The Huskers Stepped Up Last Night.
Time for Husker Fans to Do the Same!
By Bill Marks
What a game last night.
The biggest comeback in the history of Nebraska football had inspired moments (Lavonte stripping the ball from Braxton Miller), unexpected heroes (raise your foam “we’re number one” finger if you expected Stanley Jean-Baptiste to play a vital role this weekend), and coaches making key adjustments to the game plan.
It made for a fun and memorable night. It reminded me once again why Cornhusker football has been such an enjoyable and important part of my life. It was also a much-needed salve after a tough week following the Wisconsin game.
I’d like to say I had faith that the Huskers would pull it out all along, but that would be a lie. After Ohio State went up 27-6 in the third quarter, I sat back depressed, wondered how many beers were left in the fridge, and hoped the score wouldn’t get too far out of hand.
It also occurred to me that I was dreading the internet/social media fan reaction to the seemingly certain loss more than the loss itself. After the previous week’s loss at Wisconsin, message board topics quickly popped up taking turns ripping Taylor Martinez, the secondary, the d-line and the coaches. I think only Rex Burkhead and the person who made the team’s travel arrangement emerged unscathed.
The mean-spirited nature of the comments bothered me, but I shook my head and thought, “well, this is how people react at all major football programs.” While I’m fairly confident this is an accurate statement, I think it is time for real Nebraska Cornhusker fans to step up and show that we are different. We are better. We are indeed the greatest fans in college football.
It can happen. We can turn our uncommon passion for our team into uncommon support. Here’s how:
- Let the players know we have their backs. Having their backs means you are behind them when they’re lighting up the scoreboard, and when they’re throwing unfortunate interceptions. Let’s leave the booing to the fair-weather fans at places like Colorado, USC and Miami. We’re Husker fans. We’re better than that.
- Have some perspective. I consider myself a passionate fan. I ride the rush after Husker victories. I’m frustrated and somewhat sullen when they lose. But let’s remember, these players are working hard. They’re playing through painful injuries. They’re trying hard to represent the state and the University. When they win a game, they aren’t gods. When they lose, they aren’t horrible people in need of ridicule. They are humans – like the rest of us.
- Stop the cyber-whining. After a rough half of football against the Buckeyes, a few Husker “fans” went to their computers and began message board topics with titles like “Cornhookers?” and “T-Ragic, worst QB in decades.” Twitter was quickly filled with similar negativity. By contrast, the players (who theoretically should be less mature than their “adult” keyboard-pounding counterparts) spent the half-time break fixing mistakes, keeping each other focused, and showing uncommon poise.
I realize those who boo or vent their frustration by writing negative messages represent a small portion of the Husker Nation. Unfortunately, thanks to the power of social media and message boards, these folks have the ability to spread their negativity far and wide, and therefore seem more representative than they really are. Inevitably, such garbage finds its way to our players, the coaches, potential recruits and the national media. If you are one of these so-called fans, please think twice before you write something toxic about a team you supposedly like.
- Spread the good word. I don’t want to come off as too Polyanna here. Not every discussion, whether via barstool or message board, has to start off with the words, “Isn’t everything great?” Message boards like those on HuskerMax.com and others can be terrific forums for fan debate. My plea is that we not let it get too personal or mean spirited. Also, let’s stay away from attacking the players. For example, I think statements like, “Taylor needs to make better decisions,” or “Why can’t the defense get a consistent pass rush?” are fair game. There’s no venom behind those comments – only concern. But let’s also use our voices and our PCs to spread the good word about Husker football and Husker fans.
I’m very proud to be a Husker fan, and I know there are millions of you out there who share my passion and pride. Realistically, we won’t change the minds or the mindsets of every naysayer out there. Hopefully, we can convert a few, and we can try to drown out the rest with cheers and other forms of support.
One more request: Let’s use the incredible power of the internet and social media to spread these messages. If this has inspired you at all, please tweet, post, or pass this along via some other method that I’m too much of a tech-loser to understand. Good old word-of-mouth still works too.
Thanks Husker fans. Go Big Red!
Bill Marks is a professional writer and University of Nebraska-Lincoln grad living in Chandler, Arizona. He formerly wrote for this website as Desert Husker.