College football features lots of weird trophies that are steeped in tradition, like old oaken buckets and wooden turtles and long axes, among others. It would be hard to say which of the many trophies is the weirdest or the worst — until now.
A few days ago the Iowa Corn Growers Association unveiled the Cy-Hawk Trophy that will be given to the winner of the annual game between the Iowa State Cyclones and the Iowa Hawkeyes. (Cyclones and Hawkeyes = Cy-Hawk. Pretty creative, eh?) The trophy features a farmer kneeling next to a basket of corn, presenting an ear to a young boy wearing a baseball cap while a woman holding a young child looks on. What it has to do with sports generally, or football specifically, is anybody’s guess. The CEO of Iowa Corn says, however, that the trophy represents “the people and characteristics that are uniquely Iowan.”
Perhaps — that is, if Iowans are slow-witted corn cultists. The farmer seems to be amazed that corn has sprung from the ground and is ready to perform some kind of ritual to celebrate its arrival. The kid in the baseball cap, the girl, and their Mom, on the other hand, presumably have lived on the farm long enough to have seen an ear of corn before and don’t find it to be a particularly awesome object, no matter what weird old Dad might believe. Seriously, what kind of bizarre life must these people lead if they are regularly kneeling around the family corn basket? How many people in Iowa even have a corn basket, anyway? And what’s with the trophy name? “Cy-Hawk” sounds like something somebody with a phlegm problem might do to clear their clogged airways.
If you were a football player, would you even want to win this trophy? Would anyone stand up and make an impassioned Knute Rockne-type speech about the need to win back the treasured Cy-Hawk? And if your team did prevail, would your school want to prominently display it anywhere that it could be seen by, say, potential recruits who don’t happen to worship the Mighty Corn God?