Big Fish

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rosko-p's picture

It's not really bullshitting if the story, embellishments and all, brings us all to the point even if the point is mere enjoyment. 

Wiscillinowa Native

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SirNicholas33's picture

Awesome.

The writing at this site the last 16 or so hours has been extraordinary. Well done by each of you.

Comedy is where the mind goes to tickle itself.

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therealCatnuts's picture

God bless all of you, GIA writers and commenters alike. I love talking about Hayden and I love hearing all of you talk about Hayden. Thank you. 

I spent half my life's earnings on wine, women, and song. The other half I wasted.

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ReggieRobysWristwatch's picture

Great stories and great write-up. I'm sitting here reading these and I can hear them all in Fry's voice. 

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matsumoto's revenge's picture

The writing here about the passing of Hayden has been unmatched. Truly, thank you all. The man deserves the eulogy that you've provided with all of these incredible articles. You've put into words and story the feelings of so many Hawk fans. It's crazy to think that "a sports team" can have such an affect on people, but Hayden's football program and the byproducts of that program form the collective memories of so many of us along with our families and friends. Thank you GIA, and thank you Coach.

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MattShermanINTs's picture

Thank you GIA staff for the outstanding articles.  Very moving words today.  A reflective day, indeed.  

I have had the mental pictures of Nick Bell running over, around, and through the 1990 Illini -- with a beaming Hayden on the sidelines.  

RIP Hayden.   

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RetroHawk's picture

I can to this day recall one of Hayden's first press conferences where he talked about Iowa needing a 1,000 yard rusher. In 1079 he took Dennis Mosely in his junior year and made him that rusher. He left Iowa as their all time leading rusher (and he had great games vs ISU). By 1981 we had a winning season and went to the Rose Bowl.  The man backed up what he said, always.  When you do things like that, nobody questions the stories, no matter how embellished they might be.    

RetroHawk

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Fryser Soze's picture

I've read these all before and will read these all again a few more times.  I do want to hear this Las Vegas story of Vint's in another 20 years when the embellishments have grown even more hair!

Formerly YouCanPutYourEddsInIt

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Chuck Long Duk Dong's picture

I used to work as a student laborer doing maintenance for the U of I dormitories. It was my first college job. During the summers, the football team would stay in the dorms during summer camp. On one hot July day, two other co-workers and I had roof duty (cleaning the tops of debris and clearing drains). It sucked. Hard work, no shade and dirty. So I'd take my work shirt off and try not to die. 

Later that day when last breaktime hit, we started heading down to our break room, but that was also when the players were coming back from practice. Giants surrounded me as we funneled into the doorway. I still had my shirt off as most of them did too. And as I got closer to the door... there he was, larger than life with that thick Texas drawl, greeting all the players. As I got to him, without even looking at me, he smacks my rear end and says "Good job out there today, nice practice." I was beside myself. So of course without thinking, I say "Thanks Coach." It was his last year coaching at Iowa but I'll take it. My co-workers lost it. Coach Fry thought I was on the team, probably the kicker.

no more yankey Chuck's wankey

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Chuck Long Duk Dong's picture

...

no more yankey Chuck's wankey

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WaterlooChazz's picture

That's awesome!

I never wanted to Fire Ferentz. Good bye and good luck, Gary.

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Calvin Poolidge's picture

That sounds unsanitary, as I'm sure it was a couple months or more before you washed your heine again.

"I have something like 50 years left on this little blue marble, I don’t want to spend 50 weeks of it caring about stupid fucking Iowa State." ~TherealCatnuts
"This school spirit, it's contagious. It's alcohol." ~Airliner goer 1977 ranked ISU "Beat Iowa"

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Austin Kent's picture

Big Fish is my favorite movie! I've always thought Hayden's life had more of a Forrest Gump quality, with all the famous people he intersected with. Reading this article makes me think of another movie - The Men Who Stare at Goats. The movie is just ok, but the tagline is epic and I think they could reuse it someday for a Hayden biopic - "More of this is true than you'd believe." 

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Rienow-Dakota's picture

This my Hayden story. It is mostly second hand, from my parents to me. Every word is true, although I may have some of the timing off. 

Sometime in the mid-80s, J. (a kid in the neighborhood) came down with a life-threatening illness. As happens in Iowa for these sort of things, J. ends up at the Children's hospital in Iowa City. It is an extended stay (months) and things are touch and go for a while. Spoiler: this is not a sad story and J. is alive, married, with kids. 

J's mom basically moves to Iowa City for the duration, and a couple of times a week, moms from the neighborhood would drive over to take her out to lunch for a bit of a respite. On one of these lunches, they decide to go to one of more expensive restaurants in town at the time. They walk in, and Coach Fry is having lunch there as well. 

After Coach Fry has finished eating, but before he leaves, one of the moms stops by the table, explains Js health situation, and then says thank you. Because football players (and basketball players) would come and visit the kids in the hospital. But it wasn't just a "Hi, how ya doing" They would stay and play Nintendo. For a significant amounts of time. I was able to visit R. twice in the hospital, when R. was feeling better, and both times there were Iowa athletes in the room playing video games with R when we showed up. So the conversation was basically; your players are lovely people and that reflects so well upon you, thanks so much.

When Hayden gets up to leave, he stops by the table, and is Hayden. Gets the room number, promises to visit personally, then exits. When the moms table is done, and asks for the check, they are told that Coach already picked it up. 

After a bit, J. gets out of the hospital. J's family is not originally from Iowa and they are graduates from a different school with a big time football program. They write some letters to the Iowa athletic department, the football and basketball team, thanking them for everything the student-athletes had done for J during the hospital stay. In that letter, they mention that they are alumni and fans of a different school, but they will always root for the hawks, unless they are playing team X.

Some months later, Rs family gets a letter in the mail. Iowa has a home game against team X, and Coach Fry would like them to be his guests at the game. He has also spoken to the coach of team X, and that coach would like to meet them in the visiting locker room. J ended up with a football signed by the entire team.   

Enjoy that high porch picnic, Coach. You earned it. 

Formerly Ratface McDougal -- which is a good fly fishing fly but a bad name.

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Beltway Hawk's picture

its been said that the mark of truly great people is that they treat those with no ability to help or hurt them as well or better than they do the rich and powerful...

"There is no reason in the world why we shouldn't fight for the preservation of a chance to live freely, no reason why we shouldn't suffer to uphold that which we want to endure." -Nile Kinnick

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Calvin Poolidge's picture

I only really talked to Hayden Fry twice (with a couple other times of simply shaking his hand and wishing him well for the upcoming season).  The first time we talked he was in his second to last year of coaching, and it was simple football and life talk that lasted a few minutes.

The second time I talked to Hayden Fry was more involved and important to me (and this one I try NOT to embellish at all so that it remains a true story).  He had come to town for FryFest (the second one- - this would have been 2010) and was slated to sit with a panel of speakers about Hawkeye history, as well as some other events he was due to attend while in town.

I should back up by mentioning that it was 2010 and my wife was pregnant with my second son.  Heroes had been the most popular show but had been cancelled earlier that year, however Hayden Panettiere was at the peak of her popularity.  Also riding high in popularity (and perceived "hotness") was Hayden Christensen from Star Wars eps 2 & 3 and that movie Jumper.  So Hayden was a VERY popular name at the time, and my wife liked both of those actors at the time, but I just REALLY didn't want to go with Hayden for our child's name because everyone in Iowa seems to have a kid or dog or something by that name.

So, I decided that the only thing better than naming my kid Hayden would be to try and have Hayden Fry himself name my kid.  I got to the Marriot complex early so I could get in the line for the meet and greet (and autographs) after the talk.  Unfortunately others also got there early.  I waited in the line for like an hour, and by the time I got to the ex-players and coaches I look down the line and Hayden is gone.  He'd had to move on to his next event in the Coralville/Iowa City area.  Everything sucks.  My wife is anxiously awaiting my phone call to see what transpired and what we'd be naming our son, and I had nothing.

By this point it's a reasonable lunch time and I'm hungry, so I figure I'll go drown my sorrows in some Falbo Bros. pizza or something.  I go out a side door to make my way back to my car, and after just a little walking a different side door opens and out walks none other than legendary coach and guy-I've-been-seeking-all-morning Hayden Fry, with a couple (what looked like) assistants or whatever.  I immediately start jogging in his direction, without rushing for fear the possible assistants may actually be security and I don't want to be tazed.

As I approached I called out "Coach!  Hey Coach!" (funny how everyone called him Coach, even after he stopped coaching) and explained that I knew he was in a hurry but that I had a question for him and asked if I could walk with him.  He agreed with a smile and I launched into it.  The son, my wife's choice of names, not wanting to name someone Hayden because everyone does (I don't remember exactly how I said this part, but I managed to say it in a non-insulting sort of way- - I'd had this whole spiel in my head all morning as I'd originally thought I'd need to blurt it out with a bunch of people waiting for me to move on), etc.

After explaining that I thought it'd be more special to have Hayden name my kid than to name my kid after Hayden, I say "so what do YOU think would be a good name for a son?"  Coach Fry looks at me thoughtfully and says "well, I've always been partial to Hayden."  I sort of cracked a smile and said "What are you telling me Coach?"  He looks back, starting to crack a smile as well and says "It's a good name" and then breaks into that full big grin of his.  I said "okay, I understand, Hayden it is."

He shook my hand, I thanked him for letting me walk with him and take up some of his time.  He wished me good luck with the kid and we parted ways.  And that's why my son is named Hayden.

"I have something like 50 years left on this little blue marble, I don’t want to spend 50 weeks of it caring about stupid fucking Iowa State." ~TherealCatnuts
"This school spirit, it's contagious. It's alcohol." ~Airliner goer 1977 ranked ISU "Beat Iowa"

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