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Winging It:

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Red Clad Loon is taking some much-needed time off and is away from his keyboard. But when he heard the Pond-shattering news that Nebraska was planning to change their uniforms, he picked up his cell phone in search of his ever-ready stand-in, Elmer G. Hicks of rural Unadilla, Neb. Elmer, an avid Husker fan since 1962, hustled from his usual Saturday morning perch at Karen's Koffee Korner to write a guest Winging It. Enjoy.

I was pretty sure things couldn’t have gotten any worse for us following that pathetic playcalling trainwreck in Pasadena, but it looks like I, for the first time in history, was wrong. The last couple of months has been a perfect example of why it’s so goll-damned hard to be a Husker fan. Listen to me.

First, we lose out on three key, vital recruits. I can say definitively that they were key, vital recruits because I am a regular on a number of Husker message boards, and it is the consensus there that those three players were indeed key and vital. If that wasn’t bad enough, a few weeks later a defensive lineman falls on some ice and blows out his knee. Then, an ungrateful player whines his way out of his scholarship and leaves us.

But this latest news takes the cake. I see by my latest edition of the Lincoln Journal Star newspaper that we’re going to change our uniforms next year. Change the uniforms! Good lord, is nothing sacred? Our uniforms are a symbol of our hard work ethic and our complete resistance to change. This is what made Nebraska football great. Good grief, you don't see my cousin, Bob Havelka of Adams, changing his bib overalls from Big Smiths to Levi's on a whim. You don't see ministers trying to rewrite the Ten Commandments. And you don't see lawmakers messing around with the U.S. Constitution. Well, on second thought, maybe you do. Forget that last example.

These people just don’t get it. We’re a traditional power, despite the fact that the coaches keep calling forward passes when they can win every game by running between the tackles and an occasional toss sweep toward the boundary. I am right. You don’t see Notre Dame changing their uniforms. You don’t see Penn State changing their uniforms. Ask both of those schools if they're happy with their programs and they'll say that they are just fine. Go on, ask them.

I can’t say that I’m surprised, however. This is just another sign that today’s kids are all "style over substance", that they have an "in-your-face" attitude and they all listen to "rap music." All this adds up to a healthy disdain for all of our time honored traditions -- traditions that people in my generation fought and died for, thank you very much. And this is the thanks that we get. Listen to me. What these kids need to learn is that this whole football thing really isn’t about them. They should be satisfied that we let them come from those crime-ridden, amoral Sodom-lands like Florida and California, and bring them here to our great state where they have the honor to play football in front of us. They don’t realize how good they’ve got it. How do they repay us? By breaking our hearts.

Without fans like me, the football program would be nothing. There would at least be one or two fewer national championships, at least. So therefore, my opinion is more important than that of a bunch of athletes, most of whom probably won’t even stay in Nebraska after they’re done playing football. Listen to me. I recently wrote a strongly-worded letter to Mr. Bill Byrne, who is undoubtedly behind all of this tomfoolery, and I told him that he’ll find that I am a bit more shrewd than some of these mindless, phony-baloney, shallow people out on the coasts who will just gobble up whatever garbage merchandising is put out in front of them. I just want to go to Memorial Stadium in my red-and-black Husker clothes each Saturday, have a nice, refreshing Pepsi while the teams warm up on the FieldTurf, watch some commercials on HuskerVision and laugh at the antics of that crazy Lil Red. It’s called tradition, dammit!

Listen here. All you pollyannas who think that this change will help our recruiting are dead wrong. If recruits aren't attracted to Lincoln by all its natural beauty, they don't belong in red. I don't want someone who can't appreciate six-foot piles of dirty snow in the parking lots around town playing for me. Listen to me. These new uniforms are going to attract a bunch of miscreants into our once-proud program, and now I'm convinced our decline is imminent. I simply cannot believe that Doctor Tom Osborne would have let something like this happen on his watch, but am really not all that surprised that Frank Solich did.

Worst of all, these types of changes are disruptive to the team. I should know, because I have carefully charted each and every uniform change, no matter how slight, since 1965. Here is the proof. We switched to red face masks before the 1982 Orange Bowl. Then we lost. We switched to names on the back of everyone’s jersey before the 1984 Orange Bowl. Then we lost. We put stripes on the sleeves for the 1984 season. Then we lost the No. 1 ranking. Twice. In one season. We wore all red for the 1986 Oklahoma game. Then we lost. I've barely just gotten over these games. Now this.

So I am imploring every Husker fan to follow my innovative lead. As soon as I am done here, I plan to write a letter to the Lincoln Journal Star newspaper, telling them a personal tale about how I was planning to buy another Cornhusker shirt, since the last one I bought, in 1994, has begun to get a bit frayed. But now I plan to boycott Husker stuff entirely. In fact, we should all threaten to stop buying officially-licensed Nebraska merchandise until they put things back to the way they were.

They simply can’t do this to us.

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