The Eyes of a HUSKER Child.
Note: This article was submitted on Oct. 4, 2005 by a "Husker fan in Georgia". If you would like to send a comment about this article please send it to this email address.
I grew up in Nebraska, and Nebraska football grew up with me. I am too young to remember the National Championships with Bob Devaney, but I am young enough to remember the next “Johnny Rogers” every year after. My first vague recollections of Husker football were of losing to UCLA on an opening game. At least I think it was an opening game, and I think it was UCLA –maybe it was a tie, but that doesn’t matter, I just remember we weren’t national champs anymore. I don’t know if I really knew what that meant at the time, but I knew it was a sad thing. After that, I have few recollections of Nebraska football except that for some reason every fall we were great until the Oklahoma Sooners game. No matter what we did, it seemed we lost on the last play of the game. I didn’t think of it as our athletes not being as good as theirs, or that our coach wasn’t as good as theirs. I never questioned that possibility because I knew our players played their hardest no matter what and our coach was not to be questioned. He was our coach. They were all doing their best. Nothing else mattered. When we lost to Oklahoma, it was “Sooner Magic”, not bad coaching or inferior players or bad play calling. It was MAGIC that made us lose. Nothing else. We were Nebraska. We never lost. We got over that hump the year Oklahoma came to town. I remember the hit on the (non)fumble on the kickoff; I remember the fumble by Billy Sims inside the 10. I remember the joy of it all… and I remember the sense of betrayal of that when the Orange Bowl invited Oklahoma to play us again. I knew 2 miracles were too much to ask for one season.
Fast-forward a few years- years of the Huskers being ‘close’ but not quite there. Every year for a while it seemed we lost to the eventual National Champs- Washington, Georgia Tech, Colorado, etc. always 1 game away, always losing to a one season wonder that was national champ 1 year, gone the next. Beating us was the key to being the national champs. At least we were there every year, and not many teams were there year after year. I never questioned the coach or the players –they were doing all they could, they were getting better every year. A step closer, but at least we were there in the mix except for 1 bad bounce or 1 bad game. The mid 90s came and the years of TO’s work came together in a few years of historical greatness. Nothing could match those seasons, and that was Ok- they were the rewards of 20 yrs of trying. They don’t need to be matched again. They were well deserved.
The Frank Solich years were sort of disappointing, mostly because they weren’t really Nebraska Football- in Nebraska football the I back was the star, not the quarterback. Those years don’t matter now. Frank Solich might have needed 10 or 15 yrs to improve the way TO did, but we will never know. Time to move on.
The problem I see now isn’t Bill Callahan or the effort… it’s the fan’s perception of the effort. BC is growing and building a new ‘life’ as it were. Baby steps are needed, and we should have awe and wonder at each step as it happens. Nobody doubts that a child will walk and run. They accept it and believe it, and sooner or later the child walks and runs if given the chance. He is learning the way a parent learns, a little at a time. Its not about perfection, but about trying things and improving things. The current Huskers are a LOT like a second or third child- they will develop in their own way and on their own time. They will be different than the first child of TO’s huskers, or the 2nd child of Frank Solich. Imagine the unfairness to the second or third baby if it is constantly compared to the first- well, the other one walked at 10 months. What’s wrong with this one since it took so long? Why does it walk differently than the first? Did we not teach it well enough? Is it not trying to walk? Is it not as good as the first child? If it walks BEFORE the first child, does that meant it will fall over sooner?? We don’t know, just enjoy the progress.
guess what I am saying is that we should all look at today’s Huskers
as we would a new child. Let us marvel at the wins they have, let us be
happy with the progress they make. They will have growing pains, they
will make mistakes, and they definitely won't look like the first child.
That is ok. We should all enjoy the development of the child, whether
or not we like the progress. We don’t turn on our children if they
aren’t always at the head of the class. We support them and help
them improve. We don’t scold them for imperfections. We just hope
for improvement. We don’t demand immediate improvement. We give
them chances. We need to forget how the Huskers of the past developed
and enjoy the ride as the current Huskers develop. Enjoy the triumphs,
get over the defeats, and enjoy the ride. They are our Huskers.
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