Today's Nebraska spring game was cancelled, and frankly, I have no problem with it whatsoever. It was absolutely the correct decision to make. There was no way that a scrimmage could have been played at Memorial Stadium today. Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald reported that there was about 100 minutes between visible lightning strikes around Memorial Stadium, starting shortly after the cancellation was official. Considering the time it would take to get the players warmed up and waiting an appropriate time following the last lightning strike, how much football could have been played? Maybe one quarter? Maybe?
We left Lincoln around 1:30 and it absolutely poured almost the entire way home. Judging from the storm movements on the radar, I assume that the deluge didn't let up at the stadium...even though the lightning may have. If it were a real game, one could make the argument that the game could have been played in a monsoon. Certainly didn't stop the 2009 Monsoon at Missouri game down in Columbia. But if you remember that game, the weather was the second biggest factor in that game - other than Ndamukong Suh. But for a scrimmage, the risk to players playing in a monsoon was too high. And with the lightning, impossible.
We had our tickets in hand, but we never made it closer to the stadium than the Hy-Vee on North 27th street. We got a late start going to Lincoln due to another function, we thought we were on target to make it on time for a great family outing to watch some football...but as we approached Lincoln, the rain began to fall and the traffic came to a standstill. An accident, almost certainly the result of the rain, snarled traffic on the Interstate between Greenwood and Waverly, and we were stuck in traffic for nearly 45 minutes. At first, I thought we were going to miss most of the first quarter...but after turning the radio over to the pregame show, I realized that conditions were even worse in Lincoln. No need to hurry.
So we stopped at Hy-Vee to get the kids a break, which is where we learned that the game was not going to be played today. I didn't have a problem with it. Even if it wasn't dangerous, it would have been miserable to sit through. I was still holding out hope the game could be rescheduled to tomorrow; the weather is supposed to be fine, if not a little windy. But the players had issues with playing tomorrow and that made a postponement unpractical from their perspective. Next weekend? The problem with that is that the NCAA only allows teams 15 spring practices, and the Huskers have already used all of them. So if they tried to play next weekend, they'd play it without any practice for a week. Not a good idea either.
Could they have moved the game to the Hawks Practice Facility, set up the BTN cameras, and play the game indoors on TV? That really was the only way it could have happened, but what was the point of that? The spring game is for the fans. It's for fans to get together, and families to share the day.
Should fans get a refund? In an ideal world, yes...but the logistics of refunding the tickets make that impossible. Even though the game wasn't played, almost all of the expenses of the game were incurred. The stadium was staffed, and concessions were prepared. The fans that did make it to the stadium and waited it out got all the free food they could carry apparently. (If it wasn't for the threat of even more severe weather, it was tempting to head down to pick up some freebies. We had a cooler to help us get it home... :-)
So instead, I can exchange it for a baseball game. It's something to consider for next weekend, if the weather is better. It's better than nothing, and frankly, it'll be more fun than sitting outside in the rain with two young children.
But what about football fans, who wanted to judge the progress of the team for themselves? I wanted to see Mohammed Seisay and Taariq Allen, for example. Is this Tyler Wullenwaber really as fast as they say. Is Sean Fisher back to 100%? Here's one thought. The coaching staff films practices and scrimmages; put together a highlight package from the practices. Use it for the Bo Pelini show and Big Red Wrapup. Put it on BTN and Huskers.com as well. Let us see what some of these players have done so far. It's not the same as a spring game, but it's better than nothing.