One of the saddest traditions in college sports is being disrupted as Nebraska football suspends home games following the custom of dropping balloons after Husker’s first goal. For a long time, the kids barely managed to get into their seats before letting go of the red, plastic balls. Now, the Big Reds can’t get off the balloons fast enough because first-half scoring has gone from a necessity to god-pleasing to just kicking a goal on the field, so I don’t have to carry this around the back gate at recess.
I was at an Oklahoma State game years ago when fans sarcastically dropped balloons after the first team had lost at the end of the first half of a game that Husker had beaten himself 35-0 at half-time, and I must say, that was sweeter to Pokes than silenced the crowd.
Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts said a shortage of helium, not ecological concerns or insults of boredom, is the reason the show has gone traditional.
“Getting helium in this day and age, some of the jobs that produce it are really challenging and hard to come by,” Alberts said on his radio show. “So we were asked by the university, what helium we are getting as a university we need to use for medical purposes at [University of Nebraska Medical Center] in Omaha. And so we won’t be offering red balloons this year for the first time at Memorial Stadium. “
Sanctions against Russia, one of the world’s top helium suppliers, for invading Ukraine caused supply chain problems, and I’m sure many Republicans in my hometown will seek to blame Joe Biden for this development. Alberts’ assertion that the university is saving gas for patients at UNMC is commendable. Sick people clearly take precedence over an aesthetically pleasing image during a football match; and I’m glad the school found a straight line it won’t cross for its football team.
The thousands of pieces of waste that are released a few times a year are a biohazard with long-term effects unlike the evaporative waste that has been used up in the fields over the past decade. The student government voted to end the tradition in November and that has been treated with concerns such as sued Nebraskan against the school in 2016 about the health risks of balloons.
For me, it’s one of those things, like an option violation. It should have ended years ago. I’ve been to Memorial Stadium countless times, and never once do I remember dropping a hot air balloon. (I’ve been in the games for as long as I can remember so I’ll have to consult my dad to see if young Sean has ever been.) Just take a break from speaking practice to the fans. that, “It’s okay, it’ll come back better than ever one day,” and that’s the logic that applies to other aspects of Nebraska sports.
Husker’s tradition has dwindled since Tom Osborne’s retirement in the late ’90s, and sadly for fans, it’s more sad than holding the last vestiges of his glory years as the guy. high school peak. We all look like puffy clowns in decades-old mail coats, and maybe it’s time to clean the placard because no one is impressed by a completely upgraded trophy case. hasn’t seen a notable addition since the Big 12 conference title in 1999.
The record of dumping, currently at 382 matches, only continues because The “generous sponsors” buy tickets that would otherwise go on sale. Never mind the fact that the stadium was empty – or attendance has shrunk – during the COVID years. It’s a charade that makes Nebraska laugh as much as Scott Frost’s the worst 4th quarter crash. How about taking that money used to support a dead tradition and discarding it in the form of a NIL transaction?
Believe me, I know how good of a season the group is said to have gathered together. The transfer portal has been very good to Frost, and it could be what gets him over three wins this year. Traditions that don’t come with victories are just empty gestures. If Osborne had rested on his laurels after being beaten by Miami in all those Orange Bowls, he would never have improved the way he recruited and won three titles in four seasons. (And, no, editor, don’t insert a note here about memorable characters Osborne omitted; that’s college football. practice not exclusive to Nebraska.)
Is it a giant leap to say Alberts’ outright refusal to release Big Red is proof of a show that has tiredly stuck in the past? Yes, but god, look ahead, not to the sky because those balloons end up coming back to earth.