UI international students learn the finer points of football


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David Xu scribbled feverishly, taking notes on the three phases of a football game Tuesday evening, as John Solow, a University of Iowa economics associate professor, described football terminology.

Luckily for Xu, he won't be tested on the material. Xu was one of around a dozen international students who attended Football 101 — an event planned by the Tippie College of Business Senate aimed at educating international students on the American sport.

Students joined Herky, Solow, and the Tippie senators in a night of football talk and indulging in tailgating-style foods such as wings and chips.

And Xu was happy for the help.

"It doesn't feel good to sit around the table with Americans talking about football and not have any idea what they are talking about," Xu said. "I feel like I know a lot more now and want to go to a football game."

The event was a way for students, specifically international students, to come together and learn a little bit about why football is such a big part of American and UI culture.

"A lot of professors use sports jargon as reference in their lectures, and it can be a little confusing if you don't know exactly what they are talking about," Tippie Senate President Lucy Krol said.

Tippie Sen. Steve Waeghe said he wanted to get involved in the program because he thought it was a fun, interactive way to explain what football is all about at the UI.

"I am a huge football fan and a Hawkeye supporter, and Football 101 is a way to give students a better picture of what's going on every Saturday," Waeghe said.

But the event was open to all, and officials said they were surprised by the turnout of American students.

"Our goal was to focus on international students when planning this event, but it is understandable how this event attracted all types of students who are interested in football, especially with the tailgating food," Tippie Senate Vice President Kaila Krum said. "But we did feel this event was a success, and we hope to do it again."

The event started off with a brief presentation from Solow about the history of football as well as some rules and strategy to help students get a rough outline in their heads of how the game is played.

He also spoke about why football has grown so large in the United States and what it means to the UI community.

He said he hoped after this event students will gain a better appreciation of why people get so excited every weekend, and if they decide to attend a game at Kinnick Stadium, they will have a better understanding of what is taking place before, during, and after the game.

Herky also visited and took a seat front row to hear Solow's last words of the evening.

"Herky is in the house," Solow said.

The evening concluded with a photograph with Herky for each student as well as tailgating refreshments and a game of Hawkeye bags.

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