Dude, Where’s My Dew?

15 Sep

I’m feeling a little sluggish, so I grabbed a can of Mountain Dew out of the fridge.  The can is decorated with a camouflage design one might wear for hunting.

I would like to make some cheesy joke about needing to be careful where I set my drink down, so I can find it again, or the idea of sitting still in your tree blind jacked up on Dew.  Unfortunately, I’m much too tired for something like that.

You see, I am really in need of some caffeine, but I can’t find the can of Dew I just grabbed out of the fridge. I could have sworn I put it right here on my desk.

 

Thought of the Day – 9/13/2014 – Meatloaf

13 Sep

Did we ever figure out what exactly it is that Meatloaf will not do for love?

These are the things I think about while I try to get daughter down for her nap.

How to Appease Husker Fans of All Generations

12 Sep

Nebraska is renowned for having excellent fans who support their Cornhuskers to the end.  The sellout streak at Memorial Stadium will reach 340 by the end of the 2014 season.  But there has always been a divide among Husker fans in the stadium.  There are those fans who want games to be raucous events, and some who would prefer to go, sit, and quietly watch the game.  Typically, that latter group is labeled “blue hairs”, as they tend to be some of the older fans who have had season tickets for decades.  Over the years*, the blue hairs have been telling fans to sit down, shut up, and generally do things that one might consider counter to having a loud, intimidating environment for opposing teams.

*I’ve heard the residents of West Stadium referred to as “blue hairs” since the early 1990s.  Which means that some of the folks who used to complain about blue hairs can now be considered blue hairs themselves.  

The latest example comes to us from the Lincoln Journal Star’s Letters to the Editor page where Charley Ackerman writes to voice his displeasure with the loud volume coming from the new million dollar sound system – it is too loud for him to converse with those in his section.  Charley also is displeased by the quantity of “hip-hop hogwash”* being played from the speakers.

*Seriously, “hip-hop hogwash” might be the greatest combination of letters in the history of the English language.  I cannot adequately express how much I love that phrase.  Hip-hop hogwash.  Hip-hop hogwash.  Hip-hop hogwash.  It never gets old!

Predictably, Charley’s letter has been met with rolled eyes, Internet mockery, and suggestions that he and his fellow blue hairs stay home.  But I don’t think we need to get to that extreme.  Besides, it’s worth noting that the blue hairs – especially those in the West stadium – are often big and long-time donors, whose money is not easily replaced by young alums repaying student loans.

But on the other side, there are fans who think Nebraska is too traditional, too stuck in their ways, too willing to cater to the old farts who have sat in the same seats since LBJ was in office.  They would like to see Nebraska move onto the cutting edge – or at least keep up with other teams that are doing new and exciting things.

So how do we reconcile the wants and needs of these two very diverse sects of the same group?  Simple, we take a page from my hometown church.

The church I grew up in does two services.  The early service is the traditional one with the full scripture readings, old hymns, and beautiful old sanctuary.  The early service at Resurrection Lutheran is almost exactly the same today as it was in 1985, and there is a loyal and devoted crowd (my silver-haired mom included) who would not have it any other way.  It is familiar, it is classic, it is timeless.

The late service is the contemporary one.  It’s held in the fellowship hall and has a small band that leads newer, upbeat songs while overhead screens display scripture and images.  The contemporary service has a more laid-back, fun vibe to it and it also draws a loyal crowd.

Since Nebraska Football is often referred to as the “state religion”, let’s apply these same concepts to the Game Day Experience:

Games with 11 am kickoffs will be the “traditional service”.  The Tunnel Walk will be played, with “Sirius” as the background music.  Speaking of music, most of the in-stadium music will be provided by the Cornhusker Marching Band.  To appease our friend Charley, the speakers will be at a reasonable volume, and no hip-hop hogwash will be played during the traditional service.  (Athletic Department staff will consult with Tom Osborne to see what kind of music he enjoys).  There will be no smoke when Nebraska comes out of the tunnel, no fireworks after scores, and nobody will put up a net when a PAT or field goal is kicked – just throw the ball back down to the field, please.  The large HuskerVision screen in the south end zone will display graphics so it resembles the old First Federal Lincoln scoreboard.  Halftime refreshments will consist of non-alcoholic grape juice and a thin, stale wafer.

Nebraska will always wear their iconic uniforms (red jerseys, white pants, and the white helmet with the sans-serif N), and the congregation will be asked to wear red.  Offensive Coordinator Tim Beck will be asked to limit the number of passes called, and encouraged to run at least three fullback dives as well as an option to the short side of the field.  Prolonged standing is allowed, but will be strongly discouraged.  The wave may occur, but expect it to take several attempts to really get going.  Don’t bother trying to connect to the in-stadium WiFi, because it will be turned off.  But you can tune into Kent Pavelka and Gary Saddlemeyer’s call on KFAB.

Outside of Memorial Stadium on the University ...

Here is the church, those are the steeples…(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Games with 7 pm kickoffs will be the “contemporary service”.  The stadium speakers are cranked up so the residents of Crete can hear what is going on.  Instead of a marching band, Nebraska employs a full-time DJ who spins “hip hop, but no hogwash”.  The big screens and ribbon boards are alive with replays, stats, cat videos, and tweets from @FauxPelini scrolling continuously.  The Tunnel Walk is completely revamped with smoke, lasers, strobe lights, and a new song that gets everybody amped up.  Every game, Nebraska comes out in a new and exciting alternate uniform and helmet, raising the bar for other schools.  Beer vendors will be everywhere in the stadium.

To encourage fans to stand up, the benches in the first 50 rows will be removed.  Depending on the opponent, fans will be asked to wear black, red, or white shirts.  Students will wave towels all game long while performing more organized cheers and chants than a major league soccer team.  The opening offensive play of the second half will be decided by a Twitter poll with #DeepBall being a perennial favorite.  Before the fourth quarter, the entire stadium rocks as the DJ plays the song that puts Wisconsin’s “Jump Around” to shame.

*   *   *

There.  Hopefully this will keep all of Nebraska’s passionate fans excited about coming to games in Lincoln.  More importantly, it will help make sure that folks like Charley can complain about other more pressing issues, like Beck’s play calling, the price of a slice of pizza, or the number of steps up to his seats in section 34.

McNearly Got Beat

10 Sep

Thanks for stopping by!  While I am very grateful for those who take the time to read my work, I would greatly it if you read this one on HuskerMax.com.  

Why?  As a writer for the site, I earn a fraction of a penny per page view.  And with three mouths to feed, and a poor wife who becomes a football widow 12 Saturdays a year, I need those penny parts to keep everybody happy.  

Thank you,

Feit Can Write

Continue reading

Owl Blown Out

6 Sep

Thanks for stopping by!  While I am very grateful for those who take the time to read my work, I would greatly it if you read this one on HuskerMax.com.  

Why?  As a writer for the site, I earn a fraction of a penny per page view.  And with three mouths to feed, and a poor wife who becomes a football widow 12 Saturdays a year, I need those penny parts to keep everybody happy.  

Thank you,

Feit Can Write

Continue reading

Under the Radar Husker Keys

27 Aug

Some of the ways Nebraska can have a big season in 2014 are quite obvious (give the ball to Ameer Abdullah, get solid production from Tommy Armstrong, reduce turnovers, establish a punt return game, etc.)

But there are some other keys that have kind of flown under the radar.  They may not be as self-evident as “keep the defensive ends healthy”, but they are just as important.

1.  Move on from Taylor Martinez.

Love him or hate him, he is gone.  And yet, I cannot begin to count the number of times I’ve seen and heard Martinez mentioned since the Gator Bowl ended his eligibility.  The program, fans, and media do not do themselves any favors by continually bringing him up.  Don’t compare Tommy Armstrong, Ryker Fyfe, or Johnny Stanton to T-Magic.  Don’t compare the plays that Tim Beck calls this year to what he called with Martinez.  Resist the urge to take shots at his coach-ability, his personality, or his mechanics (or the lack thereof).

There is absolutely no good in continuing to rehash the Martinez era.  And none of it matters for the 2014 season.

This isn’t to say that we should completely forget about a guy who holds a bazillion school records.  However, sometimes when you get out of a long, complicated (and possibly dysfunctional) relationship, the best thing to do is to simply move forward without looking back.

It’s over.  He’s gone.  Let’s move on.

2.  Avoid the Super Senior Jinx.

Nebraska is in the midst of a very unfortunate trend.  A player comes off of a strong junior season.  He enters his senior year looking like a potential All-American and team leader.  Then, an injury in the non-conference derails his season and throws the team into a state of flux.  The list of recent victims:

  • 2013:  Taylor Martinez.  Hurts his toe(s) against Wyoming.  Never fully recovers and is done for the season after the Minnesota game.  Spencer Long qualifies too, even though his injury occurred in conference play.
  • 2012:  Rex Burkhead.  Injures his knee in the opener against Southern Miss.  He sits out multiple games, and is not the same until the regular season finale at Iowa.
  • 2011:  Jared Crick.  Tore his pectoral against Washington.  He tried to play with it for a few games, but was clearly not the same player.

If I’m Bo Pelini, I instruct the trainers to wrap Ameer Abdullah in bubble wrap for every practice.  I also suggest treating the Florida Atlantic and McNeese State games like NFL preseason games:  play a few series and then let the backups take over – regardless of the score.

3.  Develop an “Anytime.  Anywhere.” mentality.

Much has been said and written about the five straight night games (including the late night party out in Fresno).  And since Nebraska a) plays in the Big Ten, and b) has a schedule that includes Rutgers, Purdue, and Minnesota, you can all but guarantee a couple of 11 am kickoffs.  Throw in the fact that Nebraska’s toughest games (Michigan State and Wisconsin) are on the road, and you start to see why this mentality is so important.

Nebraska is hit or miss on the road under Pelini.  For every hard fought win (Michigan, 2013; Michigan State, 2012) there is a blowout loss (Michigan 2011; Wisconsin 2011).  Nebraska’s record in road games under the lights since 2010 is 2 – 7, with an average margin of defeat of  18 points (that margin jumps to almost 28 points since joining the Big 10).

With the schedule they face in 2014, Pelini’s team needs to have a mentality of a heavyweight boxer contender eyeing a shot at the title:  I’ll take you on anytime, anywhere.

4.  Don’t shut out the media.

On the surface, you would not think that having reporters and other media members at practice would have any impact on Nebraska’s season.  But it will.  Not necessarily in the on-field results (Tommy Armstrong’s performance is going to be the same regardless of if Dirk Chatelain is at practice).  The impact comes in perception – how we as fans perceive players, coaches, and game planning/preparation.

Don’t believe me?  Look at Nebraska’s spring practices.  The media had greater access to practice than they have ever had under Pelini.  While they could not report on specific things they saw, they were able to confirm a lot of the things we saw in the Spring Game.  For example:  if there was no media access and Pelini says Ryker Fyfe is neck and neck with Johnny Stanton for the backup QB job, you’d wonder what the heck is going on (and probably question the coaching staff).  With media attending practices, we can hear/read from multiple sources that it is no fluke – Stanton is struggling and Fyfe is performing very well.  In short, the media’s presence at practice gives credibility to the personnel moves Pelini makes and likely supports decisions made on Saturdays

For example:  let’s say in the Wisconsin game, Nebraska runs a fake field goal where Drew Brown takes an option pitch to the weak sideline.  Brown is stuffed for no gain and Nebraska goes on to lose by two points.  Certainly, that decision will be questioned heavily by the media (that’s part of what they do).  However, with media access at practice, reporters could note that Nebraska had been working on that play for a month, and Drew Brown has better open field moves then some of the I-Backs.  In other words, having the media at practice allows them to have more information, which allows for better analysis and less assumptions.

I know the media access will go away (or be severely limited) during the season, but I hope Pelini and his staff realize the benefits it can bring for his program – and how they are perceived.

 5.  Find a reliable long snapper.

One of the most concerning pieces of news out of fall camp has been the back injury keeping scholarship long snapper Gabriel Miller on the bench.  As a true freshman, Miller had an outstanding year with no bad snaps.  But if he can’t go (and it certainly appears that he’s going to be out for a while), finding a capable replacement is paramount.

Safety Nate Gerry has been working at the position in practice, but keeping him healthy (and allowing sideline warm up time with the holder and kicker) are big, big concerns.  Very few things can swing momentum like a blocked punt, missed field goal, or other special teams miscue.

Who knows?  Gerry (or walk-on Josh Faulkenberry) might end up being even better than Miller.  But if I’m Ross Els, it might not hurt to scour the campus for potential walk-ons who long snapped in high school.  Just in case…

U-Haul Truck-It Challenge

21 Aug

At the end of this month, my family and I are moving to a new house.  My wonderful and amazing wife has handled almost all of the painful crap associated with buying a new house (dealing with the bank, setting up utilities, dealing with Realtors, getting our daughter’s school switched, and a million more things).

My primary responsibility is the move itself – getting things packed and making sure they get from House A to House B with minimal breakage.

Originally, my plan was to call some movers to handle the actual loading and transportation of all of our stuff.  Why?  Well, a) it is easier than trying to line up people and trucks to help us move, and b) I’m not a 20 year old kid* moving into a new apartment.

*No friends, I am not 20.  But, in the immortal words of Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy, I am a man.

On the surface, hiring movers seems like a slam dunk choice.  Instead of spending the day lugging boxes, couches, and appliances up and down stairs, you pay somebody else to do it for you.

A GMC U-Haul truck

Moving Day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But there is a problem:  movers are not cheap.  They charge ridiculous hourly rates, and the amount of stuff we have means they’ll be working for many hours.  Maybe I should find some friends willing to help us move in exchange for pizza and beer.

Then it hit me – the perfect way to get us moved to the new house without breaking the bank – or alienating our friends who likely have better things to do on Labor Day weekend.

My inspiration?  The 1,200 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos I’ve seen in the last week.  What if I applied the success of that campaign to my move?  Here is how it will work:

<start shaky cell phone video>

“Hello!  This is Dave and I have been challenged by FeitCanWrite.com to participate in the U-Haul Truck-it Challenge.  As you know, moving eight years worth of crap from one house to a larger house is a challenge that nobody should have to face on their own.  Dave has had two back surgeries, and his poor mother worries about him carrying heavy objects.  If he has to move everything by himself, there is a good chance that he might miss the Nebraska football game against powerhouse Florida Atlantic – and we cannot allow that to happen.  That’s why I’m here to help.

“Here’s how the challenge works:  you have 24 hours to volunteer to help Dave move or he will come to your house or place of business and dump ice water on your head.  If you don’t want to volunteer, you can donate $10 towards hiring movers.  Once you complete the challenge, you nominate three more people to participate, giving them 24 hours to act.

“Since moving sucks, I have chosen to donate $10, <holds up ten dollar bill> but I want to know what my friends will do.  That’s why I’m challenging Sammy Sucker, Jane Hasatruck, and Marty Movington to participate.

“Guys, you have 24 hours!”

<cell phone video cuts off awkwardly>

*   *   *

There are many of my friends and readers that I have helped move over the years.  Now is the time for payback.  Consider yourself tagged in the U-Haul Truck-it Challenge.  You have 24 hours to donate toward my moving expenses or share this post on Facebook/Twitter.

 

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