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Playing his Hawk heart out

Dan Parr - The Daily Iowan

Issue date: 9/18/06 Section: Sports
Mike Klinkenborg had every reason not to play less than a week after the passing of his 66-year-old father, Myron Klinkenborg. He could have sat the state's biggest rivalry game out - only the most selfish of fans and teammates could hold it against him.

Sometimes the lessons of a father stick with a son, even when he's no longer around to drop patriarchal reminders. After Iowa's 27-17 win over Iowa State, Mike Klinkenborg said he knew his father would want him to go back to work. He might have been the spark that lit a game so chock full of emotion that crying became an acceptable part of a game where tears aren't exactly encouraged.

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Think what it would have been like without "Klink," just one of the names - along with amazing, tremendous, and heroic - Hawkeyes used for the linebacker after Iowa's win.

If he stayed away, Mike Klinkenborg wouldn't have fed off his teammates' admiration and support. He wouldn't have snagged eight ball carriers, which propelled his team-leading tackle total to 31.

He wouldn't have been there to carry the Cy-Hawk trophy off the field, with misty eyes and a mud-caked face. He and his brother Monte Klinkenborg couldn't have shared an emotional moment on the Kinnick Stadium turf, while fan after fan hopped the wall separating them from the field, celebrating what he had accomplished.

"We can't even imagine what he's going through right now," safety Miguel Merrick said. "For him to play in the game, it's incredible. We had a Hawkeye looking over us, and we were able to pull a win out for the Klinkenborg family.
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