One of the saddest traditions in college sports is when Nebraska football suspended the home game practice of releasing balloons after the first Husker score. For a long time, children could not sit in their place before leaving the orbs filled with plastic, red helium. Now, Big Red can’t get rid of the faith bubbles fast enough because scoring in the first quarter has gone away from an inevitability to please God, just score a field goal so I don’t have to wrap this thing around tailgate at halftime.
I was at an Oklahoma State game a few years ago, when fans sarcastically dropped balloons after the team’s first first down in the first half of the game, in which the Huskers lost 35-0 at break, and I mean, sweeter for the Pox than to calm the crowd.
Nebraska Athletic Director Trev Alberts said helium deficiency, and not environmental concerns or depressing crime, was the reason the event went out of tradition.
“Getting helium in this day and age, some of its products are really challenging and hard to get,” Alberts said during his radio show. “So we have been asked by the university, the helium that we are getting as a university, we need to use it for medical purposes at Omaha [University of Nebraska Medical Center]. And so for the first time this year, we will not be offering red balloons at Memorial Stadium. “
The invasion of Ukraine, sanctions on Russia, one of the world’s major helium suppliers, have caused supply chain problems, and I’m sure many Republicans in my home state will find a way to blame Joe Biden for this development. Alberts’ assertion that the university is saving gas for patients at UNMC is commendable. Sick people naturally prefer the aesthetically pleasing scene in the game of football; And I’m glad the school has found a line that it won’t cross for its football team.
The bio-hazardous effect of thousands of wastes being dumped literally a handful of times each year is in stark contrast to the piles of rubbish that have been dumped in the fields over the past decade. The student government voted to end the tradition in November, and the threat to balloon health was as much a concern as the lawsuit filed by Nebraska against the school in 2016.
For me, it’s one of those things, like option offense. It was supposed to end a year ago. I’ve been to Memorial Stadium countless times and I don’t remember ever letting go of a balloon. (For as long as I can remember I’m going to the game, so I’ll have to consult my dad to see if a young Shawn has ever participated.) This is a logic that applies to other aspects of Nebraska sports.
The humorous tradition has been on the decline since Tom Osborne retired in the late 90’s, and for fans, it’s even more frustrating to hold on to the last remnants of a glorious year like the one who peaked in high school. We all look like bloated ass-clowns wearing decades old letter jackets and this may be the time to wipe the slate as no one has been affected by the trophy case which has not grown significantly since the Big 12 conference title. In 1999.
The sell-off, currently sitting at 382 games, is just beginning because “generous donors” buy tickets that would not otherwise be sold. Don’t forget that stadiums were empty – or attendance was low – in the Covid years. It’s the kind of thing that makes Nebraska laugh at Scott Frost’s worst fourth-quarter fall. How do you get rid of clutter you don’t need?
Trust me, I know how great the off-season the team has allegedly put together. The transfer portal is kind to Frost and he could win more than three this year. Traditions that are not accompanied by victories are just empty gestures. Had Osborne rested on his laurels after losing to Miami in all those Orange Bowls, he would never have improved as he recruited and won three titles in four seasons. (And, no, editor, don’t leave a note here about the unpleasant characters that Osborne ignored; it’s not typical for college football practice in Nebraska.)
Is it a leap to say that Alberts’ refusal to completely end the Big Red release is evidence of a tiring event in the past? Yeah Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like BT aint for me either.