For the last couple of years now, my husband and I have been on a mission to locate the home of Kirk Ferentz. Who, you might ask, is Kirk Ferentz? If so, then you obviously do not now, nor haven’t in recent years, had a child attending the University of Iowa. Kirk Ferentz is the dreamy (my words, not my husband’s) head football coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes. And, if you’re wondering, no I am not one of those raving lunatic football fans who think that football and athletics in general trump all else in life. Truth is, I really don’t care about football. Or basketball, or any other sport. I don’t have anything against the games or the athletes involved. I completely understand the excitement and fun surrounding a game and admire the incredible talent and dedication of the athletes. I’m just really not all that interested in the actual game. Having said that, my husband and I have traveled to Iowa City for almost every home game and are loyal fans of the Hawkeyes because the electricity in the air at a Big Ten football game is palpable and it’s a lot of fun being a part of that. This year, we’ve had the added excitement of our son, Peter, playing in the drum line of the Hawkeye Marching Band.
But, aside from the game-time lunacy, we have become slightly fanatical about a different aspect of the aura of Hawkeye football – learning more about our fearless leader, Kirk. Mainly, where does this guy live? Are we stalkers? If so, then we’re not very good ones, because we still are completely in the dark as to where he “hangs his hat”, as my dad used to say. His income is public knowledge, so based on that, we figure he must live in palatial luxury. And, while we haven’t searched the entire Iowa City limits, we have yet to locate any area that fits what we envision. But, we’ve just recently come up with the rather surprising possiblity that he may live in a modest home in a regular neighborhood. After the terrible news regarding the football staff at Penn State came out, Joe Paterno was seen peeking out from behind a draped window of his house, which was extremely modest and certainly not the kind of house we ever pictured our Kirk living in.
We looked at each other and almost in unison said, “Could it be we’ve been combing through the wrong neighborhoods all this time?” Maybe he does live in the house with the big Hawkeye mailbox or the one with the wooden silouettes of the gardeners bent over. Or maybe the one with the sign that reads “Back door friends are the best”. Hmmm…it was something to consider. We decided we needed to completely revamp our game plan on our next trip out. Of course, the reality is that we know we will never learn the location of his home, but it’s a lot of fun trying! Our new hobby has our kids a little nervous, though. Of course, our oldest son, Mike, responds as he seems to be doing with rather disturbing frequency, when he learns of questionable behavior by his parents, with his usual concerned voice that what we’re doing might be illegal. He’s becoming a bit of a broken record. I think they’re just worried that one night they’ll be the ones peeking out from behind drawn curtains when the Iowa City police nab us. Hey, at least we have common interests and enjoy doing things together. And after 26 years of marriage, that’s pretty good.