I am going to go where few moms dare venture by diving into the sacred space known as football post-game analysis.
Did you watch the Nebraska/Texas A&M football game Saturday night? Even if you didn’t, you would have to be living under a rock to have not heard about the crazy series of events that started to unfold right before halftime.
Let me give you a self-proclaimed non-football savvy breakdown of what went down. Husker quarterback Taylor Martinez returns to the field from the locker room after having his ankle checked out by medical staff following a pretty grotesque looking injury. The kid (and, yes, I still consider college-aged men to be kids to a certain degree) is back on the field for mere minutes before the camera catches Bo I-Tend-To-Wear-My-Emotions-On-My-Sleeve Pelini charging at him. And, let me tell you, Coach is ticked off.
The camera chronicles (on national TV, nonetheless) Bo shoving his pointer finger in Taylor’s chest and angrily hurling what appeared to be “constructive criticism” while the kid stares ahead like a deer in headlights. I have got to admit, I was laughing nervously as I watched the mess unfold. Part of me was all kinds of pumped up because I initially thought Bo was yelling at him to get back onto that field and lead his team to victory. The other part of me was looking on squeamishly as I imagined being this kid trying to keep his cool while his coach basically verbally assaulted him for all to witness.
Here’s something else you need to know. Nebraska got bent over by the refs. Nebraska was penalized a school-record 16 times for 145 yards. Texas A&M, on the other hand, was flagged twice for 10 yards. Also, Nebraska couldn’t score to save its life. I assume that all of this contributed to Bo reaching boiling point. And then the unthinkable happened. If the rumors floating around are true, Taylor was basically caught red-handed communicating with his dad from the locker room during the time he was being examined for his injury.
Oh, no, he didn’t. And as a result, Mount Saint Pelini exploded.
As a former college athlete, as well as a mom of kids entering the sports world, I know there is one golden rule: You don’t talk to Dad from the dugout (or locker room, in this case). Coach is your leader during game time and you are expected to block out the rest.
What is interesting for me, though, is that Taylor is part of the Millennial generation, which can be described as those born between the years 1982-2000. I just attended a communication conference last week where I learned that kids in this generation have “helicopter parents,” a term coined to describe the way Mom and Dad tend to hover over them. Millennials grew up with the Internet, picture phones, texting and social media.
So, prior to this generation, there was really no way for player and dad to communicate mid-game other than dad screaming from the sidelines. Makes you wonder if Bo’s little episode is a reflection of the way times are changing.
I am not about to claim sides on this debate. I personally don’t know Bo, so I refuse to call him a rage-oholic. I also don’t know Taylor, so who am I to judge how he handled adversity? What I do know is there is a lot that takes place behind the scenes that viewers aren’t aware of in the 3-4 hours they are camped in front of their TVs. I don’t suit up in pads so you will never hear me utter the phrases, “WE should have won,” or “Our offense needs to wake up.” (Subtle hint to annoying family members and coworkers.)
Seriously, people. These are teenagers and kids in their early 20s. Not everyone grows up in front of thousands of screaming fans. The lucky ones do, but sometimes at a price.
I am honestly interested in hearing what your take is on this post-game analysis.