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Dear Nebraska: Calm the F*ck Down

A plea from a Husker fan.

As you may or may not have heard, Nebraska and Wisconsin are not playing football this Saturday, as Wisconsin attempts to get a handle on a Covid outbreak on the team.

There are some in Husker Nation who are VERY unhappy about this, including the athletic department, which reportedly attempted to schedule an out-of-conference game before being denied their Constitutional rights to play football stopped from doing so by the Big Ten, per the agreement made when football resumed.

Some members of the Husker sports media (though not all) have been especially strident in their calls for the games to go on. In a pandemic. Two days before the date the game would be played.


It’s a fucking global pandemic. It’s raging in the US, in many places unchecked because of poor leadership and a misguided sense of individualism. The same selfish people who insisted on their right to go to Sturgis or to roam Hy-Vee maskless are the same people now bitching that things aren’t back to normal yet. NO SHIT. Do you know why things aren’t back to normal yet? Two reasons.

One: It’s a pandemic, and it doesn’t care about your hobbies, or about anyone else’s. We are uniquely equipped to deal better with pandemic disease than any other human epoch on earth, and even we are not able to quickly end the disease. This is a sucky reality, but it is, in fact, reality. Wishing it were different doesn’t change it. Behaving irresponsibly doesn’t change it.

Two: Because selfish people who “don’t care if they get sick” or “refuse to live in fear” act in ways that ACTIVELY SPREAD the disease. Honestly, if you’re so thick that you don’t understand this yet, I don’t really care if you get sick either. But I do care if you get my mother sick, or me sick, or the nice little old lady who lives next door sick, just because you can’t stand the thought of being in Wal-Mart for 20 minutes with a disposable piece of cloth over your mouth. Grow up. Had this segment of the population not pitched a temper tantrum for the past nine months about basic courtesy and mild inconvenience, the Midwest, including Wisconsin, might not be hotbeds of contagion, and the Huskers might be playing this weekend in relative safety.

Now, many Nebraskans and Husker fans understand this. I get it. My two Nebraska co-writers understand this. Some members of the Husker media understand this. But the squeaky wheels are getting all the negative headlines. Let’s review:

Oh? Is it common sense? What is common sense is wearing a fucking mask and realizing that not every single thing is going to function “normally” in the middle of a highly contagious global pandemic, Steve. Pretending that the highest priority should be bowl eligibility is hilariously missing the point of the bigger picture, which again, is a global pandemic. Also, there probably won’t be a bowl season, because of the aforementioned ding dongs who can’t be bothered to wear a mask and curtail their social activities in a responsible way.

And then there’s this chestnut:

Hi. Guess what. You’re not going to like this, because once again I am asking you to remember that it’s a global pandemic! In a global pandemic, it’s actually NOT about the players first and foremost. I’m not sure how so many Americans got the idea that they live in isolated bubbles where they can do whatever they want without consequences. In a global pandemic, the health and safety of our communities should come first. Not players’ desire to play football games.

I absolutely understand that it’s a major bummer for them to not get to play. I’m not a robot! I’m a sports fan! I’m sad I don’t get to watch us lose to Wisconsin again (actually, no, I’m really not). But most of us have given up things we love and are passionate about this year (except the Sturgis folk, I guess): concerts, travel, bar hopping, large gatherings of friends, eating in restaurants, etc. It sucks BIG TIME. No one likes it. This pandemic gets a solid zero stars from me. But on the other hand, sometimes we just have to be grownups and accept that the world is not the way we want it to be. Sometimes we wish we weren’t having a global pandemic, but we are. Reality is something we must all grapple with, football players included.

Then, there’s the version of events where we’re borrowing trouble we don’t need to.

Basically, the argument here is that Nebraska might finish tied for the top of the standings in the Big Ten West! AND THEN WHAT?????

Look. Nebraska is unlikely to win the division. Sure, it’s possible. But it’s not probable. And, in the event that they do end up tied for the division, and all the other teams have gotten to play their full slate of games and NU-UW was the only one that got cancelled... well, then make that argument then. I’d listen at that point. But right now this is like me bitching about not getting to travel to attend the Miss America pageant because what if I win it? I mean... I could, I guess. But it just doesn’t seem like a very probable event or compelling argument.

One of the biggest problems with all of this is that it pretends that this is a normal season. It isn’t. We knew it wouldn’t be, whether the Big Ten played or not, or whether it played in ten weeks or eight weeks or three weeks. These are, as every major corporation in America has reminded us, “unprecedented times.” Whatever happens this season is going to have a big ol’ asterisk next to it. We’d all be better served if we remembered that. It’s gravy that we have football at all. Relax and enjoy the ride, however much of it we get. Of all the things that deserve rage in 2020, this is nowhere near the top of the list.

And hey, maybe with Saturday off, Coach Frost can review how to properly wear his mask. He seemed a bit rusty on that last week.

Now, maybe this is all picking up steam because it’s good copy, and a little internal conference drama makes a nice story. But there’s no reason to feed into this narrative, and so far, I see too many doing exactly that. Let’s stop. You probably needed to rake leaves this weekend anyway.


What do you think?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Let ‘em play! The B1G was out of line in vetoing the Chattanooga Plan.
    (95 votes)
  • 50%
    I stand with the Big Ten. Global pandemics respect no games.
    (323 votes)
  • 34%
    I don’t know, but fuck Nebraska.
    (224 votes)
642 votes total Vote Now