Situation: As reported by Lee Barfknecht in the Omaha World Herald Thursday:
A group of former Husker football players has scheduled a "reunion" golf tournament at the same time on the same day at a different course in Lincoln. Billed as "Fun - The Original Husker Way," the alternate tournament on April 13 is partly a tribute to former Nebraska football trainer Doak Ostergard, who was dismissed without public explanation last month after 18 years overall at NU.
I’d like you to think about this situation a specific point of view - that of a former Husker football player named John Doe. You originally planned on attending the Lettermen’s Club golf outing, but one of your buddies calls you and asks you to attend an event that’s now been scheduled on the same day at the same time somewhere else.
Buddy: "Hey, John, this is Buddy. Haven’t talked to you in a while, eh?"
John Doe: "Hey, Buddy, how you doing!"
Buddy: "Pretty good, John. Hey, some of us are having our own golf outing, something to support Doak Ostergard. Unfortunately it’s at the same time as the Lettermen’s Club thing, so you’ll need to pick one. "
John Doe: "Yeah, but I already said I’d be attending ...."
Buddy:’Listen, Osborne’s going to be there, maybe Solich. Besides, you liked Doak, didn’t you?"
John Doe: ‘Yeah, I liked Doak, he was a great guy, a great trainer.’
Buddy: ‘Well, then we’ll see you there, huh?’
John Doe: "I’ll have to think about it."
Buddy: "Not that hard is it? Doak, Tom, Frank. Just like it used to be. It could be like that again, ya know. I’ll see you there, then. Bye (click)"
John Doe is not a stupid person - John Doe got a scholarship, played football, and got a college degree. John can read between the lines, and the lines say:
"It’s time to pick side. You’re either with us or against us."
After John Doe hangs up the phone, he’s thinking -"It’s just supposed to be a golf outing, but now it’s all become something else."
Yeah, John it’s become something else. War. The worst kind of war. War amongst family members.
I personally don’t care for Steve Pederson. Nearly everything the man does aggravates me, but in hindsight, I’m sure I said the same thing about Bill Byrne a few years ago. I never attended holiday dinners with the Byrne family, and I’m pretty solid on the idea that I won’t be doing the same regarding the Pederson family.
The bottom line is whether or not they’re successful and that tends to work itself out over time. If Steve Pederson is successful, he’ll stick around and Corn Nation will be happy with the success. If he isn’t successful, he will be gone and we’ll be looking for another athletic director. (Keep in mind that Bill Callahan’s success may or may not determine Steve Pederson’s - it is entirely possible Callahan will be successful but Pederson won’t. )
It takes time for things to run their course - for people to prove their success or failure. Unfortunately, that isn’t enough for some to accept, especially when they want a solid winner every year and they want it done in the same exact way that it was done the last 40 years and ignore the fact that many things have changed.
What I can’t understand is that the people who are doing this stuff don’t see the long term implications for John Doe. Buddy asked him to pick his side - "The Original Husker Way" or the establishment. John Doe may or may not have an opinion about this, but maybe he just wants to see some old friends, play some golf. Not now. He has to pick a side in the war.
A few years from now, this will all be resolved in one way or another, but it’ll take more years before John Doe stops resent being forced to make this choice. People that love each other don’t do that. Unfortunately they get caught up in their own emotions and forget how much they’re hurting other people, especially the long-term implications of creating such a chasm.
If I were John Doe, I’d tell both sides to go to hell and take my kids fishing. I don’t like golf much anyway.
Osborne, in an interview from his office at NU's college of business, confirmed that he will attend the alternate event to support Ostergard, then added: "I don't want this perceived as any kind of shot at Nebraska."
Tom Osborne needs to make a decision. Either take the athletic director’s job or stay the hell away from everything involving sports at Nebraska and let things work themselves out, because when he does this crap he can be seen as meddling. Maybe he got a little infected with narcissism during his time in congress and can’t help himself.
2007 looks like it’s going to be one heluva year for Husker football -one way or another. I once though that if Bill Callahan won a Big 12 Championship, the past would melt away, but I don’t think it will because some people can’t help but live in it.