We didn’t get as much writing done as we would have liked, partly because the 100 degree heat drove us back to the classroom. But we did some grand exploring. I got to see the places where my students work with their tutors, the various training facilities, and the amazing Heisman Trophy Room (a.k.a the Nebraska Experience Room). The students even led me on a mock tunnel walk onto the football field of Memorial Stadium. It’s always fascinating to me what happens when people get to show their places to others on a writing marathon. It usually helps the “tour guides” re-see the place through newcomers’ eyes and even discover things they had never noticed. Many thanks to my student guides on this sizzling summer session writing marathon!
11:30 a.m. Student Life Complex
Beautiful and gleaming, it’s an amazing place, just as tour guide Graham described it in his last essay. I’m so glad that our athletes are so well looked-after and so-well supported. After hearing about their tightly-scheduled lives and long hours of training, I understand why they benefit from such structured places to help them achieve academically. There is an aura of decorum and hard work carefully maintained throughout the complex. Though the students joked, on entering, about the “no smile” rule, everyone we met seemed cordial (if businesslike).
12:10 Heisman Trophy Room
When students told me, after the previous writing marathon, that they stopped in the Heisman Trophy room, I had pictured a room with trophies. Not the multi-media experience it actually is. Star Trek doors, huge speakers, spotlights, and multiple projectors all work together to showcase three secret panels which swing out, Indiana Jones-style, to reveal the three Heisman Trophies at various points in the video. It feels like something you might see in Las Vegas or Disneyworld, all dazzling and sleek.
I’m so grateful for this tour and the chance to write about these amazing places. I come away from this writing marathon with a much more visceral sense of the lives of the student athletes who’ve been in my classes here at UNL.