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The Return of the (Outdoor) Optimist

I’m back, I’m a dad and I’m as optimistic as ever. Deal with it.

Syndication: HawkCentral Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

About three months ago, my wife came to me with a suggestion. Well, it was more of master plan that would sucker me into one of the most outrageous endeavors I’ve had to endure since becoming a father last July.

“Hey, can you come here for a second. I want to get your opinion on something,” she asked me while our daughter was down for a late afternoon nap.

“What do you think about blowing out this wall and opening up the kitchen, expanding the guest bathroom into a master bath, closing off the mudroom and making the addition a first floor suite with a walk in closet and workspace?”, she asked sweetly.

“That sounds expensive,” I proclaimed as my eyes rolled in the back of my head as I did quick math.

“Yeah but then if we do it, we can close off the back door... and if we close off that back door, I was thinking we’d hang a TV outside,” she explained.

“Like...a big TV?”, I asked.

“A huge TV... and we’d get a nice sectional that you can lay on if you wanted to. Maybe a firepit and a couple of those heat lamps that restaurants have for the fall. Imagine watching Iowa games outside with Palmer running around. Or after she goes to bed and the suns setting and we have a few beers while Iowa beats Penn State or something,” she answered.

“I can have a huge TV outside and a sectional I can lay on surrounded by fire as I drink a few beers while Iowa beats Penn State or something?”, I mumbled as I daydreamed about this backyard oasis as if I was Clark effing Griswold.

“Yeah, wouldn’t that be great? Don’t we deserve to have a space we’re proud of?”, she pushed on.

“Your saying that if we do this, I can have a huge TV outside to watch football on?”, I asked one last time.

“Yes, and a full master suite too!”, she prophetically stated knowing full well she just twisted my mind into a pretzel.

“IF I CAN HAVE A TV OUTSIDE AND I CAN WATCH FOOTBALL ON IT...I DON’T SEE WHY WE WOULDN’T DO IT!”, I yelled as I practically threw myself in her arms.

Fast forward to today, and I’ve spent the last two months sleeping on a mattress in the middle of my living room floor with my wife and dog while my 11-month daughter sleeps in a pristine room that never has a thing out of place. My clothes are in three different locations. Half of my shoes are in the basement and the other half are just missing. We all share one tiny upstairs bathroom. My couch is in pieces and essentially a headboard for my floor bed. My kitchen table is buried underneath God knows what. My oven and fridge have moved at minimum 37 times. My office is a playroom and a closet and my dogs nap area. And I’m hours away from buying knees pads because I spend so much time cleaning the dust off the floors.

But despite all of that, I just keep thinking about that huge TV and watching “Iowa beat Penn State or something” or “Wisconsin or something” or “Iowa State or something” or “Bert or something”. I keep thinking about how many times my neighbors are going to hear me emphatically curse in bliss as Cade McNamara throws touchdown after touchdown to weapons of the like I’ve never seen before. I keep wondering how many wins this new set up of mine is going to be a part of. While I’m not superstitious, I am a little stitious and I can’t help but think that this could be the very thing that changes the tide for Iowa.

Because lord knows my living room didn’t provide much Hawkeye pleasure as of late.

I suppose time will ultimately tell, but let me tell you, after taking some time away from you all over the last year or so, I’m as bullish as ever about the Iowa Football team and where we are going.

Sure, we have to deal with the embarrassing “Drive for 325” for the entire season and what it means for Brian Ferentz and I guess Beth Goetz if Iowa ultimately maintains a winning record off the coattails of Phil Parker and LeVar Woods again. But thus is the life of a Hawkeye fan.

This is the same fanbase that had to deal with “How to talk to your kids about an undefeated Iowa” and Colin Cowherd’s “Fake ID of College Football”. Every 3-4 years we’re the funny joke of college football...until we’re EFFING NOT because we just kicked in everyone’s faces on our way to a Big Ten Championship shot.

Make us a mockery. You think I’ll care as I turn on my HUGE TV and lay down on my outdoor sectional with a fire blazing just to my right and a cold beer balancing on my Dad-belly while I watch “Iowa beat Penn State or something”?

Not one bit.

And you know why? Because something special is happening with this football team in 2023. Doesn’t it all seem to be aligning like every other great Iowa team in the Kirk Ferentz era? Reasonable schedule. National Media giving Kirk and the coaching staff bulletin board material week in and week out. A freaking QB that knows how to win a big game. Weapons that TRANSFERRED INTO THIS OFFENSE (alright, maybe that’s new). A stout defense that will once again be the crème de la crème in the Big Ten?

I know it’s June but...

Happy to be back here. Happy to share in our beloved Iowa Hawkeyes again.

And for old times sake, play the damn polka.