A couple of weeks ago, we were in Chicago. While we were at bag claim, I recognized six Nebraska Football players standing there. I told Shelly their names, where they were from, their position, and year in school. She asked if I wanted a picture with them and I said “No, I’m not in to that sort of thing”*. I went to go get the bags. As I turned around, I saw my wife rounding them up, telling them how big a fan I am, and getting them ready for a picture with me. I was embarrassed slightly, especially when Shelly told them to give me a “noogie” on top of my head! Anyway, it was fun to get the picture and look at a group of kids that looked like they had the world at their feet. They were getting ready for their senior season of college football and in town for Big Ten Media Days. They were a picture of happiness. Little did they know that they wouldn’t be attending Big Ten Media Days and that they would return home the next day. Their good friend and teammate, Nebraska punter Sam Foltz, was killed in a car accident that night.
The words “Nebraska senior” and “sudden death” sting in a way I really understand. I wish I could hug each one of them, and I certainly pray for all of them. I was reminded of all who have been there for us and how we need to be there for others each day. Cherish each moment and live with a positive attitude. The priest at Sam Foltz funeral lightened things up at the end by suggesting that the team could honor Sam Foltz by never needing to punt this season!
As for me, carrying this grief around is getting freakin’ old! It gets real heavy over time. I’m making personal concerted effort to be lighter and more fun. Shelly says I just need to decide to do it. Speaking of fun, did you hear Steve’s backyard party is coming up on August 27th? Come on over, and I’ll buy you a cold one!
*Deep down, I not only wanted their picture with me, I wanted some of their gear and to talk about the season, how they like coach Riley, and on and on!
-Dr. Michael Hurt, CMO