Behind Enemy Lines: Friday in Lincoln

Written October 7th, 2011 by MaliBuckeye

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.

  • Quick update from yesterday- the guy from Iowa at the rental car agency gave us a car that was a certain color.  My wife took one look and said “Hey! A Nebraska vehicle!”  Me: “No, it’s not. If it’s on my credit card, that car is ‘scarlet’.” Her: “No, it’s a Big Red Machine!” Me: “Not unless Johnny Bench himself is driving us around…”
  • Today was the homecoming festivities… Wheeee!

Lincoln Traffic Jam

  • Today’s Nebraska news was about the re-tooled offensive line, and how they had become a source of strength for the offense. The paper tried to do a “pros and cons” for each team, but… well… should have let us write the “pros” for the Buckeyes.
  • Great to connect with a number of Ohio State fans this evening at the homecoming parade, including a Buckeye from Ann Arbor.  I’d loved to have heard his perspective on being DEEP in enemy territory.
  • As part of the parade, there were lots of students throwing candy and other trinkets, including Nebraska wristbands.  I did my fatherly duty, though, and reminded my girls that a) Peanut butter Buckeyes taste better and b) only evil people try to buy your affection.

Representing. With enemy balloons.

  • Another moment of pride for our family- we were lucky to connect with about 20 student leaders and student life staff from Ohio State who were at the festivities as guests of their Husker counterparts. It was great to see heads turn as we broke into “O!H!” “I!O!” right in from of the alumni center. The students were incredibly gracious with my daughters, including a cheerleader that won my youngest’s heart. I knew singing “Carmen Ohio” to her as a lullaby was a good idea.
  • The Alumni Events included a competition judged by UNL dignitaries, including (This year) Husker great Tommie Frazier. Again, it’s in Lincoln, but I have to disagree with his being introduced as “the man who should have won Eddie George’s Heisman…”
  • While it’s understandable that TBDBITL is not making the trip, it’s also a bid sad- I was looking forward to “Script Ohio”, as were a number of Nebraska fans that I’ve met.
  • As mentioned earlier- the weather is getting nastier… as if Ohio State’s offense needs another reason to play a bit sloppy.

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.

2 Comments

  1. BornInCornNo Gravatar
    October 8th, 2011 at 12:17 am

    Welcome to Lincoln. Hope your stay is enjoyable. Thanks for the kind words. Another of Mr. Alexander’s quotes is inscribed on the stadium and it rings just as true.

    “Courage; Generosity; Fairness; Honor; In these are the true awards of manly sport.”

    Here’s to a good and honorable game.

    [Reply]

  2. RedRexNo Gravatar
    October 8th, 2011 at 12:47 am

    Enjoy your time in Lincoln. This is what college football is all about. Don’t get too caught up in the side stories of impropriety, short-comings, etc. Just enjoy the moment.
    Thanks for visiting and following your team.

    [Reply]

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