Rex Burkhead Is A Role Model

October 11, 2011

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If you ever take time to notice my mug shot with the articles (I hope you don’t spend TOO much time) you can’t miss the ball cap for my alma mater and favorite team. The University of Nebraska Cornhuskers.

So to celebrate my 100th article on this site, I am going to write about my gameday in Lincoln to open the Big 10 Conference at home, and a player that ALL of you need to know about…if you don’t know already.

First off, this past weekend in Lincoln was a big day. For you non-husker types – – every day that is a football game on the schedule is a big deal. The downtown Lincoln area is packed with a couple hundred thousand people – many who travel from well out of state and far off lands – – known as wherever the visiting team is from.

This Saturday was special. It was the first home Big 10 Conference game for Nebraska. Excitement was in the air. The forecast was for wind and rain. Poncho sales were brisk. I had all the good intentions to provide live “Tweets” from the tailgate and the game for the matter. Unfortunately for me, Verizon, who happens to be the “official” phone of the Huskers somehow cannot provide cell phone service that is worth a darn anywhere near the stadium (and coincidentally worse IN the stadium) on a game day, so no live updates on game day.

Our tailgate was our largest ever, we had the neighbors in the parking lot who bring their mobile brick pizza oven share in the fun to have one seriously large combined tailgate. It was borderline out of control at times, and we were over-run with people as kick off neared. We ran out of beverages well before planned. A thirsty tailgate party is not necessarily a happy tailgate party. …but no uprisings occurred for us on South Stadium drive.

The game was an electric atmosphere. The Buckeyes got off to an early lead, milking half of the first quarter away. The teams traded blows, in the first half Nebraska was not the better team and found themselves in a large hole to start the 2nd half. They promptly got behind by yet another touchdown to trail 27-6 and the outlook for the Cornhuskers seemed bleak.

The defense made a couple of big plays. The Ohio State quarterback, Braxton Miller got injured, the momentum had swung. The crowd was back in it. The defense was playing with more and more confidence and reckless abandon. The offensive line was starting to make better blocks. The passing game was clicking and the running game was churning out on a gutsy performance in the 4th quarter on the legs of a guy wearing #22.

Too many times fans (me included) get too caught up in the wins and losses on the field. Sports provide a lot of excitement for those of us who are fans. At the end of the day we need to remember and reflect that the players that we idolize and that we emmulate and root for are people just like you and me. This is true weather you are talking professional sports or college sports. At the end of the day, there are bigger things than wins and losses on the field of play. But sometimes a player is special both on and off the field, and one Nebraska player deserves special mention in my mind.

For those who have watched or follow Nebraska you know all about Rex Burkhead. He played quite a bit as a true freshman, he was an integral part of the squad last year.

Burkhead is a fan favorite. He is not the biggest guy, not the fastest guy, my guess is if you met him on the street you likely wouldn’t peg him as a Division I football player.

Husker Faithful love this guy. He is scrappy, always play hard, he runs tough. He hands the ball to the official when he scores touchdowns. He smiles alot. He is humble and softspoken in front of the press.

What’s not to like?

There is a lot more to like than most of you know.

Recently Randy York who writes for Huskers.com wrote an insightful article on Rex Burkhead. I would suggest you read it by following this link, and I would encourage you to share it with your friends. 

 I know there are hundreds of similar stories on many college campuses and pro sports towns around the country. The problem is we hear about all the times players get in trouble, or they play poorly, or they say something to the media that they might regret later.

I vividly remember Charles Barkley saying that “I am not a role model” on Nike commercials in my much younger days.

My son is a huge Rex Burkhead fan – mainly because he is 5 1/2 years old and has a Burkhead jersey (#22) . But after reading York’s article I am going continue and try to raise my son in a way so he might grow up to be like Rex…not as a football player, but as a person.

I normally don’t ask people who read my article to forward it on, but in this case I urge you to do so. Spread the story of a nice young college athlete, it doesn’t matter if you are a Nebraska fan or not, but we should all aspire follow the example set for by Rex Burkhead.

Sorry Chuck. I’ll take my chances with guys like number twenty two for the scarlet and cream. He IS a role model.

Until next Time – – – Stay classy Plano Texas!

Darren Clarke Wins, USA Women Lose

July 19, 2011

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It is no secret that I am a big fan of the Open Championship. If you read my article last week you already picked up on that idea. It was another great tournament with European Tour favorite Darren Clarke, getting lucky bounce after lucky bounce in the final round to hold off an incredible early charge by Phil Mickelson (aka Flopsy McChokenstien) and a late but belated surge by Dustin Johnson.

Mickelson made a major move in the first 10 holes, picking up 6 strokes relative to par to get in a tie for the lead. He missed a short putt and then the oil spewing began.

Major disappointment of the day part II was the women’s US soccer team. Many would argue that the team has staved off defeat a couple of times and was lucky to get this far in the World Cup. Others would argue that Japan, with all the horrific events of the past year, was the team of destiny. I would argue that poor execution and lack of focus was the reason for the defeat.

Once the Americans took the lead (both times matter of fact) they exhibited ole’ defense near the goal and looked nervous…a case of “not losing a late lead” This turned into goals by Japan late in regulation and in extra time, which allowed the Japanese team to win in a shoot-out. Maybe the worst excuse I head was Abby Wambauch explaining that Japan had “already watched the USA team penalty kicks against Brazil, so they pretty much knew where we were going.”

WHAT???? Seriously , that is your comment??? You are world class soccer players and you only have one place to kick the ball when it comes to shoot out time? That would be comparable to Lebron James saying he can’t shoot the ball from the right side of the floor, only from the left side…. Get back to me when you can admit that you just blew it.

Speaking of blowing it, Johnny played in member guest tournament at a local club this past weekend. Turns out the pressure cooker got to Johnny G as well. I missed a 3 footer on the 17th hole that cost me and my partner from making the playoff for the title of the tournament. We still finished 3rd overall – and made some money in the process. It was a real rush to get the competitive juices flowing again. Just too bad that I could not come through in the clutch.

Changing gears……

College Football is just around the corner. Many schools have “fan days” where the fans and kids have a chance to meet the players and coaches, take a few photos, get some autographs, run around on the field, etc.

The University of Nebraska has one of the craziest fan days around. Since the announcement of Bo Pelini as head coach, the Fan day crowds have likely been around ten thousand or more in attendance for the 90 minutes allotted for the players to sign autographs for the fans.

This year the University has moved fan day from the tradition late Saturday morning start time to the middle of Friday afternoon. Why? My guess is the University has had problems controlling the massive crowds, and hopes that moving to a time when many more parents will be at work, will lower attendance to a more manageable level. As a parent who has taken their kids to the event the last couple of years I can speak for the sheer mass of people that are present at the stadium for the event. Some will applaud the decision (such as me) and others will be unhappy as it may affect their ability to attend the event at all.

I am betting that many fellow Big X schools wish they had to deal with such a problem….

Until next week, stay class Ames Iowa.

Sports Beat

August 12, 2009

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Golf

The big news of the week is not the fact that yours truly shot a career low round of 67 this past week … it instead is the fourth golf major of the year on the PGA tour.

This week Hazeltine hosts the 91st PGA Championship. I have been one to pick Tiger Woods in all of the majors this year and he is a smooth 0-3. So I will go with someone else. Camillo Villegas is my pick for the week.

Tiger does have an interesting statistic in his quest for a major this year. He has one each of the tournaments he played in BEFORE playing in a major this year … the pre Major Grand Slam if you will.

He has 14 Majors in 248 career starts. This also includes 70 tour victories. Jack Nicklaus at the same point in his career had 9 major wins and 41 tour victories…amazing.

Next Week the Solheim Cup will take place in Sugar Grove Illinois. Johnny Goodman will be present with Mrs. Goodman checking out the action as the members of the US team take on the European contingent. This will be my first venture to an international type of tournament and I hope to bring some photos to an article in a couple of weeks.

Cornhusker Football

The family all went to the annual “Fan Day” at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln Nebraska this past week. This is the day where all the players and coaches are available for the mass throngs of husker faithful to sign autographs, take pictures, high five one another … and stand in long long lines. I took my 3 1/2 year old son to this event and he had the time of his life. It is nice to see college athletes taking time to meet the community and sign autographs for the kids. One of the best things at the event was a player who was having each of the kids sign his name sheet which was located on the table in front of him. When I asked him why he was doing this he said ” because one day one of these kids will end up being a college football player … and I can say I have one of their first autographs”

Baseball

The Yankees swept the Red Sox this past weekend to vault into first place in the American League East. Troy Tulowitzki of the Colorado Rockies hit for the cycle … was it preferred scoring on a bobbled ball by Alfonso Soriano … should it have instead been ruled a double with an extra base error …. too late now … but I know the head of The Soap Boxers is happy ….

SuitGate

Too much is being made of the “technology” which is being used to make swimming times faster. The high tech suits allow for easier buoyancy and well as alarmingly faster times. What happened to the good ol days of Mark Spitz and the Moustache? Can we all just wear the trunks and goggles and see who is fastest? I wish tennis would go back to wood rackets as well. It would show who is the most talented, not just necessarily who has the best equipment.

And finally for the parting shot this week. Fantasy Football drafts are just around the corner. Send your thoughts to me here and I will be sure to include any tid bits of your wisdom in a column for next week in the sports wrap up.