Photo by Pat Radigan
By Pat Radigan
Having a sports “blog” is a slippery slope for any young journalist, whether they realize it or not.
Social media itself is a dangerous enough lure to start spitting hot takes, but having to hammer out a few hundred words every week is almost too much temptation. So instead of a traditional weekly “column,” you’ll get this: A combination of reporting, game times/results plus a sprinkling of opinion and nonsense to keep you interested.
So sit back, relax, and let’s take our first lap on this thrill ride we’re calling “Around the Corn.” (Hint: The good stuff comes last, that’s how we get you.)
We’ve waited this long, and finally football and volleyball are back in Lincoln. What else is there to say?
What’s Going On
9/2/17 | 7 p.m.
No. 14 Nebraska at
9/1/17 | 9:30 p.m.
No. 14 Nebraska vs.
9/3/17 | 12 p.m.
No. 12 Nebraska vs.
9/1/17 | 12 p.m.
No. 12 Nebraska vs.
9/1/17 | 7:30 p.m.
No. 12 Nebraska vs.
9/2/17 | 2 p.m.
The Other Football
If you can’t tell by the picture above, or the subject of our main feature below, we take soccer pretty seriously around these parts. And not just because of my crippling FIFA addiction.
But this year, there’s a reason that all Husker fans should take notice of the soccer squad: Nebraska is ranked in the top 15 during the regular season for the first time in 14 years. And then, it was just for the opening weekend, with NU checking in as the No. 12 team in the country before dropping back-to-back games to Duke and North Carolina. Since that year, there have been nine seasons where the Huskers did not even need the “NU Rank” column on the schedule. But that’s all changing.
Nebraska has now worked its way into the rankings three of the past four years, have hosted games in two of the last three NCAA tournaments and won its first Big Ten regular and postseason titles. Now, the Big Red is ranked No. 14 and is out to a 4-0-0 start despite being picked to finish seventh in the Big Ten standings.
The first road test of the year comes this weekend for the Huskers, when they take a trip to Washington for two games. And even if this post jinxes NU’s perfect start (knocking on wood as I type this), the first two weekends of the regular season have shown that Nebraska fans have something to get excited about.
If you haven’t seen this year’s squad in action, you won’t have to wait long as NU returns to Hibner for two games next weekend, and THAT just means you have plenty of time to write a song to sing during the game.
More Than a Hashtag
A recent story about the legacy of Sam Foltz came into being after a tweet from his friend and former teammate Spencer Lindsay. I’m not going to fall into the trap of trying to hammer home the point made by his friends about Sam being more than a hashtag, or waste this space to try and publicly shame Twitter accounts that do things like use #SF27 in bios that also ask for pictures of “hot” girls.
But the story linked above is worth a read, and some reflection about what things we commercialize and why. And maybe I’m just naive, but I think part of the problem is how anything and everything associated with college football can be quantified and sold if the price is right. That’s how accounts like the aforementioned Twitter profile can use “tributes” and the emotional draw of college football, mixed side-by-side with videos of binge drinking and immature jokes about Iowa to get thousands of clicks and follows.
There’s no sharp lecture or lesson here, either, just wanted to pass along the link for something to think about. For around a year now I’ve had two different memorial hashtags in my bio, and I’ve been hesistant to overhaul my profile in part due to that reason. That will probably change soon, and not because I don’t want to be seen as opportunistic, but because this story is a reminder that memories and legacies live on no matter how well they are documented digitally.
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Ready For Her Blessing
A story of redemption, patience and hustle
I’ve always hated the term “garbage time.” I know that college sports can sometimes be lopsided and mismatched, especially in preseason, but for me it’s never taken away from the moments that can still occur when the outcome of the game has already been decided.
In the Nebraska soccer team’s win over South Dakota, I found another reason to hate that “garbage” term. As the 10 second count down approached, Husker junior Savanah Uveges chased down a ball that was headed out of play near NU’s goal. She said she was just trying to dive for the ball and force a corner, but Uveges kept the ball in play, and found herself on the goal side of a startled defender. With the time now being counted down over the PA system, Uveges saw a chance to go to goal and somehow snuck a chipped shot past the keeper and into the far netting with just five seconds left in the game.
For cynical sports fans, the goal would appear to be meaningless, outside of the novelty of scoring so close to the final whistle. But for Uveges, it meant so much more.
If you glance at Uveges’ bio page on Huskers.com, the only real statistical information you’ll find is Nebraska’s team record from each of her first three seasons on the roster. That’s all she has to show for on-field “accolades” after a redshirt season, and two more missed due to injury. Bless their hearts for throwing in the pronunciation of her name (YOU-vegas) to spice things up for her sophomore season.
And after patiently waiting for three years to even take the field in a real game as a Husker, it’s Savanah’s turn.
Husker Savanah Uveges made her first fall apperance in this exhibition game against Colorado College, and has gone on to start all four regular season games.
She’s started all four games for the 14th-ranked Huskers, and it only took three games for her to put together a new highlight for her bio page. After spending most of the game in a more defensive role on the right side of midfield, Uveges played out the final few minutes in an attacking position on NU’s left flank. That put Uveges in position to make the challenge that led to her first-career goal. In the heat of the moment, Uveges laughed as she admitted she may have blacked out a bit in excitement, “but it was a goal, and it was good.”
Seconds later, she was being mobbed by her teammates as the Huskers celebrated a 3-0 win, but the focus was on No. 7. There are eight seniors on Nebraska’s roster, and they’ve seen what Uveges has been through to get to that goal. Without them, she said she never would have made it back from injury, and trying to describe the feeling of seeing her teammates there to celebrate brought the emotions out of Uveges during her postgame interview.
She apologized for breaking up trying to talk about it, but the smile and pure bliss from reliving the memory stayed stuck on her face for the rest of the interview. When asked about her different roles for this year’s team, Uveges gave a solid answer, but couldn’t help herself from returning to the introspection.
“I think wherever I’m going to play,” she started, spilling over into a minor laugh as she continued, “which I don’t care where I’m playing as long as I’m out there.”
It wasn’t about being a starter or getting as many minutes as she could. It wasn’t even about trying to score more goals.
It was about being able to play the game she loved again, and being able to do it with the people who never let an injury or obstacle keep her from bouncing back.
“I just know I’m going to play the way Nebraska soccer wants to play and still be myself at the same time. And try and find that freedom of “Hey I’m out here because I love it,” and not because I’m doing a job.”