in a house near Kinnick Stadium, the University of Iowa’s football stadium, so naturally tailgating was a major part of her family’s traditions; however, for this year’s Cy-Hawk football game, Loew was on the opposite side and enjoyed the festivities of the game with her friends. 

Loew described the transition from being a Hawkeye to a Cyclone.

“It’s weird because I was growing up as a Hawkeye, right. I was always taught to hate the Cyclones,” Loew said. “But now, I’ve been wearing Iowa State stuff and I feel a little weird about it, but I’m not a huge football fan. I’m not too into it.”

Although Loew still feels a little strange being different from her family, she enjoys bothering her dad about the rivalry.

“I’m excited to buy house divided stuff and then start slowly putting it up around the house,” Loew said. 

While Loew loves being a Cyclone, she feels that at heart she’s a Hawkeye, but that her heart might change with time.