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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (March 2, 2000)
Hinging future on solitary goal causes heartache, disappointment
Jack had always been a bully. As
a young child of 10, he beat up a kid
in his school bathroom and pissed on
him because the kid said “Hi.” The
victim was a nerd and had no right to
give Jack such an insipid greeting.
This incident made Pops quite
pleased, considering Pops had an
anxiety attack when his first child
was a girl. Jack was what he had
prayed for in a kid, and he could see
by his son’s actions early on in life
that he was going to be a tough son
of a bitch.
Jack always was taught that vio
lence, when used in proper situa
tions, was a means of gaining
respect. He was privy to Pops’ idea
that violence with weapons is the
antithesis of respect, but the physical
body was the tool of the gods.
After being held back not one,
not two, but three years from the first
grade, Jack was bigger than the rest
of his high school class. Pops had
plans for Jack; he was going to be the
most ferocious, finely tuned, pec
torally enhanced defensive lineman
that had ever come from a dinky
town in the Midwest. (It doesn’t mat
ter what town, it only matters where
Pops wished he had enough
money to relocate the family to either
Odessa or Midland. The rival Texas
high schools recently had spent a
combined total of almost $9 million
on their new school stadiums. They
knew where their priorities1 were.
On the rare occasions when Pops
would wake up soaked in sweat from
nightmares, he would ponder quite
heavily (for two minutes) whether he
had done the right thing by holding
Jack back and by pushing him to be
the best physical specimen this town
had ever seen.
One cigarette later, dreams of
glory put a reaffirming smile back on
He wanted to see his plan come
to fruition, no matter what ties were
bound or broken. He knew in his
heart Jack would thank him later -
this was what they both wanted.
Screams of excitement rushed
through Pops’ head as he put on his
red and white sweater that exhibited
quite clearly his pride for his son and
his love for the sport.
It was game night.
Jack was going to make his Mom
and Pops proud at the football game
tonight, and he knew his girlfriend
would sleep with him if they won.
His girl (It doesn’t matter what
girl.) was so overcome with the
onslaught of popularity she gained
by screwing the stud athlete that she
hid from everyone the fact that Jack
accidentally had hit her a couple of
Besides, she attributed it to his
extremely high level of testosterone.
She knew that everyone gets out of
hand and that Jack was
stressed more than the
dent because of
his destiny for great
She herself doesn’t
play sports anymore,
not since the game ~ ; ^ ^
when she missed a
serve and her
dad stood up % l.
to shout, “You
was enough to turn
her off instead of
propelling her for
ward, but Jack
had nothing but
say, they won
Jack got .
laid and he
be like in '
would be a
from his studies, but he
knew that any good football college
has tutors that cater to an athlete’s
every need because athletes are spe
cial, and in this case, special doesn’t
two Years Later:
Karen Brown is a senior English and film studies major and a Daily Nebraskan columnist.
Jack doesn’t make it. He simply
isn’t good enough. He was excep
tional in junior high, he shone like a
star in high school, but he just wasn’1
the cream of the crop that the red anc
white glory of Nebraska needed.
The Huskers didn’t care that they
were ruining a life, because it’s not
really their fault —they are simply
the institution that caters to hopes
It could have been any person in
any sport anywhere that was rejected
Jack turned his hatred and con
tempt for his failures onto his par
ents, who, in turn, would not speak t<
him (except to bring up his failure).
Their arguments were never about
how their parental love was a bit
“micmiiHpH ” hi it ahniit how
Jack had not tried hard enough.
He spoke to Mom and Pops very
rarely - he was tired of being called a
worthless son of a bitch. Pops’ vicari
ous dreams were dissipating quickly.
Everything he had worked for was
ruined - again.
Jack, rather than be defeated by
his father, put his energies into his
fraternity (It doesn’t matter which
one.) and spent the rest of his short
lived college career going to the bars
, and playing in the annual “Putt-Putt
It soon became the highlight of
Jack’s year. Not only could you drink
) at the bar with the boys, looking at
the ladies, but it was a welcome
chance to get rowdy and release
Bonding through punching each
other’s shoulders is the most
fulfilling sort of love in
the world for ath
Jack doesn’t think of this brother
hood as being the paradox it is. He
accepts that the violent actsthey dis
play fulfill some sort of sexual satis
faction that estrogen-laden creatures
, can’t give.
Ah, all this can be found at the
“Putt-Putt Golf-a-thon.” At this
blessed event, Jack was surrounded
by those just like him, those whose
hopes of a bright future in sports had
been slowly diminished to a weekend
of brotherly affection (with or with
out the tackling).
Still, Jack always knew he was
better than they - because he had had
a real chance once. These other suck
ers didn’t know what it was like to be
as great as he was in high school and
how he had tried out for the Huskers.
Jack went home that night -
golden putter in hand - and went
upstairs to his closet. Don’t get
scared, dear reader, he’s not going to
blow his brains out (like his father
wanted to do so many years ago).
Jack reached into his closet,
pulled out his redshirt Husker jersey
No. 43, put it close to his face and
started to cry.
Lack of initiative, activism on campus keeps campus conservative
Sometimes I get off the phone
with Anna, and I’m disappointed and
angry when I shouldn’t be -1 should
be happy for her. She tells me she
has joined a coed literary fraternity
at Brown, then she tells me to hold
for a second; Adam is knocking on
the door. Adam lives next door. Not
only are the fraternities and resi
dence halls coed, the floors are, too.
I’m used to hearing about things like
this from her.
Anna tells me about the fraternity
she is joining at Brown. She says
they have midnight poetry readings
at secret campus locations, sort of
like the boys in “Dead Poets
Society.” They exchange secrets and
do rituals that seem synonymous
with other fraternities, but she
swears it’s different.
She likes the secrets, saying they
promote group qualities. I’ve been
anti-fraternity since mine got dis
banded two years ago -1 argue that
secrets are false and promote noth
ing. I am biting and nearly upsetting
She tells me that the members
live in an old mansion on campus.
That’s coed, too. She’ll live there
next year. When she tells me she has
to pay dues, I nearly jump into the
“you’re paying for your friends” line,
but I refrain. I really want to piss her
off, but I know I am jealous as hell of
her and; her coed literary fraternity.
That’s why I argued in the first place.
It’s Freudian displacement. Maybe I
learned something here.
I know if a coed fraternity existed
at UNL, I would be the first to sign
up. But I’m sure it’s too liberal. I
wonder if most students even have
heard of such ideas at UNL. Even if
they did, would the university accept
them? They don’t allow members of
the opposite sex in most residence
hall rooms past 2 a.m. Yet there are
health tips about how to use con
doms on floors. That’s education.
Anna is shocked to learn that
there aren’t coed fraternities at UNL.
She laughs at the conservative nature
of the school.
“Now tell me again why you
decided to go there?”
It’s a question I’ve asked myself
often over the past three years. I
never really had an answer. I tell
myself I’m sure I would have heard
the same question regardless of
where I had gone.
I tell Anna it’s not a bad school,
and I don’t really think it is. I don’t
want to say I regretted my time here.
Besides, she goes to an Ivy
League school. Could there really be
a fair comparison? She says Ivy
League schools aren’t the only ones
with literary societies and coed
“Shouldn’t a public university at
least offer options for a diverse stu
dent population? There’s a disparity
in the minds of22,000 students. Why
aren’t they given the opportunity to
I’ve always said it was because
the school was too conservative,
even if it was public. But who really
makes it conservative?
It’s a stock answer to say, James
Moeser. I thought about starting my
own party to run for ASUN this year.
I would have called it S.H.A.M.
Students who HAte Moeser.
Anna asks me if it’s.fair to blame
one person, even if it is the chancel
lor. I know it’s not, but it sure is easy.
Who doesn’t love to bitch? Who else
is to blame? If we’re blaming ASUN,
aren’t we really blaming ourselves?
She says student government
doesn’t play much of a role there.
But students are involved. I wonder
where it comes from.
There was an article here about
the lack of student involvement. I’ve
heard the words too many times;
they are making me sick.
I mention the student elections
that took place yesterday.
Supposedly the great changes are
about to take place. On Tuesday, the
options for new student leadership
looked bleak. Because I didn’t start
my own party, I Voted for Buff
because I agree with their idea to
change the alcohol policy.
I’m on campus all day, but I don’t
see anyone in front of the Union
leading a rally for change. If I don’t
read the Daily Nebraskan, I don’t
find out anything. It’s hard to support
a cause I don’t see. I tell her I don’t
think anyone is shouting out loud.
But if no one is shouting out
loud, is there really a cause beyond
my own? Is mine just a lonely voice
whining for my own causes amidst
the clamor of thousands?
I know it’s not bad here, just con
servative. That’s just the way it is,
isn’t it? Anna’s fraternity and the
ways of her school can’t be here
because we’re Nebraska, not Brown.
But just for a second, I don’t want
to envy Brown. I want Anna to be
jealous of Nebraska.
Trevor Johnson is a junior English and secondary education major and a Daily Nebraskan columnist
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