Thought of the Day – 6/30/2015 – Paxton’s Paradox

30 Jun

Imagine an empty room.

It is a smaller room, approximately eight feet by ten feet with the ceiling at an average height.

The walls and ceiling are perfectly white – so unblemished you can almost smell the paint in the air.

The floor is wall to wall linoleum in an equally pristine shade of white.

There are no windows, but the room is well-lit from the ceiling.

In the middle of the room, there is a small table.  It too, is white.

On top of the table sit three items:

  • A brand new loaf of store-bought sliced bread*.
  • A half-empty jar of peanut butter
  • A stainless steel butter knife.

*Ironically, the bread is whole grain wheat; not white.  But that is irrelevant.

Nothing else is in the room.

I guarantee that if you placed me in this room and asked me to make a peanut butter sandwich I would not be able to locate the bag clip or twist-tie used to close the bread bag – especially it if said clip or tie was any color other than white.

*Random factoid:  in many cases, the color of the bag tag or twist-tie relates to when the bread was packaged.  This is Snopes verified, people.

After frantically searching the all white room for the blue twist-tie or sea-foam green bag clip*, I would give up and just spin the loaf real fast to close it.

Finally, after notifying the bag clip’s next of kin, I decide to move on and enjoy my sandwich.  As I raise my PB-sans-J to my lips, I’ll spot the bag clip or tie right where I left it.

Exactly where I had looked 87 times in the last five minutes.

*   *   *

Author’s note:  The title “Paxton’s Paradox” is an obscure reference to Mr. Floyd Paxton, owner of Kwik Lok Corporation – the company that makes the plastic bag clips.

Should Nebraska Replace Adidas?

29 Jun

As a Nebraska football fan, I dread the months of July, and August.  Not because those months are painfully slow for news, the season feels light years away, or I’m already tired of predicting the team’s record for the upcoming season.

I dread this time of year because I know that any day now the new Husker football alternative uniform will be released.  If we’ve learned anything over the first three years of the “Unrivaled” series of alternate unis, it’s that they are routinely bad, mediocre at best, and downright awful at worst.

Of course, this is also the time of year where I start to get my hopes up and think “maybe this is the year that adidas knocks it out of the park and creates some spectacular.”  Surely, the three stripe folks – having recently lost Notre Dame and Tennessee, and reportedly being on the ropes with Michigan – will bring out their “a” game.  Right?

Um….about that….

*   *   *

A post on medium.com entitled “Adidas:  Sports Apparel Laughingstock“* chronicles a laundry list of screw ups and failings by adidas.

*As a public service, I should warn you to don protective eye-wear before clicking on that article, as it contains some images of athletic apparel that should come with an NC-17 rating.  We’re talking those Zubaz-inspired shorts adidas teams wore in the 2013 NCAA tournament, the cummerbund / fanny-pack look from this year, and some horrible Notre Dame alts.  

The alternate uniform history of adidas is such a dumpster fire that none of the Nebraska “Unrivaled” designs – and I use the word “designs” lightly – made the article.

A couple of quotes from the piece pull no punches:

  • “The pecking order of each of the Big Three sports apparel companies is abundantly clear: Nike is the gold standard, Under Armour is the millennial brand and adidas is a running joke.”
  • “Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank called adidas ‘our dumbest competitor’ this past February — and he wasn’t wrong.”
  • “Yes, Nike and Under Armour have had their misses with new uniforms, but they’ve also had a lot of hits. Adidas, on the other hand, almost exclusively sustains misses.”
  • “Making good-looking sports uniforms isn’t rocket science. All it takes is basic fashion rules and common sense. Unfortunately, adidas no longer has either.”

Ouch.

*   *   *

This may not be the best time to remind you that adidas provides apparel and footwear for each of NU’s 24 sports.  Nebraska’s contract with adidas was renewed in 2013, and expires in three years (June 30, 2018).

I’m not a sneaker-head nor an expert on the athletic apparel industry to say that adidas must go and [insert name of your preferred provider] should take over.  Certainly, if we’re just looking at this through the lens of ugly uniforms, EVERY provider has some disasters.  For all of the cool looks Nike has given Oregon, they’ve had their fair share of flops.  And any discussion of ugly uniforms must contain Under Armour’s long-standing desecration of the Maryland state flag.

It’s worth noting that NU’s 2013 renewal with adidas (approximately $8 million in cash and $7.5 million in apparel and equipment), is, in the words of Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman “not a significant increase over the deal we had before.”  So why did the Huskers stay with adidas?  The Omaha World-Herald reported the deal was “more than any other apparel outfitter was willing to offer”.  The World-Herald cited discussions then-AD Tom Osborne had with Nike.

In other words, for Nebraska to have gotten out of their deal with adidas, they would have had to take less money and/or equipment from somebody else.  At a state school where the Athletic Department gets no tax dollars, the answer is pretty easy:  take the money.  But while Nebraska made the right choice in the short-term, did they make the best call long-term?

*   *   *

What is the impact of a bad apparel relationship?  Off the top of my head, three things come to mind:

Recruiting.  It always comes back that recruiting, doesn’t it?  If a main reason for having alternative uniforms (aside from merchandise sales) is to impress recruits, are you doing your recruiting a disservice by wearing “laughingstock” uniforms provided by a “running joke” of a company?  In other words, could you potentially lose a kid because he would rather wear the fancy costumes made by Nike or Under Armour instead of the silly suits made by adidas?

Merchandise.  As noted above, the other big reason for alternative jerseys is the prospect of selling new things to a fan base that loves to buy Husker gear.  But answer this:  how many people do you know who purchased a replica version of any of the three previous “Unrivaled” uniforms?  Of those folks, who many paid full price?  I considered buying a t-shirt replica of the 2014 duct tape jobs when the Nebraska Bookstore was closing, but even at 75% off, I couldn’t pull the trigger.  Had the design been better, I probably would have bought one at full price.

Program perception / brand.  For argument’s sake, let’s agree with the notion from the Medium.com piece that adidas is a distant third in the apparel pecking order.  How does that reflect on Nebraska being an adidas school – especially when one can make the argument that Nebraska is not in the top-tier of adidas schools?  Additionally, how does it reflect on the school – and the Nebraska Football brand – when they wear uniforms that are mocked and ridiculed?

*   *   *

So where do we go from here?

Even though I’m typing this while wearing a Nebraska shirt made by adidas, I don’t really care if the Huskers wear Nike, adidas, or Under Armour.  I not naive enough to think that by going with one of the other two everything magically becomes peaches and rainbows.

That said, I’m ready for a change.  Until adidas can a) prove that they can design their way out of a wet paper bag or b) give one of their premier schools something unique that is not all about adidas, I’m willing to see what the other guys can do.  Maybe it will better.  Maybe it will be worse.  But right now adidas is the 9 and 4 of athletic apparel providers.  Bad enough to make you want change, but just good enough to keep them for another year.

Regardless of what happens in 2018, for the next three years, we’re linked arm and arm with #teamadidas.  For better or for worse.

Hopefully, the Huskers can improve their on-field/on-court success before the next negotiation period to make them more attractive to all three companies.  A winning team and/or program on the rise will have better prospects than one mired in mediocrity.

As for this year’s alternates and the dread I’ll have until they are released?  Let me close with something I wrote last summer after another underwhelming uniform was released:

I’m beginning to think the biggest issue is my expectations.  I want Nebraska to have something cool.  Something unique yet classic.  Something the five-star recruits want to wear, but the farmers at the coffee shop will like.  Admittedly, that is a tall order.  Yet every year, I keep expecting the design team at adidas to deliver it.  Unfortunately, I don’t think they can.*

*Nor am I sure that Nike, Under Armour, Reebok, or any other apparel provider could deliver something I’d love, but I wouldn’t mind seeing their concepts…

I think for 2015, I will need to greatly lower my expectations.  I should expect adidas to provide Nebraska something that is on the line separating flashy and gaudy.  Something that looks like it came off a generic corporate template, instead of being inspired by Nebraska’s rich history.  I should expect a mediocre alternate from adidas, because that is all they have ever given us.

Dear ESPN, Nebraska should NOT return to the Big XII

26 Jun

On Wednesday, Oklahoma’s president said the Big XII “should strive for” a 12-team league.  Since it is the end of June, when you’re more likely to see snowflakes than college football news*, several outlets pounced on the story and began speculation on who teams XI and XII might be.

*Or at least, college football news outside of recruiting and arrests.  Those two topics know no off-season.

One of those pieces came from ESPN’s Jake Trotter, who broke down 12 possible additions from most likely (BYU, Memphis, Boise State, Cincinnati, etc.), less likely (Florida State and Clemson, or other defectors from a Power 5 conference), down to the least likely:  Nebraska.

You’re reading that correctly:  somebody at the Worldwide Leader made a case for Nebraska going back to the Big XII.

Now, before I rip his rationale to shreds, it is worth mentioning in Trotter’s defense that he considers North Dakota State* – a current member of the FCS – a much more likely addition than Nebraska.  Whether or not this improves Trotter’s credibility is up to you.

*Be sure to give Trotter credit for this spectacular factoid about the Bison:  “They actually have as many wins against the Big 12 as Kansas does in the last five years.”  

But let’s face it:  at best, suggesting Nebraska as a “new” member of the Big XII is an ignorant pipe dream.  At worst, it’s click-bait trolling.

So where is Trotter wrong in his assessment?  Let’s go line by line.  Trotter’s words are in bold.  My responses are not.

*   *   *

Put a truth serum in many Nebraska fans, and they would probably admit their realignment to the Big Ten hasn’t been what they hoped it would be.

Okay – so Trotter actually comes out of the gate with an ugly truth.  I think there are many of us who expected an easier time than a combined 22-10 conference (counting the 2012 championship game) in football and expected dominance in other sports (i.e. baseball) has not materialized.  There are lots are reasons for this, but that is an entirely separate discussion.  But four seasons is a little quick for buyer’s remorse.

Also, it’s worth remembering that in my “State of the Husker Nation” poll last November, 58% of the nearly 6,000 respondents said the decision to join the Big Ten was not a mistake.  Only 18.5% said it was a mistake.

The Huskers have fallen into second-tier status in the Big Ten.

 

Agree to disagree here.  Yes, the NU brand is not as shiny as it was in the inaugural Big Ten season of 2011 (again, an entirely separate discussion).  But to say NU is second-tier is ludicrous.

B1G tiers off the top of my head:

Top-Tier

  1. Ohio State.  The class of the conference.
  2. Michigan.  Even after Rich Rod and Hoke, the Wolverines are a top-tier program.  Period.
  3. Michigan State.  If you got that truth serum back out, how many Husker fans probably would trade straight up for MSU’s roster, coaches, and especially their recent success?
  4. Nebraska.  Yes, Wisconsin has owned Nebraska, but I cannot (will not?) say the Badgers are the better program.
  5. Wisconsin.  A top-tier program in any Power 5 conference.

Second-Tier

  1. Penn State.  If not for the sanctions (and the tarnish to Paterno’s legacy), they are securely in the top-tier – and they may get back there soon.
  2. Iowa.  The case could be made that Nebraska joining the Big Ten helped to knock the Hawkeyes to second-tier status.
  3. Minnesota.  They’ve crept out of the dregs.
  4. Northwestern.  At serious risk of falling out of the second-tier.

Bottom of the Barrel

  1. Maryland.  Need to prove something to earn a promotion to second-tier, but they’re close.
  2. Illinois.  Like Missouri in the 1980s and 90s – the potential is there.  The plan is not.
  3. Indiana.  Is it basketball season yet?
  4. Purdue.  Look!  We have a big drum!
  5. Rutgers.  Still a head-scratching decision by Jim Delany.  You know you would mock to the Big XII if they took a school of Rutgers’ caliber.

They’re in the division opposite Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State, which reduces their number of marquee games.

Two things here:  1) Before the additional of Maryland and Rutgers, Nebraska was in the same division as Michigan and played an annual crossover game with Penn State.  Yes, the new geographic divisions have the marquee schools in the East, but remember:  2) In the old Big XII North, the marquee teams (Oklahoma, Texas, A&M) were in the opposite division.

Nebraska once played one of college football’s most storied rivalry games against Oklahoma. Today, Nebraska’s big rival is Iowa, which barely moves the needle in Lincoln, much less the rest of the country.

“Once” is the key word here.  For me, the NU-OU rivalry officially ended in the second year of the Big XII play – 1997 – when the two storied programs played their final annual contest before moving to the “play two years, take two years off” format that all North and South schools shared.  Had NU-OU remained an annual game (which was something OU did not want, by the way), I firmly believe it is much more difficult for NU to leave the XII in the first place.

As for Iowa, Trotter is correct that the game barely moves the needle in Lincoln.  But, surely Trotter would agree that it takes more than four seasons to build a strong rivalry (even if it does come with a generic, nondescript trophy sponsored by a grocery store).  Give the Iowa series a little more time before we declare it a dud – even if I believe that the Wisconsin game will likely surpass Iowa as NU’s hated rival.

Nebraska left the Big 12 primarily over its frustrations with the leadership at Texas.

That is a very oversimplified (if not completely inaccurate) statement.

If you were to ask me why NU left, Texas’s leadership doesn’t make the top three:

  1. Nebraska needed stability, and Texas (among others) were not looking to commit to the Big XII.  Back in 2010 the conference was a sinking ship and every school was racing for the lifeboats.  Texas had a life yacht, but had not interest in sharing it with others.
  2. The Big XII lacked leadership.  Dan Beebe was a bad commissioner who did little to strengthen the league or build unity.  (A cynic might note that the new leadership at Texas is a veiled reference to new conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby).
  3. Money.  Nebraska had the opportunity to make more money in the Big Ten than the Big XII.

But since Nebraska’s exit, the Longhorns have hired a president, a new athletic director and a new football coach.

So?  That pompous jerk  you hated in high school may have a new wife, a new job, and a new house, but the odds say he’s still a ______ that you don’t want to associate with.  Is the implication here that since Nebraska struggled to beat Mack Brown teams, they should come back and take a shot at Charlie Strong’s squads?

If the Huskers completely soured on their Big Ten experience, maybe they would be open to reconciliation.

What would have to happen for NU to “completely sour” on the Big Ten?

Let’s say Jim Delaney retires and is replaced by Dan Beebe 2.0.  Ohio State assumes the role of Texas, leading coalitions to block any idea, policy, or rule that Nebraska supports.  The rest of the Big Ten West starts giving Nebraska the same beat downs as Wisconsin.  All Husker games are locked into an 11 am kickoff on BTN.  Would that be enough to make NU look elsewhere?

Personally, I think that even if NU’s B1G adventure went to hell, Nebraska would stick it out for two reasons:  1) Pride, and 2) the check Big Ten schools will get from the next TV rights deal.

One thing is for sure: The Big 12 would welcome them back with open arms.

Oh Jake.  Remember how you started strong?  You could not be more wrong here.

Intentionally or not, Nebraska (and Husker fans) burned a lot of bridges on their way out the door in 2010.  Do you think it is a coincidence that no Big XII team has scheduled Nebraska in football or basketball since NU left?  I can’t find a link, but I remember reading that Nebraska has called Big XII schools looking for basketball games, and has been refused by all.

You could make an argument that the only folks in the Big XII land who would truly welcome Nebraska back would be the hoteliers, restaurant owners, and barkeeps in Ames, Manhattan, Lawrence, and other Big XII towns.

Otherwise?  The only open arms Nebraska might see would be from a spurned rival preparing to put a “kick me” sign on NU’s back during a feigned embrace.

 

Selective History

11 Jun

The last few days, I’ve been seeing versions of the same image showing up frequently in my Facebook feed:

history

(source: facebook.com/sarahpalin)

Selective History

 

 

I know the message that the Republicans are trying to send:  “On issues that are fundamental to the American way of life (freedom, voting rights, racial justice, etc.) the Republicans have been on the right side of history, while the Democrats have been overwhelmingly wrong time and again.”.*

Who knows?  It is quite possible that the Republicans are right about Obamacare, just like they were right on these three other examples.

But….

It would sure be nice if they could find a more recent example of where they were overwhelmingly right (and the Democrats were overwhelmingly wrong).  Since the infographic is about history, let’s do a little American History refresher:

  • 13th Amendment:  Passed Congress on January 31, 1865
  • 14th Amendment:  Passed Congress on June 18, 1866
  • 15th Amendment:  Passed Congress on February 25, 1869
  • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”):  Passed Congress on March 21, 2010

*Let’s pause for a minute to reflect on how radically the identities of the two political parties have shifted since the Reconstruction Era.  Can you imagine the Democrats of 2015 being almost universally opposed to increased rights and protections for illegal immigrants?  Or having near unanimous GOP support for legislation allowing gay marriage?  Right, wrong, or otherwise, neither of those things would happen today.

For the sake of argument (and avoiding partisan talking points), let’s assume that Republicans will one day be able to say “I told you so” on Obamacare.  Is the implication here that the GOP has not been on the right side of history in over 140 years?

Obviously, I’m not naive enough to think that the Democrats have had a monopoly on being overwhelmingly right on the important political and social issues of the last 140 years.

But here is the message I get from this infographic:  “Once upon a time, we were on the right side of history.  But since we don’t have a good example of that happening since Andrew Johnson left office, we really hope we’re right on Obamacare.”

And that really doesn’t seem like something to brag about.

Stop Complaining About How the Royals are Dominating All-Star Voting

8 Jun

Today, Major League Baseball released the latest voting totals for the July 14 MLB All-Star Game.  Of the nine positions involved in the American League fan balloting, the Kansas City Royals have the top vote-getter at seven positions.  Right fielder Alex Rios, who is just returning from an injury that kept him out for almost two months is fourth among all outfielders.  Second baseman Omar Infante (and his .221 batting average) are currently in second place, trailing the Astros’ Jose Altuve by 150,000 votes – despite this sentiment from Kansas City media:

Unless something crazy happens, the Royals will have at least five starters as 3B Mike Moustakas, SS Alcides Escobar, C Salvador Perez, CF Lorenzo Cain, and LF Alex Gordon all lead by over a million votes.

There are many national (read:  East Coast) voices who cannot fathom this Royal domination.  In between their alarmist angst, they blame fans excited with “newfound relevance“, click-happy fans voting dozens of time online, and a host of other conspiracy theories that threaten to ruin the sanctity of the All-Star Game.

So what is going on here?

  • First and foremost, the Royals are good.  For most casual baseball fans that is probably a surprising sentence to read*. Perez, Escobar, Cain, and Gordon are among the best at their positions – regardless of league.  Moustakas is having a breakout season and is worthy of the four million plus votes he’s received so far.  The other Royal vote leaders – 1B Eric Hosmer and DH Kendrys Morales – are having strong seasons too.  Even with a recent slump, the Royals are still just a game back in the competitive AL Central and should be considered strong contenders to defend their American League pennant in the postseason.

*Hell, for a lifelong fan like me – who suffered through a 29 year playoff drought filled with bad players, horrible management, and inept front office leadership – the idea of the Royals being good is still surprising…but I’m getting used to it.

  • For the first time, ASG voting is being done exclusively online.  While that eliminates the time-honored tradition of poking chads from a paper ballot with your car keys, it also reduces the inherent advantage that clubs with atop the attendance standings (i.e. Red Sox, Yankees, Angels, Rangers, Tigers) tended to have in voting results*.  The Yankees don’t automatically get four starters every year just because they draw 40,000 a game.

*Although, it is worth noting that the Royals current sit 10th in MLB (and fourth in AL) in attendance – easily their highest position in years.  When the Royals hosted the All Star Game in 2012 (and ASG ticket priority was given to season ticket holders) the Royals were 25th in attendance.  So even if they still used paper ballots, the Royals would probably be doing all right.

  • With voting online, the Royals have wisely taken advantage by promoting voting in the stadium and on social media.  The club regularly holds drawings and giveaways where the requirement of entry is proving that you voted the maximum 35 times.  Are other clubs not doing this?  Are Royals fans the only ones capable of getting online?  Do we need to send some old AOL CDs to Detroit?

*   *   *

Personally, I’m quite amused by the “anti-Royals fervor” going on as a result of these voting totals.  If you want to fill out 35 ballots without a single Royal, that’s your choice, but consider this:

  • As Manager of the AL squad, Kansas City’s Ned Yost can name any of his guys to the roster regardless of how the votes turn out.  It would be very Ned to thumb his nose at the league and pick his own guys.
  • Others have pointed this out, but it bears repeating:  If you’re concerned about a game for home field advantage in the World Series coming down to the NL All-Stars versus the Royals, well, remember who represented the AL last year.  They seemed to hold their own against the best team in the National League.
  • Should KC get four (or more) starters, it will only start to make up for a decade of All Star Games where the token Royal representative was somebody like Ken Harvey, Mark Redman, Jose Rosado, Dean Palmer, or Aaron Crow.  Seriously – as a diehard fan of both the Royals and Nebraska Cornhuskers, has any team had a worse All Star Game representative than Ken Harvey?

 

 

Rejected Food Cannons

23 Apr

On Wednesday, the University of Nebraska – Omaha hockey team announced that their 2015-2016 home games will feature a taco cannon –  a glorious combination of compressed air, delicious meats, tortillas, and ‘Merican engineering.

With this new addition, the University of Nebraska system* is now a leader in firing free food to fans.  The University of Nebraska – Lincoln has featured Der Viener Schlinger, a giant hot dog gun, for almost 20 years.

*Hey, University of Nebraska – Kearney.  Where you at?  What delicious foodstuff are you shooting at your fans?  If you want to join Lincoln and Omaha in D-1 grandeur, you need to step up your game.

I’m trying to wrap my head around the logistics of firing a taco from a air-powered cannon.  Having caught a hot dog from Der Viener Schlinger a few years back, I can attest that not all foods are ideal for being fired 100 feet into the air.  The dog I received was in a Ziploc bag, taped closed (presumably, for maximum aerodynamic efficiency), and looked crumpled and sad.  The good news is the journey from the sideline to row 47 had no impact on the taste.

The better question is:  What other foods were considered as cannon fodder?  What delicacies sounded good in theory, but failed in testing (they do test these things, right?)  Luckily, the cousin of a friend of a guy I know from a thing runs the Zamboni for UNO Mavericks game.  He gave me a rundown on the food cannons that were rejected:

The research team hard at work in the lab (image via technabob.com)

  •  Spam.
  • Jumbo shrimp cocktails (naturally, an oversized gun operated by a midget, with cocktail sauce chaser).
  • Personal pizzas, fired by a clay pigeon thrower.  (Skeet shooter not included).
  • Snow cones.
  • Eggs (“Why do they always come scrambled?”)
  • Turducken.

“Heads up!  Turducken a comin’!”

  •  Spaghetti and meatballs.
  • Pho
  • Nachos.  (Think tortilla chips fired from a shotgun, followed by a water gun blast of piping hot cheese sauce.  Want jalapeno with that?)
  • Watermelons

It never gets old.

 

  • Salad.  (Attempts to “ramp up” your mom’s Salad Shooter did not go well).

Nebraskans can have theirs with Dorothy Lynch. (photo via morbidholiday.com)

  •  Cans of soda or beer

  • For weddings, there is the Rice Cannon, which plays Pachelbel’s Canon in D.
  • Whole roasted pigs
It's still good, it's still good!

It’s still good, it’s still good!

 

Love 4 Laney (l)

22 Apr

In a perfect world, sweet little children would not get seriously sick or require organ transplants.

Wednesdays are a busy day in our house.  Our oldest two kids have gymnastics classes back to back.  Due to the timing of those classes, I go straight from work to daycare to class.  Dinner is a hastily made batch of PB&J, cheese sticks, and juice boxes – most of which is eaten during the drive across town.

My three-year old son’s class is first, and it is a “parent and me” class where I follow him around to make sure he’s listening and following instructions.  When he’s done, our six-year-old daughter (who comes with my wife, direct from a different activity) has her class.  It’s usually 7:45 or later when we get home, which leaves just a few minutes for homework or unwinding before we start into the bedtime routine.

Basically, Wednesdays are controlled chaos, but it’s worth it because our kids love the classes, the teachers, and the other kids in the class.  My son’s class is rather small – it’s just him and two little girls.  As such, we know the other kids in the class pretty well – or so I thought…

*   *   *

Recently, I saw a link to an article about the family of Curtis Ledbetter, the Director of Operations for the University of Nebraska baseball team.  Ledbetter is a former Husker player – a big, strong first baseman who usually led the team in home runs.  But the main reason I read the article (which can be found here) is because I know Ledbetter as the dad of one of the little girls in my son’s gymnastics class.  Truth be told, it was the article’s title – “Huskers Excited to Show Their ‘Love 4 Laney’” – that stopped me in my tracks.

I had no idea Laney was sick.

*   *   *

Reading the article, these two sentences punched me right in the gut:

“Laney was diagnosed with Progressive Familial Intrahepatic Cholestasis Type 2, which means her liver doesn’t produce and move bile the way it should, so Laney’s body can absorb all the nutrients it needs. Nebraska Medicine doctors in Omaha told Curtis and Monica that their daughter eventually will need a transplant.”

I’ve been around little Laney an hour a week for most of the last six months, and I had zero idea she is sick.  She’s always struck me as a perfectly normal two-year old.  She’s active, energetic, and cute as a button.  You’d never know that she gets “seven to eight doses of medicine” every day and will someday require a new liver.

As a parent, I simply cannot imagine having a child fighting a disease with six words and almost 20 syllables in the name.  Our kids went through a bout of 24-hour stomach flu a few weeks ago, and it was exhausting.  The stress of seeing your babies miserable and weak is heartbreaking.  But a few days later they were completely back to normal.  I cannot imagine having that as my daily norm.  The love and strength parents like the Ledbetters and Hoffmans show is amazing and inspiring.

*   *   *

At the Nebraska – Minnesota baseball game on April, 12, the Huskers honored the 2005 team that made the College World Series.  Curtis Ledbetter was a key cog in that great team.  At the same game, the team held a “Love 4 Laney” day raising awareness for organ donation.  The team traded their traditional red hats for green ones, and fans wore neon green awareness shirts.

A clip from the local news can be found here.

Nebraskans, you can learn how to sign up to become an organ donor here.  For those who live outside The Good Life, here are some resources for you.  I’m proud to be a registered organ and tissue donor, and I hope you will join me.

*   *   *

(Author’s note:  Wondering why there is a random letter in parentheses in the title of this post?  Not sure how this post corresponds to the daily letter in the April A to Z Challenge?  Like clicking on links?  These questions are all answered here.)

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