Everyone Has A Story To Tell

JEFF color

I had a reality check not long ago, reminding me why I got into this business. And for that, I thank the Busch family of Creighton, Nebraska.

When I started my career at the Omaha World-Herald, it was common when visiting someone’s home to see a newspaper clipping about a family member or  friend hanging on the refrigerator or bulletin board. As the industry moved away from print, and stories seem to appear and disappear from your mobile device seemingly by the hour, hanging a newspaper clipping about a loved-one on the fridge seems to have gone the way of the typewriter.

I sat in a lot of kitchens and saw a lot of clippings over the years. The experience always reminded me how important the stories were that my colleagues and I told. It was always rejuvenating.   

The Busch family brought that feeling back to me — with an extra helping of nostalgia — when I visited them for a story in this edition about their son and brother, Bill, written by Jansen Coburn.

And it reminded me why it’s important to put down the phone, forget the email and go out and make visits in person.

I drove the 170 miles to  Creighton to photograph and visit with Ron and Sharon Busch, the parents of Nebraska’s new special teams coach. As soon as I stepped foot in their home, I was greeted with the smells of freshly baked bread and brownies and welcomed with big smiles and firm handshakes.

The proud father and old coach Ron; Sharon, his wife of 66 years; and daughter, Tammy Schindler, were there to greet me and tell their stories about Bill.  We sat in the family room decorated with photos of Bill’s many stops through the years; photos of grandchildren and lots of Husker memorabilia from the years Bill previously was with the Huskers. In one corner were autographed footballs from both Ron’s and Bill’s coaching careers.

The conversation was not all about football. I learned how Ron enjoys hunting pheasants with his grandchildren and that fishing was a lifelong pursuit. Master angler certificates framed and hanging on the wall were proof.  

Sharon and Tammy beamed as Ron told stories about his 45 years of coaching high school football in Nebraska and about his son, Bill. At one point during our visit, Tammy said, “Dad, I have never heard that story.” 

The 90 minutes flew by. At the end of our visit, I was invited to stay for lunch, which Sharon had prepared, and I left with a pan of homemade brownies and was thanked by everyone for making the “long drive” from Omaha to visit. 

As I drove back, I ate Sharon’s brownies and reveled in the reminder of why taking the time to let people tell their stories is important and how good it made me feel to make new friends and learn more about people from our great state.

Thank you for the great visit, Ron, Sharon and Tammy. I won’t soon forget it.

* * *

A quick football schedule update: Nebraska will face Rutgers in a Friday night game Oct. 7.  The last Friday night game the Huskers played was also against the Scarlet Knights on Dec. 18, 2020. The game will be played in Piscataway, N.J.  Kickoff has not been set.

* * *

As winter sports wind down, Husker men’s basketball continues to struggle, but Fred Hoiberg and Co. did manage to win their first Big Ten game by beating Minnesota. It will be interesting to see if Trev Alberts makes any changes to Hoiberg’s contract like he did with Scott Frost’s or if the program will be looking for a new coach at the end of the season.

Amy Williams’ women’s basketball team continues to have success.  Lincoln native Alexis Markowski continues to be a shining star and has been named Big Ten Freshman of the Week six times. The Huskers, who blasted No. 5 Indiana in the middle of February, are putting together a nice resume for the Big Dance.  Shawn Ekwall has a story about Alexis growing up and how her father, former Husker basketball player Andy Markowski, helped teach her the game.

* * *

Spring football practice starts late February. We are all excited to see how the changes within the coaching staff as well as the addition of all the new players plays out. In this edition, look for Mike’l Severe’s breakdown of each new player and Steve Beideck’s analysis of each position.    

* * *

As always, thank you for being loyal readers of Huskers Illustrated.  If you have any story ideas you would like to share, feel free to email me at jbundy@smithkroeger.com.

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