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FIRST DOWNS AND SECOND GUESSES

Shatel: Many sports crowds can handle alcohol, but keep it out of Memorial Stadium

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Memorial Stadium

So they want to sell beer at Husker hoops games at Pinnacle Bank Arena? I get it. Don’t think it’s necessary, but I get it. I don’t ever want to see it in Memorial Stadium.

So they want to sell beer at Husker hoops games at Pinnacle Bank Arena? I get it. Don’t think it’s necessary, but I get it.

I don’t ever want to see it in Memorial Stadium.

OK, I fell off the turnip truck, but not yesterday. Can I see a show of hands of Nebraskans who have ever sneaked alcohol into a Husker football game? OK, all 500,000 of you, put your hands down.

It shouldn’t be sold there. It shouldn’t be a part of the stadium, of the experience.

I see college football differently. To that end, I absolutely see Nebraska football through its own prism. And it may be a naive view, but there’s a wholesomeness attached to those games. That shouldn’t be tampered with.

Yes, it’s sold at Creighton men’s basketball games. The Jays crowds at the CenturyLink Center are very well-behaved. I’m sure I will now hear about somebody who once acted up, but generally, CU fans handle it fine and do it right.

The same goes for UNO hockey fans, whether at the Civic Auditorium or CenturyLink. The blood stays on the ice.

Why would football be different? There are more fans, and more emotion, in Memorial Stadium. Alcohol makes that a combustible formula. Football and alcohol are a bad mix. I see it in the NFL, I’ve seen it up close at Arrowhead Stadium. I wouldn’t take my kids to an NFL game. The drunk knucklehead factor is why.

Would a Nebraska football crowd turn NFL ugly? I don’t ever want to find out.

Pinnacle Bank Arena could be another story. I don’t think it’s needed to create atmosphere. PBA had all the atmosphere you could want two years ago when the Huskers went on their run.

Lincoln officials say it would be in the name of concessions revenue. But everyone from the mayor’s office to Shawn Eichorst’s office to the Regents table will be keeping an eye on the PBA turnstiles this year.

You better believe college officials from the Big East to Pac-12 are wondering how they are going to keep seats filled in all sports. Alcohol is a tempting answer.

Even the NCAA has said that it’s a possibility at the College World Series, the ultimate kid/state fair event, to keep up with the times.

If it ends up there, I think the crowds at PBA would handle it, the same way Nebraskans do here in Omaha.

But here’s one good reason not to consider it: Putting alcohol in an NU sports venue might be the first step to selling it in Memorial Stadium. And that can’t ever happen.

» OK, who wants to have breakfast?

The World-Herald is going to host a series of Big Red Today Breakfasts this fall at Anthony’s Steakhouse in Omaha. The events will take place on Thursday (7-8 a.m.) before each Nebraska home game.

Guests include Jeff Kinney, Tom Osborne, Eric Crouch, Joel Makovicka and Jerry Murtaugh, along with various World-Herald football writers. Prizes, including Husker tickets, will be awarded each time, and you can watch the legends set me straight.

The first breakfast is Sept. 3, with Kinney leading off. Tickets ($15 in advance, $20 day of event) can be purchased at Omaha.com/brtbreakfast, or at 402-444-1486 or at Anthony’s at the event.

» The Creighton basketball team is back from Italy, and as sports information director Rob Anderson reports, it’s a small world.

When they weren’t beating up on the local teams, the Jays toured all the hot spots. While at the Vatican, they ran into Nick Kelly, son of World-Herald columnist Mike Kelly. Also there, they saw Adam McDermott, a player at North Dakota and nephew of coach Greg.

Anderson said they also ran into Carrot Top on an airplane to Milan, and now I know what happened to Carrot Top. They also bumped into the Marquette men’s team and women’s teams from Tennessee, Iowa and Clemson. And, Jim Rome’s wife, Janet.

The Jays were celebrities by their height, and folks were amazed when Geoff Groselle and Justin Patton showed their wingspan equaled the size of a smart car. Meanwhile, the locals tried to sell them “selfie sticks.”

If nobody bought one, it’s already a good season.

» I have a lot of fond memories of the Cox Classic, and one of them came on the final day of the 2007 tourney at Champions Run.

Roland Thatcher won the trophy that day. But everyone’s eyes were on a little-known Australian pro who electrified the course with a Sunday 63 and nearly chased down Thatcher.

Of the talented challenger, Thatcher said that day, “The sky’s the limit for him. I’ve watched his work ethic and his game and the results speak for themselves. To be as good as he is, and as young as he is, he has a lot to look forward to.

“The kid’s going to be a world-beater. Already is.”

Jason Day beat the world on Sunday, winning the PGA Championship. He and Zach Johnson are the two best players to come through the Cox Classic.

On that hot July Sunday eight years ago, you could see Day was going to be special. The last line of my column that day: “Save all of your autographs from Sunday. History may show the better man did not win.”

» I’ve got a great promotion idea for Storm Chasers Prez Martie Cordaro. Put up a sign that says, “Alex Gordon and Joba Chamberlain at Werner Park, Sunday at 5 p.m.”

The former Huskers and Lincoln boys are now Storm Chasers, at least for the week, and there’s every chance Gordon’s rehab assignment will have him with Omaha when the Chasers return home on Sunday.

Go with it, Martie. That’s some marketing genius there.

» There’s lip service about Nebraska football tradition and there’s what offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh is doing. Cavanaugh had former NU O-line coach Milt Tenopir talk to his line on Monday night about “what it means to be a Nebraska offensive lineman.”

Cavanaugh also has Tenopir at most practices and they talk about technique, etc.

“He gave me a list of (former Husker) offensive line guys that are local,” Cavanaugh said. “We are going to work it out where those guys can come in here for 20 minutes, talk about what it’s all about. These kids need to know it. They were little whippersnappers back in the day.”

» One more and I’m outta here: School is back (thank goodness) and I have a request. If you see a teacher, tell them thanks. Teachers are underpaid and underappreciated. They are our unsung heroes. Give ’em an apple. Maybe they would prefer a gift card.

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