After the first 10 or 12 University of Iowa running backs either left the program or suffered a cruel injury, I said it was just a series of unrelated incidents and accidents.
What a fool I was.
Now I confess to being wrong, wrong, wrong. There is a curse against Hawkeye running backs, and it is ruthless and relentless.
The latest example was Saturday, when freshman Barkley Hill hurt his knee in an open scrimmage. It was Iowa’s second open scrimmage in two weeks, mandated by Coach Kirk Ferentz in part to get his young RBs some work in front of an actual crowd.
But you can’t cite the coach’s public display of defiance as a reason why the curse reared its ugly head yet again. Last spring, Jordan Canzeri tore an ACL in a closed practice. The curse doesn’t care if you’re operating in a coliseum or a closet.
In between Canzeri and Hill’s injuries, De’Andre Johnson ran afoul of the law twice in a short period, and was dismissed from the team. There have been other Iowa running backs who had misadventures with the law.
Between injuries, crimes and defections, Iowa has lost Adam Robinson, Brandon Wegher, Jewel Hampton, Jeff Brinson, Marcus Coker, Mika’il McCall … let us stop right here. We know there were others before them. Many others.
I know many of you were on to the curse right away. I refused. I don’t believe in superstitions. I believe in science and logic. I believe in evolution, climate-change, e=mc squared. I believe man really did walk on the moon. I don’t believe in ghosts or zombies or leprechauns or whatever is reported by Weekly World News.
But this curse of the Iowa running backs, this thing is real and it’s bigger than all of us. And I’ve gotten to the bottom of what’s behind it. But I have been sworn to secrecy, or else it will expand to an Iowa sportswriters’ curse.
The force behind the curse demands a sacrifice, and he/she/they/it will lift the hex and let Iowa go back to having a normal amount of injuries and defections at the running back position.
It isn’t all that hefty a price to pay. I was surprised, actually. The force wants fifty bucks, American. In unmarked bills.
Why so little? Well, he/she/they/it aren’t greedy or materially motivated. He/she/it/they simply needs the cash to pay U of I parking tickets. Anyone who has spent an iota of time on that campus can surely sympathize.
So, I have unwittingly become the middleman. Get me the $50, I’ll get it to he/she/it/they, and the rest of your Hawkeye running backs will only have to contend with earthly obstacles from here on out.
I’d just pay it myself, but I go down to Iowa City quite a bit during the fall for Kirk Ferentz’s Tuesday press conferences. I get stuck with my own parking tickets down there.