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An Apology to Husker FansPosted Monday, September 21, 2009, at 11:08 PM
A warning to all Husker fans: the content of this blog will center around the devastating loss in Blacksburg, Virginia that occurred on September 19th, 2008. Readers who are still nauseous, deflated, and/or depressed over the game should refrain from reading for fear of falling into a deep psychotic episode.
I hate to tear open the fresh scab that's appeared in the days since the loss at Virginia Tech. If you're anything like me, you just want the pain to go away. The moment of you screaming desperately television set, trying to will Suh to sack Tyrod Taylor (instead of standing frozen with his hands in the air like a hapless Craig Ehlo as Jordan drains his iconic jump shot), is already a distant memory you want to forget about. You have suckeded up your what's left of your pride, that at this point in Husker history is as trampled, flavorless, and degraded as a piece of Bo Pelini's gum, and are ready to move on to the celebration of Memorial Stadium's 300th consecutive sellout.
But this is not how it should be, Husker fans. The Big Red fan-base needs a a scapegoat; someone to take the blame for this epic meltdown, the likes of which have not been witnessed since Christian Bale last stepped on a movie set. However, after such a close and hard fought game, a single patsy is hard to come by. Sure, blame can be laid on the offensive line who were responsible for NU's lone touchdown of the day being taken off the board, and turning what was a first-and-goal at the six yard line into an Alex Henry punt. It could also sit in the lap of a defense that, after three quarters of brilliant play, fail to contain Tyrod Taylor and let him buy time to get his receivers open.
Having said that, true healing doesn't come from pinning the blame on a group of people. Condemnation in sports only truly works when one person shoulders the burden of a loss. So much in the way that a child is the reprobate who allows the city of Omelas to thrive, Bill Buckner and Scott Norwood are the fall-guys who bear the culpability for their teams' failure.
Well Nebraska fans, I am your Buckner.
Yes, without dropping a pass, getting flagged for holding, or letting a receiver slip by me in coverage I became responsible for the breakdown in Blacksburg.
It all came tumbling down, when in a moment of weakness during the fourth quarter I fell victim to one of the most fatal faux paus in fandom: the jinx.
Cut-scene to me on Saturday afternoon, under two minutes left in the game with the score 15-10 in Nebraska's favor. The Cornhuskers had just punted on a fourth-and-one at midfield and given the Hokies a long field to work with. It was in this moment that all the rationality and common sense in my head took a back seat to the intensity of the moment I was in. We're actually in this game. Our defense has stopped them all game long. We actually have a shot. While these thoughts may seem inane by themselves, they opened the floodgates for a cascade of inner-contemplations that lead to this remarkably awful breech of fan conduct:
I wonder when was the last time we won a game without scoring a touchdown?
You see that?! I just pulled off the Everest of dumb moves that any fan could make; by simply thinking that this game was won with two minutes and five points separating Nebraska from a return to national respectability I shook my fist at the football gods and dared them to steal this victory from my sweaty, Cheetos-stained hands.
It was like the moment in Ghostbusters, when the team is told that they must chose their own destructor and Ray Stantz sheepishly tells everyone he thought of something that "could never, ever possibly destroy us". Just then, the Staypuff Marshmallow Man waltzes through and lays waste to New York City.
For those last two minutes of the game, I was Dr. Stantz without the proton pack. I had the same huge eyes, slacked jaw, and disheveled hair of Stantz as he watched his own innocent idea come to kill him (only I was witnessing Tyrod Taylor destroy any hopes for that win I so innocuously pondered).
So Husker fans, let your angst from last week's loss be delivered unto me. Inundate the comment boards with your vexed remarks. Call me every name that you deem appropriate for this website. Throw whatever malice you can my way. The more fault that's tossed in my lap the better, for any disheartening words addressed to me simply offset whatever karmic imbalance I initiated. Trust me, the only thing more reliable than the jinx is the anti-jinx.
Quick, let's start this before I get my hopes up over the Louisiana-Lafayette game.
P.S. - According to the Lincoln Journal Star, a Husker victory without a touchdown hasn't happened since Truman was in office.
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My name is Kevin Forch, a Stratton, Nebraska native who uses the McCook Gazette webpage to keep up on the hometown news. I am also a recent graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who now lives in Kansas, where I work at a community college.