Saturday, April 06, 2013

Jack Hoffman, the Husker Hero of the 2013 Spring Game

Not since Cory Schlesinger rolled into the end zone in the 1995 Orange Bowl has a touchdown moved me like the last, but greatest, touchdown of Nebraska's spring game. Jamal Turner's last second touchdown against Michigan State certainly was big. Ndamukong Suh's touchdown return against Colorado rattled every joint in Memorial Stadium.  Eric Crouch's "Black 41 Flash Reverse Pass" did the same.

But they didn't hit you in the heart like Schlesinger's run.  That touchdown put Nebraska in the lead in a place where Husker fans had felt nothing but pain for well over twenty years. You just knew that when Nebraska took that lead, this was going to be different, and that Tom Osborne would finally have that national championship that had eluded him for so many years.  The demons of 1983 and 1993 were exorcised as the Miami beast went down in Nebraska's house of horrors, and the emotions just flowed on that night.  That touchdown was different.

And that's what Jack Hoffman's 69 yard run did to me. Watching 100 college students yield the field to let a 7 year old boy battling brain cancer take the spotlight...yeah, that was special. It's been a busy week for #TeamJack.  Wednesday, the Hoffman's updated Jack's Caring Bridge site with the following update:

Today, we celebrate God's graciousness as another MRI revealed that the tumor is again stable to even slightly smaller.  Stability is success.  Shrinkage is a bonus.  All doctors agree that today's MRI, as compared to last April, reveals that the tumor has shrunk substantially.  

And what a way to celebrate that good news. It gave you goosebumps if you had the privilege of watching it in persons, and now the nation is now sharing in the story as it crashes into the Final Four.

If you are cynical, you could point out that it was just a meaningless scrimmage filled with gimmick events (offensive linemen fielding punts?)  But how cynical can you be after you see this?
Just look at what it means to the Hoffman family, and how it's going to impact their campaign to raise funds to help fight pediatric brain cancer.

What about the rest of the spring game? I have a few thoughts, but those are for another day. Tonight, I just want to reflect on a very special day.

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