Camp Central: Hawkeye fans flock to Kid's Day

Aug. 14, 2010

Kid’s Day Photos (Saturday, Aug. 14)

IOWA CITY, Iowa — They came from places like Waukee, Lake Mills and Urbandale, waking by 6 a.m. and arriving at Kinnick Stadium before 10. These are typical Hawkeye football fans. The August sun, heat and humidity for a noon to 2:30 p.m. open practice? That’s no deterrent when the objective is an Adrian Clayborn autograph or a peek at DJK’s biceps.

The Polka family from Norwalk was most interested in a signature from Clayborn, Iowa’s All-American defensive end.

“She wants Adrian Clayborn’s autograph,” Lori said of daughter Courtney. “She loves his dreads.”

Marty Polka, 45, has been going to Iowa football games for 42 years, the last 16 with his wife.

“This is the first time we’ve been to Kid’s Day,” he says. “I have a `Hawks-to-Go’ trailer and if coach Ferentz came over here he would recognize me as the trailer guy.”

Marty is a self-proclaimed `realist Hawkeye.’

“I’m thinking we’ll go 11-1,” says Marty, expressing concern over road trips to Arizona (Sept. 18) and Northwestern (Nov. 13).

“We’re hoping for a national championship,” says Jaime from Lake Mills.

She made the three-hour car ride with three 8-year old boys who were unanimous in their autograph quest:

“Clayborn. Clayborn. Clayborn,” they said in near unison.

“He’s our rock star,” says Jaime, who attended the 2010 FedEx Orange Bowl, where Iowa thumped Georgia Tech, 24-14. She also remembers the unseasonably cool game-time temperature in Miami on Jan. 5.

“I try to come very year. It’s the first time for my daughter, so it’s kind of exciting. I just love watching the Hawks. To be honest, I’m satisfied with however the team does; I’m here to cheer them on.”
Joe Tallman, Hawkeye fan
from Urbandale, Iowa

“I would almost want that now,” she said.

The Kinnick Stadium temperature Saturday exceeded 90 degrees (Fahrenheit) with 70 percent humidity. Still, a throng of Hawkeye fans appeared.

“There are quite a few people for a hot day like this,” says Joe Tallman of Urbandale. “I would say there are 25 or 30 thousand here.”

Tallman wanted a day out of the house with his wife and daughter, Taylor, who made her first trek to Kid’s Day.

“I try to come very year,” Tallman says. “It’s the first time for my daughter, so it’s kind of exciting. I just love watching the Hawks. To be honest, I’m satisfied with however the team does; I’m here to cheer them on. If I had to guess how the season will go, I would say 10-2 or 9-3.”

Jeremiha Hunter, a senior linebacker from Pennsylvania, has been through other Kid’s Day and spring scrimmages. Taking time for the fans postpratice never gets old.

“This is great,” says Hunter, sweat dripping from his forehead. “This is a little practice and the fans are out supporting us. We were all little at one time, so it’s nice to give back any way we can.”

Freshman punter Jonny Mullings, a native of Australia, was overwhelmed by the crowd’s reception.

“This is just an amazing atmosphere,” he says. “I can’t believe how many people showed up. This is incredible to me.”

Another newcomer to the incredible Hawkeye fan base is freshman defensive back Anthony Hitchens from Ohio.

“This is nice; there are a lot of little kids,” Hitchens says. “It’s nice coach is letting us give the little kids autographs. High school was nothing like this; I’m thankful to be here.”

The crowd roared for a glimpse of or a signature from Clayborn or quarterback Ricky Stanzi. But the Polka’s were impressed with Johnson-Koulianos.

“I can’t believe the size of DJK’s arms,” Marty says. “I’m amazed at how huge they are.”