First Obama, Then A Pleasanter Subject, Sports

This week, a look at the performance of President Barack Obama, then total concentration on the world of sports, including a look at Creighton University and University of Nebraska at Omaha athletic challenges and the USGA Senior Open tournament this week at the Omaha Country Club

Finally, a look at the black uniform which the Nebraska Cornhuskers are going to wear for the UCLA game next fall—and hopefully only for the UCLA game.

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Was 3-Percentage Point Win A Mandate
To Obama To Rule As He Pleases?

Does President Obama feel his three percentage point victory last November was a mandate to rule as he pleases if he can’t win two-house Congressional authorization for his proposals?  Proposals like promoting wind and solar power in a way that would require shutting down many coal-powered electricity-generating plants (including two which are the principal sources of electricity supplied by the Omaha Public Power District).

Obama described his fight-climate-change campaign (which pushes wind and solar power as alternatives to coal-powered electricity generating plants) as a make-or-break political issue.  He urged every American voter to insist that candidates at every political level make a pledge to resist climate change “as a prerequisite for your vote.”

Best Course:  No Lock-Step Voting

As I see it, such single-issue political extremism, urging every American voter to march in lock step on any given issue, is an insult to the American tradition that truth often will be found in listening to competing voices from which will come finally a policy calculated to best represent the views of the majority, while still recognizing minority interests and needs.

And when and why did Obama become such a zealot for “gay rights” that he—almost incredibly—opened his supposed good will tour of Africa by what amounted to lecturing the president of Senegal who, like the overwhelming majority of his constituents and residents of other African countries, considers homosexuality a crime?

In a press conference shortly after his arrival in Senegal, Obama offered remarks which were interpreted as urging Senegal to follow America’s lead in regard to recognizing “gay rights.”  Senegal’s president Macky Sall replied that although his country is “very tolerant” it needs time to digest the issue without pressure.  Crowds of Senegal cheered their president.

Welcoming “Gays’ Makes Military ‘Much Stronger’?

Still on the subject of “gay rights”:

As I see it, Nebraska’s Chuck Hagel, in his role as Secretary of Defense, went a long step farther than he needed to in not only recognizing “gay rights” but also asserting that allowing “gays” to serve openly “with full honor, integrity and respect…makes our military and our nation stronger, much stronger.”

It is one thing to welcome homosexuals and lesbians, without any discrimination or restrictions, as members of the armed forces.

As I see it, it is quite another thing to assert that their service without discrimination “makes our nation stronger, much stronger.”

Hagel’s remarks were made at a Pentagon reception which he hosted in recognition of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Month.

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Golf Open Enhances City, State Images;
Bluejays And Mavericks Seek To Step Up

The biggest sports news being made this week in Nebraska, of course, is the nationally-spotlighted (there will be some overseas interest, too) USGA Seniors Golf Championship Tournament being played at the Omaha Country Club.

No reason to repeat here any of the details which have been so splendidly covered by The World-Herald.  But it is certainly appropriate to acknowledge the favorable attention which the tournament is bringing Omaha’s and Nebraska’s way.  Another example of our city and state as splendid hosts of national sporting events including the College World Series, the Olympic swimming trials and now the Senior Men’s Open.

The Senior Open project has involved literally years of effort by a hardcore of OCC members and civic leaders, joined in recent months and during the tournament itself by a horde of volunteers and willing recruits who play important roles in management of the course—no small task when some 30,000 or more spectators are on the grounds.

A good many people deserve a good deal of credit for Omaha’s and Nebraska’s place this week in the world golf spotlight, but I think all hands would agree that special thanks must go to Patrick Duffy, an OCC member who has led the long and successful effort to bring the Senior Open to Omaha with the prospect of attracting record-breaking crowds and a good deal of favorable attention to our city and state.

Bluejays Have A Challenge

As to the Creighton Bluejays:  The World-Herald recently did its second major, campus-by-campus, examination of the company that the Bluejay basketball team will be joining in the reorganized Big East conference.  The headline read:  “How a mid-major program in Omaha made it to the big time.”

I believe the Bluejays have been given a chance to prove they belong in the basketball big time, in a conference with such members as Georgetown (five Final Four appearances, national champions in 1984); Marquette (three Final Four appearances, 1977 national championship) and Villanova (four Final Four appearances, 1985 national championship).

Except for Xavier, each of the other schools—Butler, DePaul, St. Johns, Seton Hall—have all made Final Four appearances, and Butler has twice played for the national championship.  The tenth school—Xavier—has reached the “Sweet Sixteen” round.

Creighton is the only conference member that has not advanced as far as the 16-team round.

It is a great opportunity for Creighton to advance to national stature in basketball and, more importantly, to spread the story of Creighton as a top-level educational institution located in a city which also has much to offer.

But it is an opportunity, not yet a “big time” accomplished fact.

UNO Last Season Results Hold Promise?

Turning next to Athletic Director Trev Alberts’ second, much more optimistic look at the University of Nebraska at Omaha Mavericks’ second year in the Division I Summit Conference.

The second look, reported in a typically friendly World-Herald story, followed by a few days a considerably less positive appraisal by Alberts in a World-Herald story.

Why the change?  One can speculate that someone decided that the more optimistic look at the second year in the Summit Conference would be more likely to encourage the very substantial private contributions which will be necessary to fund UNO’s ambitious plans for a multi-purpose arena to be built towards the southern edge of the UNO campus.

Take a look at some of the second-year results and decide for yourself whether you feel they were so positive that they point the way to success in the Mavericks’ continuing Summit Conference membership:

Men’s basketball, Summit Conference results last season were 6-10, good for sixth place.  Overall men’s basketball results 11-20.

Turning to sports which draw smaller crowds and are not expected to be moneymakers:

Women’s basketball 17-11 overall, 7-9 in the Summit Conference.  Men’s soccer, 5-10-1 overall, 3-3 and a tie for a fourth in the Summit.  Women’s soccer:  3-15 overall, 3-5 good for seventh place in the Summit.

Women’s softball:  36-7 overall, 14-3 good for second place in the Summit.  Women’s volleyball:  6-22 overall, 1-15 good for ninth place in the Summit.

The hockey team, which used to be the Mavericks big money-maker, is a member of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.  The hockey team had a disappointing 19-18 season and failed to make the conference championship playoff series.

Let me finish the Maverick/Summit league discussion with a pop quiz:  Name all the teams in the Summit Conference.

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‘Go Big Black’?  No Way

Now as to those black jerseys which the Nebraska Cornhuskers will wear—in sort of a trial run—in the UCLA game September 14.

Take a look at The World-Herald drawing of a Cornhusker in black jersey.  Then compare it with the picture of Taylor Martinez in a game last year playing in the more traditional red-dominated uniform.

I rest my case against the black jersey, without going into detail about its contrast with the “Go Big Red” trademark chant and the predominance of red and white in all of the colors traditionally surrounding the Huskers.

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