Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Big Red (Face)


Last week was a tough one for football fans in my home state of Nebraska, which is practically the whole population. First, the beloved University of Nebraska Cornhusker football team squandered a 21-3 lead over the visiting UCLA Bruins and ended upon the short end of a 41-21 score. UCLA posted the last 38 points of the contest as the Big Red's dreams of a stellar season pretty much went up in flames. Then on Monday, the other shoe dropped. A two year old recording of Coach Bo Pelini ripping into the Nebraska faithful as well as some local sports writers  surfaced on deadspin.com. Pelini's use of profanity shocked many, especially his use repeatedly of the F word directed at Nebraska fans. A fiery coach, Pelini has been known for classiness in his handling of the Penn State situation right after the scandal broke and orchestrating the little boy with cancer scoring a touchdown in the Huskers' spring game. Pelini has apologized and as you might guess, the reaction to the whole affair has been mixed. As I haven't lived in Nebraska for a long time, I'm not quite in the loop but I did get a chuckle out of this- I saw some of the ardent supporters of the embattled coach calling themselves Bo-lievers. Very catchy!

The first time I ever remember crying when not being administered a spanking was when Nebraska lost a bowl game- the feeling is ingrained at an early age. I remember being glued to the radio and listening to Lyle Bremser give the play by play every fall Saturday afternoon. (Like many Nebraska inhabitants, I have a favorite Bremser quote. Speaking of a Heisman Trophy winner, Johnny Rodgers punt return:
"Man, woman, and child! Look at that kid go!"

I'm not quite as into as I once was although I've never given up the allegiance or become a fan of any college in the states- Georgia,  Tennessee, Texas- where I've resided in the intervening years. My brother, Dave, usually is too nervous to watch the Huskers live and settles for the taped version. But we probably all were taken aback when we read the words of the current coach splashed all over the sports sites last week. The Huskers won last Saturday which takes the sting out of the fiasco to some extent- winning seems to do that. Who knows what the long term ramifications will be in the state where former Husker coach Tom Osborne- Dr. Tom- is the most popular citizen. But Coach Osborne has defended the embattled Pelini and believe me, that carries  weight in Nebraska.

In class, we'll talk this year about talking, specifically about talking too much and saying inappropriate things. I'll ask the kids if they've ever walked down the hall and someone may not speak to them as they normally would and they react in their minds by panicking, 'Oh no! They heard what I said!' Many of the students raise their hands. Most of the time, the other person has something else going on and has no idea of what caused the reaction but guilt makes us stupid and talking too much makes us feel guilty. This is a passage we reference from Matthew 12, verses 36 and 37 where Jesus says:
"I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless
word they speak,  for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
The truth is, all of us have been careless with our words, much like Bo Pelini. Oh, we might not have stooped to vulgarities but all of us have been guilty of sins of the tongue. The difference is that we are not famous and not in danger of being recorded with our angry words showing up on websites. If we were in the same boat, he wouldn't be the only one with a red face; Bo just gets paid more than the rest of us. My guess is he's learned a tough lesson, one played out before a million or so breathless fans. Our non-discretionary words don't have the same grenade-like impact as his tirade. Our victims won't vent on radio talk shows or message boards- they'll probably just die a little inside from our verbal sticks and stones. Oh wait....those can never hurt us. Hold that line! Hold that tongue! GO BIG RED!



Applicable quote of the day, # 2
God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1

www.hawleybooks.com
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

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