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March 28, 2011

Vandervelde Chronicles

It was quite a year for Julian Vandervelde and the Hawkeyes in 2009. This was the year that everything fell into place for Iowa as they started off the season with a 9-0 record and eventually won the Orange Bowl. It was also a season where Julian started off on the sidelines due to a weightlifting injury in the summer. He talks about his experiences in the latest installment of the Vandervelde Chronicles.

Chapter 4: Everything's Coming Up Oranges

The Orange Bowl season. It's hard to find something that the Hawkeye faithful don't know about from 2009 on the field so I'm gonna try and focus off the field. The most improbable start to a season filled with challenges (especially along the offensive line), and the Hawkeye spirit to overcome them was probably the most dramatic as well within my Iowa career. The graduation of senior leaders and All-Big Ten selections Rob Bruggeman and Seth Olsen left a hole in the middle of the O-line bigger than just two people. I tore my peck tendon the first week of summer workouts when I tried to stabilize a 130 lb dumbell that had inched off my center of gravity after spending the spring splitting center reps. Then Bryan Bulaga's thyroid development left us scrambling to fill the positions of 4 starters from the year before. I believe the results speak for themselves, we managed...

I'm going to explain the Obama thing in the hopes that no one else will have to ask me how I got that gig. I have a friend from high school who I met through our mutual choral and theatre related activities. He ended up working for the Obama administration in Washington and organized his visit to Iowa City. He knew I could sing and thought it would be a great draw to have a Hawkeye football starter sing the National Anthem. Yes I was nervous; yes I got to meet the President. It was about my shortest meeting with anyone ever. It went like this:

My Friend - "Mr. President, this is Julian Vandervelde. He sang the National Anthem."

Me - "Mr. President, it's an honor. I'm a big fan."

Pres. Obama - "Hi Julian, nice to meet you (hand shake). You did a great job, let's get a picture (click). Thanks, see you later."

And off he went. I must say despite being shorter than I thought he was, he is quite the intimidating figure. Maybe it was just that he's the most powerful man in the world, or maybe it was the secret service agents clearly itching for the chance to tackle and taze me at the first wrong move, but it was both scary and cool at the same time...

For those who've been keeping up with my little diatribes I'm sure you're wondering what our Lord of the Rings game was in 2009. Well guess what, THEY'RE ALL LOTR GAMES! That's right! Penn State! Michigan! Michigan State! INDIANA! We were never supposed to actually win those games whether it was at the beginning or after the first 3 quarters. BUT WE DID! So there, call it the LOTR season if you want! Either way, by the end everything was coming up oranges...


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