Day two in the land of red…
The day started out bright and sunny, with unseasonable warmth accompanied by gusting winds. As the day drew on, however, the sky turned grey… a portent of news to come perhaps.
Finally- In the Omaha newspaper article I linked to yesterday, the author made the following quote:
Money. Boosters. Player entitlement. These are not issues that come up at Nebraska. Or many other schools.
While I took issue with his statement initially (This stuff happens even at the D3 level… just what magnitude and what level of scrutiny is often the issue), after being here for a couple of days I realize that this is actually true. These issues do not “come up” at Nebraska, because it’s not in their culture.
Read that correctly- I’m not saying that there are or are not problems with boosters or athletes in Lincoln, just that the language and mindset that Husker Nation has doesn’t include such possibilities. When I’ve talked to folks here, there’s almost a reticence to discuss what’s happened off the field with the Buckeyes over the past 11 months- they’re much more excited about what’s going to happen on the field and “their guys”.
It almost feels as if they don’t have the words to describe or conceive that the sport might not be pure and fun… or if they do, they refuse to use them. You’d never see this type of shirt in Lincoln; heck, even the way they describe their abuse in other stadiums is a polite urging for fans to be better, not an accusation of their boorishness.
Last November, I had a similar perspective on a program that did things “the right way”; obviously that’s been deflated ad nauseum. While I believe that there are some systemic things wrong with college sports (particularly football and basketball), it’s nice to be in a place where people believe in the good that these can bring. This isn’t, as the author of the Omaha article wondered, naivete, but might just be a different perspective and set of expectations.
On Memorial Stadium are written the words of philosopher Hartley Burr Alexander- “Not the victory but the action; Not the goal but the game; In the deed the glory” I hope that this is true for all who participate in college athletics, and that Nebraska fans never have to change their perspective on their favorite program.