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Spartans broadcaster returns to native Iowa for game

[ 0 ] October 5, 2013 |


By Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press

IOWA CITY, Ia. – George Blaha had a nice view Saturday. From his perch atop Kinnick Stadium, the Michigan State radio broadcaster could see swaths of black and gold, as Iowa fans alternated their colors from one section to the next. He could see a hint of fall color among the tree tops that stretched to the horizon.

He could see into the past, some 60 years, to the spot where his father took him. Blaha was 10 then, a kid from Marshalltown, 100 miles west of Iowa City. His father, Vernon Blaha, had secured seats 20 rows up near the 30-yard line. It was 1953.

The opponent?

Michigan State.

Blaha was a Hawkeyes fan then. To this day, he roots for them when they play anyone except the Spartans.

“The Hawkeyes,” he said, “were everything out here. They were the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Lakers.”

Blaha spent the first 13 years of his life in central Iowa before his father moved the family to Grayling.

“Great place to grow up,” he said.

And great place to return.

He met a handful of cousins Friday night for dinner in Iowa City. They spent the evening reminiscing, and talking about the days when Iowa ruled the Big Ten. From 1955 to 1960 the Hawkeyes compiled the best record in the league. They won two Rose Bowls.

“Forest Evashevski took Iowa to the mountaintop,” he said, referring to the legendary Hawkeyes coach.

Blaha thought of the old coach Saturday. He thought of his father, too.

“He would’ve been 95 (Saturday),” he said.

His father lived to 93. Blaha threw a party for him in East Lansing. The pep band played. He loved the Spartans, too. But his heart remained in Iowa.

Blaha’s heart is here, too, just not when the Hawkeyes play the Spartans.

“I’m having a lot of flashbacks,” he said.

Not bad when you come to work and look out at the spot where you sat with your dad 60 years ago. Not bad at all.

Blaha still remembers the score from that game in 1953.

“Michigan State won 21-7,” he said.

Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

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