I've never liked golf (What the hell does Waggle Room mean anyway?). I've never understood how people talk about how great the sport is when they spend most of their time on the course being pissed off that they're not doing better, all the while swearing at their clubs, their balls (gasp!), birds, or me. On the rare occasion someone talks me into playing I spend about nine (six?) hacking away at the ball, and then the remainder wondering when the beer cart girl is coming back and why there's a limit on how many they can sell at one time.
Having said all that, last week the competing Athletic Department-sponsored N Club and the Nebraska Football Player Reunion - "Fun The Original Husker Way" golf extravaganzas were held. There were no reports of any injuries. Not even a fight. The regular media didn't even report on how well anyone did at golf. What the hell passes for reporting from these people, anyway?
They did focus on the rift that's apparent in the Husker family. KETV's headline was 'Dueling Golf Tourneys May Signal Husker Rift' - showing that they're with the times, letting you know that there might be a rift, but they weren't going to go out on a great big limb (more like a tree that's fallen over) and say "Dueling Golf Tourneys Make It Apparent Husker Family Has A Problem" because that would be too bold. They'd rather imply it.
Then they go find Broderick Thomas, not known for his ability to shut his mouth and he has plenty to say:
Thomas, a Husker All-American, said he and some other former players don't feel as welcome by the Athletic Department.
Well, who does? The place is bottled up tighter than a nun, for crying out loud. They have security guards there, I've seen them, and more importantly, they've seen me. I have yet to walk up to a security guard anywhere without them placing their hand directly on whatever weapon they have at their disposal. I suppose it's some kind of natural reaction. Perhaps Broderick Thomas and I have some of the same DNA that makes them do that. It certainly can't be our mouths, so it must be a DNA thing.
"We believe in our tradition," Thomas said, "and that our tradition will override any crisis we have at the University of Nebraska.
Holy crap, we've just heard there might be a rift, and Broderick is calling it a crisis. I thought it was just that the off-season is here and people are bored. There's nothing left to talk about but irrigation and how many inches of water you can use this year and a lot of people don't care too much about that. We'd rather hear more about this crisis, and Broderick delivers:
"You don't have to tell me twice. I've had some words with Steve Pederson about being on the sidelines," Thomas said.
No idea what the words might have been, but there it is - the issue with him not feeling welcome. He's not being allowed on the sidelines. I get the same thing at family weddings. It's always "You're going to behave this time, aren't you?". Then the big day comes and goes and people are angry because I helped throw someone in a pool, or they remind me that not everyone wants to see my bare buttocks, or that it wasn't funny that the newly married couple had to spend four hours cleaning their car before leaving for their honeymoon. I know exactly how Thomas feels.
Some people want big events to go smoothly without some jerk like me or Broderick opening their mouth and saying something stupid in front of a camera. Some people like Steve Pederson do this by controlling everything that comes out of the athletic department. He wants a beautiful wedding on each Saturday in the fall with Husker fans everywhere once again marrying their beautiful bride, the Husker football team. For Steve Pederson the wedding would look like a Norman Rockwell painting. Everyone beautiful and frozen forever smiling. For me and Broderick , the wedding would look more like a celebration that included lots of yelling, the groom being thrown in a pool and then driving off in a painted car with 135 cans tied on behind.
Despite differences on what the wedding should look like, we're all interested in the same thing. Mike Rucker says it best:
"Win and the grumbling goes away," said former Husker and current Carolina Panther Mike Rucker, who went to tournament B. "We’re all for getting some championship rings and fans lining the streets from the airport to the stadium when the team comes back from winning a national championship."
We're all interested in the happy ending. The "And they lived happily ever after" part. Getting there involves moving beyond the wedding and into marriage, which is a lot more work than a wedding. A lot more work than golf, too.
So it goes.