This is the time of year that lots of Nebraskans get a little weird because of their hopes for the football season. It really matters to us as a state how Big Red does.
I’ll start with a brief, personal 49-year History of Husker Football. The coach I played for in 1963 maneuvered the Huskers to national prominence. His successor (an assistant) developed stability and excellence and achieved 3 national titles. One of my teammates (an assistant) valiantly tried to continue the tradition but experienced slippage and was removed as coach. An outsider was brought in from the NFL and attempted to remake the program but failed grandly. The current coach is guiding Huskers back on course but it will never be exactly the same as before.
There are times during those five coaching eras when it seemed that the Huskers were as good as they ever could be. Even during mediocre seasons, some of the players were playing as well as any player ever could.
Isn’t that how it is with the life of faith? Especially in the up-times we imagine there must be a way to bookmark what we’re doing and keep it like that always. But often, in the down-times, there are triumphs, and we have that solid feeling that with God’s help it can be done and that’s just fine.
Many Husker fans desperately want the “Glory Years” back; but you can’t go back. Many Christians want their church or Christian experience restored to the way it was how they best remember it.
Over the years I have heard the phrase “You can’t go home again”. Last spring in North Carolina, I learned the fascinating story (especially for English majors) about Thomas Wolfe’s background and why felt he couldn’t return to Ashville.
Wolfe was advised by his mother not to return to Ashville because he named names in Look Homeward Angel. In many cases what he wrote wasn’t complimentary. Eight years later he was greeted as a celebrity and the people who were maddest at him were those not included in his book. His next title was You Can’t Go Home Again. There is wisdom embedded in that phrase.
Don’t try to “go home again”; it’s different now. The Huskers of the 90’s were for that decade; successful Husker football won’t be a clone of the ‘90s. More importantly, who among us would limit God by hoping for the old thing, when God’s new best thing is waiting to become our reality.