The Hyball: Iowa's What We Got

By Bobby Loesch on March 25, 2021 at 12:00 pm
We're All We Got
© Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Something haunted me inside a 15,000 word think piece about Sublime.

It was a 63-minute read (according to the subheader). Honestly not even sure how I got there. Maybe googling a lyric.

The essay took a crumb of a premise and blew it entirely out. Basically hypothesizing the band's final ever performance of a lesser known song contained more to it than what originally met the eye and ear.

...especially their final live performance of “The Ballad of Johnny Butt.” A fan recorded them playing it the night before singer Bradley Nowell died of a heroin overdose in his motel room at age 28, in the bed next to his drummer Bud Gaugh. To me, few songs capture Sublime’s maturing talents and wounded beauty as this final live version, and few songs embody the band’s contradictory essence more clearly: dudes playing cheery party music while courting death by the beach. 


The original trio played their last show on May 24, 1996 at the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma, California, north of San Francisco. It’s a sloppy performance. A concert promotor named Lil’ Mike, who’d professionally recorded previous Sublime performances, encouraged his girlfriend “Badfish” to record the show, so she sat up in the balcony and taped what she could on her handheld Sony Walkman. Her cassette captures a band that isn’t as enthusiastic, tight, or fun as they were at their best. Sometimes they’re on fire. Sometimes they sound tired. They go through the motions on some old favorites. Bradley forgets lyrics to new songs they’d recorded a few months earlier for their major label debut. He often forgot lyrics, and he just as often made them up. Improvisation was part of Sublime’s charm. But something about the band was off. Maybe the crack they’d smoked that morning in Chico set a dark pall over the whole day. Maybe death has a way of darkening a room before it leads you away.

It’s odd, because Bradley called his wife Troy Dendekker after the show, raving about their performance. “It was the happiest I had ever heard him,” she remembered on a VH1 special. Jason Boggs, singer and saxophonist of the opening band Filibuster, agreed. “Sublime killed it that night. They did a great, great job. Considering how much we’d all been partying before the show, I was very, very impressed at how tight they sounded.” Other listeners had a different impression.

The death line (emphasis mine) floated up into the air and became something tangible the very second I saw it, and, well, I think you probably know where this is going.

I'm close to that headspace now, but I was nowhere near that headspace on Monday.

Eh, maybe I'm still closer to this headspace.

Iowa-Oregon was futile and illuminating and every Hawkeye fan's worst case scenario. Defense and athleticism is not something this team had in spades, and Oregon completely maxed out those advantages on their side. It was half-dunk city/half-firebomb. We had the nightmare privilege of watching this team wilt, die, and decay in real time. The gap was insurmountable, the loss was inevitable; there was no going back, and when it finally did end, we weren't going to have the same group of people we came with.

It's hard to say if Luka playing so well made it easier or harder. Probably easier? That man gave it every single thing he had, and, well...

We know, man. We know.

That L was so bad, I had to turn off the television. Like, on paper, I had no quarrel with the existence of a Gonzaga-Oklahoma game, but... could you really be around basketball after something like that?

Saw some discourse on if this was worse than the Rose Bowl... I say worse. The Rose Bowl was just so long it almost became funny toward the end. You were fully able to process and mentally check out. This? I was locked in. Even coming up with fake halftime adjustments.

But it was never going to be that easy. Turns out subbing in defense sacrificed shooting. We needed to combine our players into super-players for this outcome to ever be flipped, and unfortunately, the science is not quite there yet.

Also, come on.

This was never Connor's game, and I may not ever get over Fran starting him. Also not sure if it made it better or worse when he basically conceded that point by not playing him, CJ, or JBo nearly as many minutes in the second half.

Speaking of JBo...

One of my buddies put it best: has anyone ever been worse at backing up their smack talk? Man. I remember, just this December, he had that swaggery line about Iowa not being ranked No. 1 yet but basically saying it was going to happen soon enough.

Then they got waxed by Gonzaga and never threatened the top spot again.

Our man scored 0 points in his grand finale.

If you did want to focus on something good, it has to be the ending of one Luka G.

It's cliche to say an athlete gave "everything," because isn't that just damn near impossible? I do not doubt this expression when it comes to Luka Garza. His flaws on defense perpetually bothered me, but he was a perfect Hawkeye and wonderful face to this program. I've said it before, but hopefully his career and legacy can be a building block to something bigger. Maybe a Megan Gustafson to another player's Caitlin Clark.

This L made it hard to take Iowa seriously -- on the national stage, at least -- going forward. Definitely said something during the game like "I cannot watch this team next year," which I'm already comfortably walking back. The future is unwritten, and maybe ours will involve some increased lateral movement.

The Hyball

"You can't muck when you're getting bucked."

Last Week

3/20 - Iowa 86, Grand Canyon 74: Damn, was it really that close? I remember nothing about this game. 

3/22 - Oregon 95, Iowa 80: Self-loathing was so high by the end, I was a little upset we cracked 80 because it made the game look closer than it ever was.

This Week



Caitlin Corner

There isn't necessarily anything new to say about Caitlin Clark, but it is still incredibly refreshing to watch new people take her game in.

Look at how gobsmacked Patrick is. You can almost see him still physically coming down from watching the Kentucky game.

Don't you put that fear in me, Slim Reaper!

also this pass

"Is Brad Davison A Senior"

This seems like it was three years ago and certainly stopped feeling good already.

But yes, I did make a short playlist.

Seeing your enemy vanquished really forces you to also see their human--OH MY GOD, THE WORST. THE ABSOLUTE WORST.

Please be all the way gone.

He's... totally gonna exercise that extra year, isn't he?

The Ballad Of Ricky-Bobby

Each week, we check in with professional basketball writer Ricky O'Donnell for a quick exchange

Left Ricky alone this week, but two links:

- His piece about Loyola

- The Washington damn Post wrote an article about him creating a virtual dynasty in College Hoops 2K8 while furloughed last year; your boy also got quoted a few times, and I can't recommend this read enough.

Obligatory Michigan Section

After M and Iowa lost hours apart in the Big Ten semis, I realized how much double proximity heartbreak could take a toll. This led to... an increased desperation going into their game LSU following Iowa's loss to Oregon.

It was... emotional. Michigan has made the NCAA finals twice in the last decade, and I would put this round two win right up there with any of the others. They withstood body blows and came through without one of their best players. God damn inspiring. That is to say I on and off cried and folded up one of my couch cushions to both punch but also pretend was a person.

Really gotta get that vaccine soon.

The Mini-Hybrid

Very rarely interested in low-hanging Nebraska potshots... but I think we all need a pick-me-up this week.

Kick Me

"I hate these sho--hmmmmm."

They're definitely different.

Bill Walton's Western Civilization 
No Context College Basketball

Some extras I didn't have the full energy for.

Making fun of Ohio State:

Making fun of Michigan State:

Making fun of Indiana:

* * *

Even more extras...

* * *

And a final shout out to Cam Krutwig, who is now works 250 different jobs, according to Twitter.

Wrapping It Up...

We've got a brand new dance, it's called we've got to overcome.

Bobby Loesch is a weekly contributor to Go Iowa Awesome. Follow him on Twitter @bobbystompy or email to bobbyloesch [at]

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