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Harty: I nearly deflated The Bubble

[ 0 ] April 19, 2012 |

Of all the reporters that have covered the Iowa football team over the past half century, I stand out for a reason that is nothing to brag about.

I have the dubious distinction of being the only member of the media to put the indoor practice facility known as “The Bubble” at risk of being partially deflated.

The real thing will happen Friday morning when the Bubble is deflated all the way before it’s demolished.

It didn’t come close to being deflated in 1995, but that was partly because several members of the Iowa football team saved me from being known as the idiot who deflated the Bubble.

The Bubble has two revolving doors that are supposed to be used to gain entrance. There is also a service door between the two revolving doors, but it’s clearly marked do not enter.

It was also clearly marked in 1995, but somehow I missed it while attending a weekly press conference during the season.

I’d like to say that I was so focused on my upcoming interviews with Iowa football players that I wasn’t paying attention when I tried to enter the Bubble through the service door.

But even if that was true, I still looked like a buffoon when the service door opened and a big rush of pressurized air nearly knocked me over. At first, I thought I could shut the door myself, but then quickly realized that wasn’t happening.

Luckily, some big, strong Iowa football players noticed that I was in trouble and rushed over to help shut the door. If my memory serves me correct, tight end Scott Slutzker was one of the players that came to the rescue.

Phil Haddy from the Iowa Sports Information office was also on hand, but he was too busy laughing at my blunder to help. Actually, Haddy deserves credit for alerting the players to my problem.

The players deserve credit for not only getting the door to shut, but also for still taking me seriously after the incident occurred, although, I never felt the same talking to Slutzker again.

Haddy eventually forgot about my miscue until I mentioned it to him recently. He then told me I was in a category all by myself.

“You’re the only news man that’s ever done it,” Haddy said of entering the Bubble through the service door.

Trash containers were placed in front of the service door after my brush with deflation as a precautionary measure, or perhaps UI officials just didn’t trust me, because they’ve been there ever since.

I have since learned that the Bubble wouldn’t have deflated all the way that day, even if the service door had remained open. So thank goodness for backup plans.

But that still doesn’t make it any less embarrassing.

It’s easier to laugh at my mistake now because time has a way of making things easier. I hadn’t really thought about the Bubble much until it was announced that it would be coming down and replaced by a new indoor practice facility.

The Bubble served its purpose for a number of years, including making sure that Iowa coach Hayden Fry stayed put. Fry lobbied for the Bubble to be built in the mid-1980s and threatened to bolt for greener pastures if it wasn’t built.

But now, 27 years later, the Bubble is outdated and is an eyesore. It also has a tendency to smell. Spend enough time inside the Bubble and you can’t wait to get out.

One day, though, I couldn’t wait to get inside.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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