Beauty and the Beast something to behold


Photo:Rebekka Brown/Iowa State Daily

Michelle Browning starts her form for the vault event during the Beauty and the Beast event held Friday, Jan. 21 at Hilton Coliseum. Browning tied for sixth with three other participates with a score of 9.725 to help Iowa State gymnasts defeat Missouri 195.250 – 194.550.

Jeremiah Davis

Sensory overload is probably the perfect term to describe what took place Friday night at Hilton Coliseum.

The third annual installment of the Beauty and the Beast event, which showcases the ISU wrestling and gymnastics teams at the same time, did exactly what it was supposed to do:

It entertained people.

The crowd wasn’t capacity, and may not have looked impressive by Hilton’s standards during the years, but it was still very much a success. It put people in the seats who may not have ever seen a gymnastics meet, or vice versa.

The spectacle of it also drew people who hadn’t ever seen either sport live or hadn’t seen them in a very long time. More than once, I heard people sitting around me question why they didn’t do this more often, and that if ISU athletics did so, they would be more likely to come.

Whether or not that was bluster is immaterial. Just the fact people are expressing interest in watching two sports that hardly ever receive top billing from the general Cyclone fan population is excellent — even though wrestling is Iowa State’s most decorated sport in school history and gymnastics wins consistently and is ranked more often than not.

I’ll be honest and say I’ve only ever attended a wrestling meet once while at Iowa State, and it was Friday. Same goes for gymnastics.

What it did for me, was clue me in to what I’m missing out on. Wrestling fans are as passionate when they’re watching Jon Reader as when basketball fans are watching Diante Garrett. And I challenge you to watch anything the gymnastics girls do and not be impressed. They do things that I could never hope to do in a million years.

I wasn’t totally new to wrestling before Friday. My step-father and his sons are passionate about wrestling, so from the time he married my mother, I heard all about it. Watching college-level wrestling is much different than what you might have seen if you became curious and watched your high school team.

Gymnastics, on the other hand, was totally new for me. I had to have rules and scores and moves explained to me throughout the event. I won’t pretend I understand it all — or very much of it, for that matter — but I do know I was thoroughly impressed. The “Beauties” became the only Cyclone team to get a victory all weekend, as both men’s and women’s basketball joined wrestling in the loss column. 

Granted, the “Beasts'” night didn’t turn out so well, especially for Trent Weatherman, but that doesn’t discourage me from going in the future. 

Ultimately, what Beauty and the Beast does is open the eyes of people who may not have otherwise bothered to look in the direction of wrestling or gymnastics. The goal of the event was to put new people in the seats, and I think it was a success.

The event should continue, no question, and maybe the ISU athletics department should consider doing more than one per year. Even if it remains only one installment a year, you should go and check it out; you just might leave a fan.