Iowa Alumni Magazine | August 2005 | Reviews

Where Every Day is Game Day

By Jennifer Hemmingsen

There are football fans. There are football fanatics. Then there are those people who, if you asked them right now, could tell you how many weeks, days, and hours until Iowa meets Iowa State. To all of you, I’d like to introduce

OK, it’s a fan site. But Scothawk is as different from those hastily composed pages you’re thinking of as a thick T-bone steak is from a Happy Meal. It’s not a collection of grainy photos from nosebleed seats at the Wisconsin game. Nor is it some Joe’s midnight ramblings (with lots of capitalized words, different colored, flashing fonts, and exclamation points) about how much the HAWKS ROCK!!!! On other fan sites, spirit and pride usually trump design. Not Scothawk. It’s a well constructed, regularly maintained multimedia adventure that’s easy to navigate and doesn’t take a million years to load.

Scothawk sets the tone in an introductory flash presentation on the site’s home page. In front of a sepia-toned background, the words appear: “On a crisp fall afternoon, imagine yourself standing shoulder to shoulder with 70,000 fellow Hawkeye fans.” The love fest continues, matching dramatic, slow motion images of the Hawkeye Marching Band and cheerleaders with audio snippets of horns playing the Iowa Fight Song. You can almost feel the stadium vibrate with the roar of the crowd. Then the team arrives. “The players link hands and 80 to 90 individuals become one,” the text reads. “The swarm takes the field!”

Scothawk has the standard links to football schedules and Kinnick Stadium updates. It also has all the words and audio files to various Iowa fight songs, including the unofficial “In Heaven There is No Beer.” But the centerpiece is a series of meticulously crafted tribute videos edited by the site’s creator (a Scottish immigrant who loves the Hawkeyes, hence the name). Using television footage, radio announcing, and original film and graphics, these tributes capture the emotional essence of football, and show the rest of us what it is that drives fans’ passion for their team.

The newer videos—including a Star Wars parody titled “GridIron Wars”—are easy to find at the bottom of the home page, but it’s worth your time to dig a little to discover the other Scothawk creations as well. The Hawk Media Gallery has videos featuring star players, and Hawk Video Highlights features some oldies but goodies. My personal favorite is a tribute to Hawkeye “Gladiator” Matt Roth, which perfectly synchronizes game footage of the defensive lineman to dialogue from the movie of the same name. The way Scothawk tells it, Roth would eat Russell Crowe alive.

Scothawk doesn’t limit itself to endless footage of sacks choreographed to Metallica or AC/DC songs, and some of the videos are surprisingly moving. In a tribute to Coach Ferentz’s father, John Ferentz, who died last year at age 84, Scothawk combines thoughtful music with touching video, including an emotional interview with the coach at a game against Penn State the day after his father’s funeral.

While Scothawk (the person) reads far past fanatical on the Richter scale of Hawkeye football fandom, he’s also got a great eye for digital editing and knows how to tell a story through music and film. To appreciate this website, you don’t have to be the type who considers black and gold body paint the highest form of self-expression.