Most of you don't need a Zen Friday entry this week. You're half-working at best, and you're enjoying the second full day of March Madness, possibly hoping to see Rick Pitino's sunken look of despair after Louisville gets knocked out by UC-Irvine. Oh, it'll be glorious, like a relief map of every accumulated moment of failure in one man's life all at once.
But we are not here to talk about watching the emotional mudslide of Rick Pitino's face. We are here to offer comfort and compassion to the school and fans that desperately need it right now: Iowa State. This is how it's going over at Wide Right & Natty Lite today.
Far be it from us to judge anyone else's coping mechanisms - I've willingly watched Northwestern games to avoid Florida football - but, yeesh. 61 FBS programs have played at least 1000 games, and 55 of them have a better winning percentage all-time than Iowa State. (One of the five that doesn't is Northwestern so, again, I'm a very stupid and sad person.) The ceiling at Iowa State is an eight win regular season. This is not a hyperbolic dig. It's a statement of fact, assuming you were born after 1906.
So forget what you hear about being a teacher or working as a cop or raising children. Those roles may be underappreciated, but no other task is as literally thankless as Cyclones Fan. The strength it takes to wake up the morning after a brutal upset loss on the opening Thursday of March Madness and say "yes, I will start thinking about the next season of Cyclones football, even in joke form" is amazing. It's more grit than I've shown on my best day.
The rest of us think we've got it bad. We tear our hair out when our team doesn't make a bowl game. We insist a 9-3 season just isn't getting the job done if we're not competing for a conference title. But compared to Iowa State? We are 27 year old assholes whining about having to carry the groceries all the way into the kitchen by ourselves while Sisyphus is next door wearing a Cyclones shirt.
You live that life every day, Iowa State supporters. And it's time someone acknowledged how brave you are to do so.