In a week that has seen a spectacular Cubs World Series win and a spectacular Husker defeat, I am reflecting on what it means to be a fan.
I love football. High school football is my favorite. I am a huge fan. I go to every game I can. Win or lose, I love those teams. Some years our teams struggle. Some years our teams are in the play-offs. Some years we have a team win state. But win or lose, I’ll be back next year.
I also love college football. I’m a Husker. I was a Husker last week; I am a Husker today; I will be a Husker next week. I was proud of them two weeks ago when we were 7-0. I was proud of them last week when they lost in overtime. And I am proud of them today. Will we pick apart every decision made last night, every decision made this season? No doubt. And we should. Growth only happens when we are willing to lay bare the reality of what happened and why. Only when we confront the truth can we get better. I am not saying don’t ask why this happened. I am not saying don’t address the reality.
But I am still a fan.
Each week the Husker’s opposing team has gone out of its way to honor the memory of Sam Foltz, the Nebraska punter who died in a car accident earlier this year. Ohio State was no exception. Their tributes were moving, and our media spent the day promoting them. Our fans liked and shared and retweeted and spoke of the class and style of the Ohio State team. Hours later we were liking and sharing and retweeting some not so nice things as the score climbed.
Tommy Armstrong came off the field on a stretcher. Both sides of the field held their breath, dropped to their knees to pray, and cheered as he gave his thumbs-up as he was taken to the ambulance. There was a pause and reminder to keep things in perspective. But minutes later we were questioning plays, criticizing players, and wondering if the coach should be fired.
I get it. My high schools teams lost Friday night. My Huskers lost last night. I am a football girl. I am bummed.
But my Dad’s Cubbies won the World Series this week for the first time since 1908, and Chicago hosted the 7th largest celebration in human history. Such is fandom.
Watch tape. Reflect. Make a plan to get better. That’s my hope for the Huskers this week. We’re here for you. Win or lose. We are fans.
The nation speaks of Husker fans with reverence. We are warm and welcoming and classy. Today is the measure of our fandom.