At the risk of abandoning readers and ditching objectivity, I freely admit that I’m a Nebraska Cornhusker fan.
I’ll also admit that these are tough times to bleed Husker red. I
made the trip down to Lincoln last weekend to view the Iowa State disaster first hand.
In case you didn’t know, the Cyclones beat NU in Lincoln for the first time since 1977. The final score was 9-7, and yes, this was football — not baseball, softball, or a high-scoring soccer game.
But more frustrating than the fact that the Huskers lost was how the Huskers lost.
They turned the ball over eight times, and four fumbles were inside the Cyclones’ five-yard line. It was like a video game that you get so frustrated playing that you want to press the “reset” button. Only this was real life, and I couldn’t pull the plug.
It’s actually a wonder that ISU didn’t put more points on the board. Husker fans can at least thank the stout NU defense for keeping the game close. Close, though, didn’t make the 80,000-plus Husker fans feel any better as they filed out of the stadium.
I do know this: If the “sea of red” is known for one thing, it’s recognized as one of the most respectful audiences in college football.
Opposing fans don’t need to worry about being heckled or threatened.
They don’t need to worry about bringing along spare tires in the trunk.
And Husker fans, no matter how dejected, stand and clap for the opposing team after each game.
It’s something that all sports, at every level, could use more of. That includes respect for teammates, respect for coaches, respect for the opposing team, respect for fans, and most of all — respect for officials.
Sometimes, the bigger a game’s impact becomes, the faster respect disappears from the contest. Maybe it’s because the more emotional a game becomes, the easier it is to let those emotions get out of hand.
That’s why as playoff season approaches, respect becomes even more important. There’s no instant replay in high school athletics, and there’s no guarantee that the referees will get one-hundred percent of the calls right. But officials that are treated with respect, more are likely to return the favor – that I can guarantee.
Players should also show that same respect for their opponent. It was Plato that said you can learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.
According to one of the greatest philosphers who ever lived, that would make some people pretty big jerks.
Don’t be that jerk.
Good luck to all area fans, coaches, athletes and officials this postseason!