As a huge Civil War buff, last November I was interested in seeing South Carolina, one of the few Southern states I’ve never visited. When I arrived in Charleston, I wanted to view Fort Sumter, site of the first Civil War battle. But after discovering it took a ferry and more time than I had to tour it, I chose to walk around the Citadel fortress area instead.
It’s a little humbling to see a gigantic Stars and Bars Confederate flag hanging at the entrance of the Citadel Museum. The history of the place was amazing. Many of the artifacts were destroyed by fire and siege 150 years ago but it still had a tremendous volume, including Civil War-era weapons and uniforms.
I covered Iowa’s men’s basketball team playing at the Citadel, which has a gym similar to Drake’s Knapp Center but only about half its size. Iowa won the game as expected. But the most impressive site that night was of a halftime drumline marching on the basketball court. It put every college band to shame.
I returned to the hotel about 11:30 p.m. and had a 6 a.m. flight to Minnesota, where Iowa’s football team played the Golden Gophers. I’ve covered hundreds of football games and watched thousands of them. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen an absolute butt-whipping like that 55-0 game. Iowa could do no wrong, and Minnesota could do nothing right. I think Minnesota was spent emotionally entering that game. One week earlier Minnesota Coach Tim Brewster laid everything on the line for the Gophers to beat Wisconsin. The Gophers lost 35-32. The team could not get up for a trophy game against Iowa, which was surging at that point.
Perhaps the most interested part of the trip was the change in weather. It was 20 degrees in Iowa when I flew to Charleston. It was 68 degrees the day I was there. By the time I arrived in Minneapolis, the temperature was 15 degrees and snowing.