Blog Entry

Ali Comes Through Just Like He Said He Would

Posted on: March 20, 2010 9:41 pm
 
MATT JONES



It has been a long time since I found myself jumping up and down in my house at a sporting event.  Unlike my time as a child, where every sporting event seemed like life or death, in recent years I have enjoyed the games for their entertainment, but not lost control of my emotions in the process.  That changed Saturday.  For the last ten minutes of Northern Iowa's win over Kansas, I was pulling for the boys from corn country like we were related.  With every big shots, silly turnover or made free throw, I would clap, yell or simply pace.  I wanted to see the upset and I channeled my inner child to make it happen.

The reason why I was so excited?  Because earlier this year as part of my College Basketball Road Trip, the boys and I went to Cedar Falls, Iowa and watched Northern Iowa play.  It was a long trip, way off the beaten path, hours from civilization and deep in the midst of a strong snowstorm.  After it was over, we met for interviews with the players and coaches and to a person, they were thankful for the press and couldn't have been more polite.  And I quickly found my favorite player in mid-major college basketball, Ali Farokhmanesh.  Ali agreed to talk with me for 20 minutes after the game, but said he had to "take care of some business first."  That business was signing an autograph for every fan who had waited after the game to get his signature.  I stood patiently and watched him sign 100 sheets of paper, take pictures and shake hands like a local politician.  It was a great sight.

When it came my turn, he apologized but said, "they have waited a long time."  I talked to Ali about his game, how clutch he can be from the three point line (he hit five in the game we watched), his background (his father was a member of the 1980 Iranian Olympic volleyball team) and his team as a whole.  Before I left, I asked him about the NCAA Tournament.  He commented on the loss the year before to Purdue in the Big Dance, a game in which UNI never looked completely comfortable.  "This time it will be different," he said.  "This time we are ready."

I told him that we had come a long way to see UNI play and that in order to make the trip worthwhile, I joked that we needed to see some big plays in March.  He smiled and said, "I promise there will be a big play in March from me.  I have thought about it all year and I know its coming.  I can just feel it."  As I watched Ali hit the three point bomb that took more cajones than I can imagine, I thought of Ali and that smile on the snowy February night in Cedar Falls.  He made do on his promise and in one crazy March afternoon, made Northern Iowa not only the favorite team of the One Blogging Moment crew, but also the nation.

 
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Midwest
 
Comments

Since: Nov 30, 2009
Posted on: March 22, 2010 8:17 am
 

Ali Comes Through Just Like He Said He Would

don't get your panties all twisted up, you nancy. to most of the country iowa is in the middle of nowhere.



Since: Oct 25, 2006
Posted on: March 22, 2010 2:28 am
 

Ali Comes Through Just Like He Said He Would

Don't forget about the tiniest school to ever make the Sweet Sixteen, St Mary's of Moraga.  Just because they sealed the deal against Villanova before the last shot they are an unbelievable story.



Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: March 22, 2010 1:44 am
 

Ali Comes Through Just Like He Said He Would

lol dude, i can site people who went to my alma mater too(that's assuming u even went there)...the point is the whole state of iowa is not what you would think of as a sporting venue....i mean field of dreams says it best..."people will come to iowa for reason they can't imagine"(maybe not exact quote). The fact is UNI is a small school in a small town located in a rather large country.  I would be willingly to guess more people go to KU then people who live in Cedar Falls...could be wrong, but its a guess.



Since: Feb 4, 2008
Posted on: March 22, 2010 1:05 am
 

Ali Comes Through Just Like He Said He Would

I think some farmers on here are a little too sensitive and are missing the point of the article.  But just to entertain them, as an alum of UNI, I take no offense in people thinking we're a bunch of nice Christians living in the middle of nowhere.  In fact, I appreciated living on UNI's safe and quiet campus on all those nights I passed out drunk next to Redeker Dining Center.  I didn't have to worry about being beaten to death by members of the USC football team (because everyone in California is born into a gang) or being raped by some Florida Gators (because everyone from Florida is on the sex offender registry).  I only had to worry about a bunch of Lutherans writing on my face with Sharpies.
Disclaimer:  Before replying to my post with hate mail, please read a few of my other posts.  I'm not a hate monger.  I just enjoy using sarcasm to torture people with double-digit IQs and no sense of humor.  Go PANTHERS!



Since: Feb 24, 2010
Posted on: March 22, 2010 1:03 am
 

Ali Comes Through Just Like He Said He Would

Joe, stop being so sensitive.  Matt is from Eastern Kentucky and knows stereotypes.  Don't read it as a slap in the face to your home.  I am 1000% confident that you are reading into this wrong and Matt meant no disrespect. 



Since: Oct 21, 2006
Posted on: March 21, 2010 5:01 pm
 

Ali Comes Through Just Like He Said He Would

 Great Post Matt!  GO UNI!
  Let's face it, Cedar Falls is off the beaten path.  He is a big UNI fan, cut him some slack.



Since: Mar 21, 2010
Posted on: March 21, 2010 4:11 pm
 

Ali Comes Through Just Like He Said He Would

It's not even that using descriptive phrases like, "corn country" are that insulting. They're just cliche and not very insightful. Yeah, we know Minnesota is cold, Iowa has lots of corn fields and Wisconsin makes lots of cheese. Stereotyping is the writer's easy way out.



Since: Mar 21, 2010
Posted on: March 21, 2010 12:26 pm
 

Ali Comes Through Just Like He Said He Would

Believe it or not some us Iowans do laugh and even get a little choked up watching our local boys.  I graduated from high school (Go Trojans!!!) with Ali and he really is that nice of a guy.  I'm currently finishing up school in Alabama and its been great with the Hawks winning the orange bowl and now this.  Making people in the deep south at least aware of us in teh midwest!



Since: May 31, 2007
Posted on: March 21, 2010 2:11 am
 

Ali Comes Through Just Like He Said He Would

someone sounds a little bitter...its just an article. maybe try to laugh. do they have laughter in iowa!? on a positive note...farokhmanesh is the man!



Since: Mar 21, 2010
Posted on: March 21, 2010 1:56 am
 

Ali Comes Through Just Like He Said He Would

Robert Kincaid?  Um, the author's name is Rober James Waller; he was a professor of mine when I attended there.  If you're going to bad mouth, please have the correct facts; it makes all of the Hawkeye, scratch that, Panther state look like the hicks you were trying to trying to prove we aren't.


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