Sacrifice: The heart of glory


Sept. 22, 2018 | Autumn Equinox

Sacrifice is the heart of glory

HOT TAKE ALERT: Sometimes, tradition is best.

I get that the party line on Husker football this year is that we need to trust the process, trust Scott Frost and be patient. Whatever Scott might have accomplished at UCF, we all knew in our hearts that things could get worse before they got better for Nebraska. Some of these kids have been asked to adapt to so many different coaches, coordinators, and play styles over the course of the last few years, it's hard to imagine they even have a coherent idea what to do on the field. Add a bad case of the yips over losing their first game to the weather and their second game to Colorado, and you have the recipe for (optimistically) a two-win season.

But as we tumble down the slope into irrelevance, it's becoming hard to ignore that something is deeply, fundamentally wrong here. It's been a long time since the Huskers were even remotely "elite," but a football program which within living memory produced some of the finest teams to ever grace a college stadium should not go winless at home for over a year.

It's time for an honest reckoning, folks. After nearly two decades spent burning through coaches, staff and athletic directors like autumn leaves, all we've done is go from bad to worse. When change doesn't solve things, you need to look at the constant.

It's us. The constant is us. We — we the fans, the community, the state of Nebraska — are the problem with Husker football.

“It was the love of a man who knew his devotion meant something.”

I often find myself lately thinking of my grandfather, whose love for the Cornhuskers was joyful, fierce and pure. His affection was never fickle — he loved his team win or lose (althought I sometimes reflect that it was a mercy he died soon after Tom Osborne retired).

It was the love of a man who knew that his devotion meant something.

Even as his health began to fail, Grandpa never missed a game. He learned the name of each player — thousands over the years — and enough details about their lives that they weren't just anonymous numbers in red. Memorial Stadium was a holy shrine and a second home to him. And when the time came every September, when the nights grew cold and the wind rattled the dry corn stalks like bones, with great care and pride Grandpa would complete his ritual blood sacrifice to the Corn God, bringing bounty to our harvest and victory to our warriors of the gridiron for another year.

Look in the mirror, Husker fans, and ask yourself an honest question. What was the last time you honored the holy sacrament between our people and He Who Walks Behind The Rows? When did you last feel the bonfire's heat on your naked skin, smell burning flesh on the crisp night air? How long has it been since you spoke aloud the arcane blood oaths that unite our souls in a sacred marriage to the land for a thousand generations? How long has it been?

Years? Decades? A lifetime?

We grew up watching some of the best players of all time wear Husker red. We long for a return to back-to-back championships and perfect seasons. But how many of us can honestly say we follow the traditions we all remember from childhood, traditions that transformed Nebraska Cornhusker football into a dynasty?

Cry as we might about losing, we have grown lazy and complacent in our faith, Nebraska. We have abandoned our very culture in favor of a sanitized, "politically correct" version of football fanaticism. This craven spiritual decay sows nothing but defeat, and on the very field of Memorial Stadium that vile seed has taken root and blossomed.

We brought Scott Frost home and crowned him our Corn King, in an attempt to revive the spirit of days gone by. But have we forgotten the cost we paid to empower our champions — including Scott — with the strength to defeat their enemies?

Many of us were too young to take part in the secret ritual blood orgies of 1997, but as anyone who has taken 4th grade social studies knows, those ecstatic couplings under the harvest moon raised enough dark magic to execute the Flea Kicker and vanquish the warlock Peyton Manning.

“Don't you remember the raw, crackling energy when we gathered together in our thousands, to watch and to celebrate?”

And what of the walk-on program? Yet another proud tradition fallen to ruin. Once, every family in the state sent their strongest sons off to Lincoln to undertake the ancient Rite of D'Nalr afc MmÏj. Many fine young men died in the attempt, and may their souls be damned forever for their failure. But those who survived were awarded spots on the walk-on squad, and their victories against the demons of the black void brought them glory, on the football field and off.

Who could forget how, on the dark plain of the netherworld, Joel Makovicka defeated the Lich King by calling him by his true name, Bobby Bowden — and from that foul revenant won the magic cleats that allowed him to score 13 touchdowns as a fullback?

Don't you remember the raw, crackling energy when we gathered together in our thousands, to watch and celebrate as the annual sacrifice — always a healthy male in his prime of life, captured from whatever state was our biggest rival that year — was cut open alive and emptied of his viscera, his hollowed-out skin stuffed with corn husks and set ablaze for all to witness? How the spirit of the Corn God would take hold of Coach Osborne, and he would in his terrible voice speak through Tom to remind everyone that season tickets are a great Christmas gift?

Tradition isn't just empty gestures and pageantry, folks. Lest we forget, the Red and White (excuse me, PC cucks, I mean "scarlet and cream") reminds us of our sacred duty. Red for blood, white for bone; both shed upon the altar in every home. Verily I say unto you, there are too many dusty altars across this great state, and the rot runs deeper still. When the accursed Steve Pederson banned all sex magic on campus and then fired Frank Solich when he dared defy him, we should have risen up as one and filled his corpse with snakes before we allowed him to taint our land with the stain of Bill Callahan.

Fellow Cornhuskers, heed my words: Sacrifice is the beating heart of glory. The time is now, before Harvest Season is done, for us to reclaim our noble heritage. Go forth and with joy in your heart, do your sacred duty. May the fields be watered with the blood of our enemies. Go Big Red.