10 November 2007

Passion, Pride and Character

This was the scene in Lincoln today:

76-39 over the Kansas State Wildcats. Joe Ganz's numbers: 30-40 for 510 yards and several touchdowns. Over 700 total yards of offense. A big win and much needed balm in the final home game of this tumultuous season. Just so everyone remembers what's been going on, here's what happened last week:

Yes, that's Kevin Cosgrove leaving the field in tears after the worst defensive performance by a Nebraska team. Ever. Anyone in Lincoln still want to complain about Kansas running up the score last week? Didn't think so.

Maintaining a sense of perspective has always been one of the most difficult aspects of being a Cornhusker born in the glory years of the Osborne era. Folks like me, who are too young to remember the lean years before the Bobfather arrived and turned the ship around, think that Nebraska fans have a right to 9 wins and a major bowl game every year, and that the coaches and players are letting US down when those rights aren't ensured. Well, folks, here's the truth: none of us have made it particularly easy for the Callahan era to be successful. The best you could say is that we reserved judgment; the worst that we undermined a group of guys who've poured everything they have into this program for the past four years.

Sure, the contract buyouts will be large, but don't you think the guys on that staff would trade every last dime for the kind of success we once took for granted? You don't leave the field in tears if you're just phoning it in - and whether you like the Callahan staff or not, we've all gotta admit they left everything they had on the field. Arrogant? Perhaps - but perhaps that arrogance is the flip side of the passion the current staff has for the game of football and the dreams they had for a Cornhusker resurgence. Maybe they will get pink-slipped after the Colorado game, and maybe that's for the best, but please, folks, can we regain the humanity and decency that was once THE hallmark of this program? Teach your kids what it means to be a Cornhusker:
Not the victory but the action.
Not the goal but the game.
In the deed the glory.

To illustrate, a final picture:

Thomas Rice is a fifth-year defensive end from Lincoln. Until today, he'd never played a down in his five years at Nebraska. Not one kickoff or punt return. Not one snap. But today he got called up, came in, and tackled an opposing receiver for a one-yard gain. That's passion. That's pride. That's character. That is the essence of what it means to be a Cornhusker. I don't care if you're 0-11, 5-6 or 11-0, character matters more than victory and somehow we've lost sight of it this year. Here's hoping we can get it back and truly "restore the order" in the near future.

1 comment:

  1. Thomas Rice was a Lincoln East grad!! :)