(Story originally posted on SB Nation’s ISU site: Wide Right & Natty Lite.)
WRNL is proud to present nine weekly articles from Kagavi leading up to the official release of The Adventures of Robot Cy, a fictional 8-bit video game trailer that never was.
In a faraway futuristic time, college football has been taken over by robot mascots. Join Robot Cy as he travels through many thrilling levels to find out who is behind this nefarious plot!
Every week during the conference season, Kagavi will preview the ISU football game using this project as inspiration by asking what power ups could Robot Cy gain by defeating the other Big 12 robot mascots?
As the calendar turns to October, Iowa State is struggling again to keep pace in a high-powered Big 12 Conference where every other team has all kinds of exotic weaponry on offense. With Kansas invading Jack Trice Stadium this weekend for a slap fight, ISU may have found the only other conference mate that they can feel equal to. Last year there were rumors that Kansas clobbered ISU 34 – 14, but since the game was on Fox Sports Net, we cannot verify whether this actually happened or not. The 2015 season looks to be another hotly anticipated basement title race and the Cyclones are set to test out their 1950s pop gun offense against the rebuilding Jayhawks in a thrilling nap for much of the nation.
But what if Robot Cy was facing off against Robot Jayhawk?
If Robot Jayhawk used the best parts of Kansas football history to inspire a power up, what would it be? Let’s explore some Kansas history.
I was very glad to see Iowa State University honor Jack Trice’s legacy in 2013 by having the football team wear throwback uniforms inspired by the 1923 team. However, since they were not close to what the team actually wore, I took the time to create a much more accurate modernized look. These are the uniforms that Jack Trice and his teammates wore in the Minnesota game, the day after Jack wrote his famous letter.
(Image below can be clicked to see a 1920 x 1080 size version.)
In 2013, when I created my first Pendleton Woolen Mills stadium blanket with Iowa State University, I came across blanket savant Barry Friedman who is considered the foremost expert in American Indian trade blanket collecting circles and serves as a vintage blanket consultant for Pendleton. When I originally interviewed him about his classic 2002 book Chasing Rainbows, he was close to publishing a highly anticipated follow-up called Still Chasing Rainbows, which came out this past March.
Thought I would share a couple of neat photos of Jack Trice that are floating around in various archives. Jack was quite the star player at East Technical High School in Cleveland and was often mentioned in news accounts of the day. Years of digging through newspapers have unearthed some high school pictures and I wanted to show some off. The first one shows him in the process of pancaking another unfortunate victim during an East Tech practice.
The other one is one of my personal favorite photos of Jack, showing his beaming personality coming through.
A brief note–the website will be “going dark” for a couple of weeks so I can spend time with loved ones. Just like with Black Friday, I am making a conscious decision to not participate in the shopping frenzy that I feel often overshadows the true meaning of the season. The last day to order from this site for Christmas shipping is Friday, December 19 by noon. Any orders placed after that time will not be shipped until January 6th. Enjoy the holidays everyone.
I’m proud to reveal my limited edition University of Iowa stadium blanket made in collaboration with Pendleton Woolen Mills and influenced by the greatest players and teams in Hawkeye football history. Read on to learn more about the inspirations behind this project.
During my long process of comprehensively researching the Roaring Twenties period of college football for my custom Pendleton blankets, I accumulate hundreds of interesting historical images. With the USC – UCLA football game coming up this weekend, I thought it would be fun to look at some rare artifacts from USC football history, primarily from the Howard Jones era. When Jones moved to Los Angeles for the 1925 season, his reign as the Trojans coach started a Troy dynasty that has continued to this day.
Since USC is such a prominent football school, artifacts are a bit easier to find. In my previous story about the inspirations behind my USC Pendleton blanket, I discussed the two football uniforms in use at that time. The first one, which I called the vertically stacked VY design, was worn in the mid-1920s and another design, the vertical three friction stripes, was worn towards the end of the decade.
I hoped to find an existing jersey from this period and it ended up coming from the Newport Sports Museum collection, which founder John Hamilton made the difficult decision to close permanently earlier this year. In a new SCP auction starting this week, there are many incredible pieces of Troy history from the museum collection being offered for sale. Many of the items are from 1929-31 USC All-American quarterback Gus Shaver’s days with the school. Significant football jerseys from the 1920s and 1930s are pretty rare and it was a treat to see these items. (Photos below are from the SCP Auctions catalog.)
I’m proud to reveal my limited edition University of Southern California stadium blanket made in collaboration with Pendleton Woolen Mills and influenced by the iconic Trojan football teams and traditions of the Roaring Twenties and beyond. Read on to learn more about the inspirations behind this project.
Earlier this year, I shared two significant pieces from Jack Trice’s life: the first photo of Jack in game action and an important football jersey from the infamous 1923 Minnesota game. Both of these finds came from the estate collection of Iowa State football captain Richard Ira “Pep” Young, who graduated from ISU in 1924 with a degree in civil engineering.
Ira Young was the ideal homegrown Cyclone student-athlete who played three sports during his time in Ames. He graduated from high school in the small town of Jefferson, Iowa, directly west of Ames on Highway 30. When Ira entered Iowa State College in fall 1920, he became a pledge of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity and these bonds endured for the rest of his life. As a junior in 1922, which was Coach Sam Willaman’s first year at Iowa State, Ira’s fine football season led the team to vote him as the captain-elect for the 1923 season. Ira capped his Iowa State career with multiple letters in football, basketball, and tennis.
I have been fortunate enough to acquire Ira’s entire estate and can’t wait to share it with all of you. Here’s a look at some other key pieces.
When Jack Trice died of fatal injuries suffered in his first major game as Iowa State University’s first Black football player in 1923, he left behind a letter written to himself on the eve of the game. The full letter, which was discovered before his funeral, has become an iconic symbol of determined hope and effort triumphing over ugly discrimination. Today, Jack’s famous words sit in a thick vault at Iowa State as the beating heart of an entire campus.
The other prominent symbol of Jack’s brief life remains his distinctive football uniform with five vertical strips. When Jack walked onto the Minnesota field wearing his gold jersey, he was the only Black man on the field surrounded by a crowd of over 20,000 Minnesota fans waving colorful pennants and chanting. At that moment, the words of his letter were surely reverberating through his heart to do big things. When Iowa State finally created throwback uniforms in 2013 to honor his story, they used pictures of his jersey as reference. No trace of what happened to Jack’s jersey has ever been found and it was probably thrown out at some point, but what if it wasn’t?
We set out to find Jack Trice’s lost jersey.
To kick off the upcoming football season, I am pleased to share a significant acquisition in my ongoing Jack Trice research. For the first time ever, I am proud to present the only original picture of Iowa State legend Jack Trice in a football game. This is a new image of the Ames vs. Simpson game nearly 91 years ago, which was the first varsity game for Jack. The picture has never been seen in public before.