Each and every year I sit in front of my computer and try and think of what to write about for the start of the Nebrasketball season. And every year I come up with something that has to do with how difficult it can be to be a fan or how this team “might” be better than last year’s squad.
I’ve been putting this article off this season because I’m tired.
I am tired of trying to figure out how good or bad Nebrasketball will be. I have gone from the “almost to so close to being decent” years of Tim Miles to the “this team looks good on paper” of Fred Hoiberg. My fandom for the team goes back to Danny Nee so you can imagine how far back this big ball of frustration goes.
I am tired of seeing Nebraska in the bottom of the preseason rankings. You can only pick so much out of being in the bottom of things year-in and year-out. After awhile, the creativity is zapped out of you. There is only so much you can make out of what very little has been done in regards to any improvement in the team. It’s different players, but the results seem to rarely progress.
I am tired of other Big Ten teams with less talent, resources, and fans making strides in their development. Teams that can barely get a couple thousand fans to show up to a weekend game in the middle of a major metropolitan enclave. Nebraska looking up at them in the rankings bewildered by their success.
I am tired of having to sit down and write what good I saw out of a twelve point loss week-in and week-out. Trying to justify that all we need is a couple of changes on offense and switch to a zone defense and things will be okay.
I am tired.
I honestly have no idea how this team will be this year. There are some decent players and a whole slew of new coaches on the bench. The exhibition games did not exactly make me feel like we could win a ton of games let alone hit the broad side of the barn.
But, there’s hope.
There is always hope that Nebraska will finally figure out a starting five that works. That the coaching staff finally have their shit together enough to beat the teams we are supposed to beat and pull off a few upsets here and there. At this point, we are not asking for a lot.
There is hope that the product on the court matches the energy in the stands. That people start coming back to Pinnacle Bank Arena with the excitement that keeps tournament ready teams going throughout the winter.
This is Fred’s fourth year. The past three have not exactly been fun. Most of the past three have been over before we got to the halfway point of the season. He wants this to work. He wants us to win. If he didn’t, he would not be here. There’s no question that he cares.
The team has talent. Whether it works well together has yet to be seen. That will take the new coaching staff and players coming together and figuring it out. Only four players who saw any real playing time are coming back this year. That will make it another Hoiberg squad that has little history together. Maybe, this is the year that they finally gel into a team that can contend in at least the middle of the pack in the Big Ten.
I say this every year, it’s not easy being a Nebrasketball fan. It never has been. I look at the football only fans and wonder why they are so soft (I kid...). Nebrasketball hardens you. It makes you a fan that can take on anything. You get punched in the face and you come back for more. I can’t say the same for our football only breatharian (again...I kid...).
The fact that we come back to The Vault year-in and and year-out can warp your mind and perception of reality. It’s interesting to dictate to someone why you go. Why you continue to cheer year-in and year-out.
Seeing the emptiness in their eyes as you try to make sense of your fandom. They’re quickly lost in your diatribe and probably believe that you yourself are insane for even dealing with all of this.
This has all happened before and could very well happen again.
As frustrating as Nebrasketball can be, the season is upon us. If you’re still here, thanks. You’re a special breed of fan. Nebrasketball can’t promise you a lot this year, but they may just surprise you. At least we can hope they will.