Look no further than today, October 17th, 2008. The 3-3 Nebraska Cornhuskers play the 2-4 Iowa State Cyclones tomorrow for the right to stay out of the Big 12 North basement. Regardless of who I think/know will win, the few Husker fans I have talked to all quietly and solemnly seem pretty confident of a win. Hell, even Phil Steele said Nebraska would finish 8-4 this season (there’s the kiss of death right there.). But regardless, the state just doesn’t gear up for football games the way it used to.
Friday discussion about the game simply doesn’t bounce off of the office walls anymore. "Red Friday" doesn't bring me hayseed after hayseed, parading around in their red apparel that looks like it was stolen from Santa’s closet and slapped with a stupid looking ‘N’. (Although some still represent if for no other reason but habit.) It's not just like any other day. Quiet. Bland. Colorless.
But although I’m sure the deep-rooted love affair between a football team and its fans still flickers here…these days it simply is pushed out of sight and for the most part…out of mind. Sports talk shows in the city now spend more time talking about fixing your fantasy football team than they do how Nebraska is going to handle a schizophrenic Iowa State offense who has the potential (but not consistency) to put up points. But whether this is quiet confidence or simply indifference, the fact remains:
If you lose this game... life won’t really get all that much worse for you.
Oh sure, losing to the conference doormat Clones would be embarrassing, and call after call of angry, mesh-hat wearing fans would flood the call-in shows and message boards. But in the big grand scheme of things…would it hurt you any worse? Would it sting anymore? Would it make you do anything more than simply put your head down..rub your forehead a bit, and then go on with your day trying to figure out whether Wheel-of-Fortune or Entertainment Tonight is worth your valuable Friday night TV time.
Folks, the end of the road is already here, simply because you…and I for that matter…simply don’t care that much anymore. Hell, you people don’t’ even send good hate mail or comments like you used to. This is what I’ve been trying to tell you people for years and years and years. As soon as the ship starts to sink….even if you do pull it out of the water…you still have to figure out how to make it sail again. And by the time you do…1/2 the people who used to care…won’t anymore.
Look, I’m not one to rail on people being bandwagon fans, because for the most part…they don’t exist. Oh sure, the Tampa Bay Rays will play in front of a sellout crowd in the ALCS tomorrow night…while the place was a tomb for years….but for the most part…fans will always be fans. They just will be more vocal about their support when their team wins. It’s human nature. You can’t stop it. You can’t fight it or complain about it. Need another example?
Let’s look at KC Chiefs fans like myself. For a good period of time, the Chiefs played hard-nosed football in an NFL cathedral of BBQ smoke and electricity. Although they never had enough to get over the hump, they almost always won at home…and that will buy you a lot of leeway when your team eventually goes south. But now that they have won 5 of their last 21 games, people simply don’t care as much. Oh sure, they’ll go to the stadium…some may even cheer. But that live-and-die-by-the-team mentality is only available when there is hope of something more in the end.
As Husker fans, I’ve never questioned your passion…only your sanity.
So here we are on a Friday afternoon…smack in the middle of the season with huge games all around us, and even I am having trouble getting riled up about pretty much anything. I know your team sucks. Most of you know your team sucks. Why do you need me to remind you? Sure, you deserve to be reminded for being a peckerhead for 30 years…but quite frankly, I have my own problems with my own team…and the white-hot arrogance and entitlement that oozed through this city has long since petered out over the past 13 months. I’m sure it’s still there in all its glory...somewhere…but I simply don’t have to deal with it anymore if I choose not to.
A couple of other items:
Lots of people asking my opinion on the Missouri vs. Texas game this weekend. Although I’m sure the atmosphere will be great, and Texas is due for a letdown…I simply don’t see the Mizzou offensive line holding up against the UT pass rush. I think Daniel and company will get their points..but on the flip side, McCoy should be able to exploit the corners (away from William Moore) with Shipley. That will leave the underside open with the newly discovered running game, and that will be that.
I think Mizzou hangs around, but doesn’t have enough in the end…nearly mimicking the 31-41 loss in Normal against the Sooners last season. (And no, I won’t be devastated. Losing to good teams is not the end of the world. Losing 5 straight road games and 16 of your last 29 while calling yourself a “National power” …is.)
If there’s a football game on the Versus network…and Cox Communications offers a channel called, “Versus-HD”…wouldn’t you think that game would be broadcast…oh I dunno…in HD? Is there something with the rules of Mountain West games regarding HD? In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a MWC game in HD on television before. Oh well..thanks to BYU’s predictable choke job in Ft. Worth..we won’t have to worry about them for a while. (Until Utah comes out undefeated..just as I told you at the beginning of the year.)
Havn’t bitched about UNO hockey for a while. Why? Because they lost me, that’s why. Yesterday, Traitor Tom interviewed UNO’s chancellor, who basically threw down the law 5 years too late regarding Mav coach Mike Kemp. Only in this town would 12 years of “trying hard” be good enough. I don’t care if you are a nice guy and your program was created from scratch. If you’re 6th in the nation in attendance…play in an NHL caliber arena and the best you’ve ever done is a Conference runner up trophy (you won in year #1 by the way)…you should go.
I’ll be back when Mike Kemp or those who employ him figure out that constant 5th-8th place conference finishes are not good enough when you’re well into decade #2 of a program. Ask KC Chiefs fan how two decades of mediocrity tastes just about now.
I’m getting pissed just thinking about it.
I’ve mentioned this in years past…but I think it is worth repeating: I really hate Halloween.
Now, I’m not some sort of religious zealot who is in a constant crusade against all things evil and Satanic. If people want to get freaky and dress up like a decapitated clown…more power to you. However, I’m not sure why I should be singled out, because I don’t like to “dress up” like some freakshow, just so I can show how hard core into Halloween I am. So with that being said..here’s a list of some of my heavy hitters in terms of what makes Halloween suck:
1) Candy. If I’m a kid and I’m begging you for some candy while my mom humiliates me in this homemade Spiderman costume..the least you can do is keep out the damn Brach’s stars and those piece of shit bit-o-honey’s. WHO LIKES THESE THINGS!?!? They taste like bathroom caulk that I scraped out between the baseboard of my toilet. GIVE UP THE GOODS if I go through the trouble of humiliate myself.
2) Office parties with kids. I’m sorry, but I’m done lying about how cute your kid is in his little fireman’s costume. The coat is obviously spray painted, the hat looks like something you put together with crate paper and the very least you could do was hide that stupid ass Eric Couch jersey under his 900 degree coat. Instead of parading him past your co-workers in a coat that would broil a side of beef, how bout you stick to your own neighborhood and humiliate him in front of unsuspecting neighbors who don’t have to put up with your lame stories 300 days a year.
3) “That Neighbor”. You know who I’m talking about. I’m taking my two small kids through the neighborhood, and some clown has turned his garage into “Hell on Earth 2008”. Ok, fine. You want to go through all the trouble of cutting up cow’s brains, plastic chainsaws and orange decorative strobe lights…but don’t look at me to recognize you as some sort of Satanic Bob Villa. So you can throw blankets over a wall and put dry ice in a bucket…wow, that takes some real talent. While you’re at the art of not being scary…can you do me a favor and not jump out from behind your bushes with a chainsaw? I’m already going to be paying out my ass for years on clothes, college and weddings…I sure as hell don’t need to throw therapy on top of it all. Let it go. You are a douche.
4) Kids who come to my door 90 minutes later than everybody else. I don’t care if your dad is pounding PBR and watching UFC before he takes you out. Standard Halloween candy distribution time is 6pm to 8:00pm CENTRAL time. After that, you’re no longer celebrating a time honored tradition, but trespassing with intent to destroy property. Don’t do it. Oh, and stay off my lawn while you’re at it.
5) Pumpkins. I don’t get em. I’ll never get em. They’re heavy…they rot and they’re way too easy for the disgruntled neighbor kids (who are outside my dark house at 8:01) to smash and kick around. They taste like crap, and really have no other use other than fill up garbage cans on November 1st.
Finally…don’t get me started again this year about the absolute WORST thing about Halloween: Something so evil and demented, it calls for its own special place in the deep bowels of hell that lives deep within the universe.
I’m not sure who the guy was that invented the “Pumpkin Patch/Farm” concept, but I hope that person is shot, hung and eaten by fire ants. In case you’re not familiar with the “Pumpkin patch” concept…let me remind you once again what we’re talking about. Take one city outlying farm and one bored farmer who realizes that he can charge $20 a head for suburban yuppies to pack into their SUV’s….roll down a 1-lane dirt road and smash into a dirt-infested woodland hell-hole with 90,000 kids under the age of 10 as they experience….”Autumn”.
First of all, the “rides” aren’t scary. That’s not a dinosaur, it’s a hay bale with a blanket and a bucket on top of it. Second of all, dogs, cats and chickens do not make a “petting zoo”. Oh, and I’m sure the health inspector would be thrilled shitless to know that the “petting zoo” is located right next to the stand that you sell $9 turkey legs. (Do we get to watch you slaughter the turkey while gasping children look on? I had to watch my grandma do that on her farm when I was a kid, and I’d gladly pay a 9 bucks the suburban kiddies’ react to that.)
And who decided hayrack rides are fun? Riding in the back of a big ass tractor, in a bed of sneeze-inducing hay..packed with more little kids…into a giant field of pumpkins…is not entertaining…and remember, you paid $20 bucks for this.
Maybe I’m getting old? Maybe I’m October’s version of Scrooge? Or maybe I’m right and they’re wrong.
Enjoy the games.