25,000 maniacs: Cyclones go all in with COVID-19 for the glory of football

Iowa State plans to allow 25,000 people at its home football games this season.

This is great for Cyclone football fans.

This is terrible public health policy.

I want it to work.

I don’t think it will.

Coronavirus cases are spiking in populated counties with big universities — including Story County, home to ISU.

Iowa has the highest per-capita instances of positive tests for COVID-19 in the country, per the New York Times.

Only three other countries in the world have a higher per capita rate than Iowa. Story County has the highest spike in new cases.

Football always makes money. COVID-19 is only fatal sometimes.

I picture ISU athletic director Jamie Pollard grinning ear-to-ear with his palms up like Alfred E. Neuman: What, me worry?

Iowa used to be No. 1 in education, or at least that’s what the told people in the 1970s.

Now we’re No. 1 in coronavirus. It’s not a national championship, but it’s something.

Gov. Kim Reynolds shut down bars and nightclubs. No booze. No music. No strippers.

But the restaurants are still open.

So you can sit at the bar in a restaurant and drink. You just can’t drink at a bar.

ISU struggles with COVID-19 on campus. But at Jack Trice Stadium, some 25,000 are going to practice social distancing.

If that sounds silly to you, I think you might be right.

I’m sure this makes sense to somebody. I’m not that person.

But so what?

America, the richest country in the world, has the most COVID-19 deaths.

The “masks are tyranny” crowd don’t help. But neither do the people yelling at other people to wear a mask.

Everybody is an extremist these days. It’s like living in a country full of suicide bombers.

Americans are not good at patience. We want what we want and we want it now.

We want a COVID-19 vaccine. We want it now.

Alas, science and the law does not work on consumer demand. You have to do the work and meet the standards.

So we take risks we shouldn’t. We play football. That’s a terrible idea in the pandemic.

But, damnit, it’s been a tough year and we need this, football lovers say.

We don’t actually need football. We want it and we want it now.

Thus, we shall have it and the masses may attend their cathedrals.

I’m not going. This doesn’t measure much. I lost my taste for crowds years ago.

But even if I had the desire, I wouldn’t go. I have my parents, both 71, and my grandma, 93, to think of.

At this point, I’m willing to treat football and public events like smoking.

Everyone knows smoking is bad for you.

With all the information available to the public on how to contain COVID-19, if you decide to go to a football game with 25,000 people, well, that’s on you.

If you get sick, you knew the risk.

Except … that’s the bitch of this hideous virus. It isn’t just about you. It’s about everyone around you.

Setting aside second-hand smoke, the person playing Russian roulette with their lungs is the smoker.

The football fan takes a power dive into the deep end of the COVID-19 pool.

If they get sick and get others sick, the pandemic drags on and gets worse.

The economy is already choking. A massive shut down like we saw earlier this year could crush a lot of businesses, wipe out scores of jobs and lead to foreclosures and evictions at rates never seen before.

That doesn’t factory in the potential body count.

But, again, I defer to individual choice.

If you wanna risk your health and the health of everyone around you to watch a game that is better on TV, be my guest.

You just can’t be a guest in my home.

Daniel P. Finney covers ear and nose hair for ParagraphStacker.com.

Cut loose and cashiered by corporate media, lone paragraph stacker Daniel P. Finney makes his way telling stories about his city, state and nation. No more metrics or Google trends, he writes stories about people and life ignored by the oligarchy.

ParagraphStacker.com is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I launch this new venture continuing the journalism you’ve demanded. Visit paypal.me/paragraphstacker.


  1. BJ Windhorst says:

    Dan, I find your pieces and perspective so refreshing. Keep at it, please keep writing. You have a great talent, it will find a home again.


    1. Thanks, BJ. I hope you’re doing well. I’m going back to grad school to get my teacher certification. Journalism is done with me, apparently.


  2. Artis Reis says:



  3. Allison says:



  4. Dave Hubbar says:

    OK,,,this piece of s story. It is not ready to conclude.We want it too.She is not givin in….Like a BA neighbor- we distance and separate; We are like dogs following it–we are guard dogs and watch dogs.bow wow…Like God—-he did not send the Messiah until He was ready.The first journey in- was completely divine…We have lots of news this time on C19..People over thinking…react= make changes–you make people mad…This story on a long time hold….An unwanted guest. Stay safe.Stay well….Tell reporters to stay on kaos stories…No others out there,,,even for the short relief of sports…….Under takers over worked…on stand by.Needing back ups.-30-.


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