I do a 360 with Ollie, my alto saxophone, feeling smaller and more confused than normal.
I acknowledge this existential crisis as I twist around, soaking up the Saturday sights and sounds of another North Dakota State victory.
“Orient yourself,” I tell myself. OK. We’re in mammoth Kinnick Stadium, which is in Iowa City, which is in Iowa. Iowa has big fields of corn and soybeans. Iowa feeds its big football teams with these GMO-filled crops.
My face is burnt from the September sun. Hawkeye fans, and their tear-streaked children, file out behind our rickety bleachers. We’re playing “On Bison” because we’ve won.
“We’ve won,” I think to myself.
“We’ve won,” I think.
I am one of 70,585 people in Kinnick who bears witness to the biggest victory in North Dakota State history, and my brain is melting. I don’t know how to respond to this stimulus, except by playing my saxophone and screaming.
This elation works, though only for a short while. Society frowns upon continuously playing saxophone and screaming for the rest of your lifetime.
“This can’t be happening. Pinch me, I’m dreaming,” I think. “Stop thinking in clichés,” I also think.
Denial isn’t just a river in Africa or a psychological defense mechanism: It’s been my entire collegiate existence. The Bison have befuddled me, yet again leaving me in a puddle of sweat and euphoria. How do you make sense of this insanity?
Cam Pederson allegedly made a 37-yard field goal with time expiring. I had my doubts that it went through the uprights. I still doubt it. My teams’ kickers don’t hit game-winners, right Blair and Gary?
The Bison reportedly beat No. 11/13 University of Iowa, the team that played in the Rose Bowl last year. NDSU, I guess, also gifted the Hawkeyes its first ever loss to an FCS team.
The Herd is now 74-5 in the last five years; these nerds have a 94-percent A in the grade books.
“Bullshit!” my brain screams. “Bullshit to all of it!”
This doesn’t happen, especially to a team from Fargo and while a saxophone from Barnesville goes to school here.
I suppose my brain’s failure to acknowledge and admit the Bison’s success into consciousness isn’t irrational. It makes complete sense to reject this insane storyline we’re all characters in.
It’s as if God decided to write some fan-fiction about some nobodies at NDSU, and then published it for craps and laughs.
How does this story end? Well, for starters, it will.
Dynasties die. Friscos are never guaranteed. Perhaps our town sages will be able to make better sense of what’s happening once it’s over.