Unsportsmanlike Conduct

I found this article unfortunate--that Nebraska receiver Niles Paul was heckled by his own fans after NU's 20-13 loss to Texas last weekend.

Nebraska fans are said to be some of the best in college football--it even says so on one of the entrances of Memorial Stadium. But if you need a third-party endorsement, you'll find many. Most recently, after his victory in Lincoln, Texas head coach Mack Brown complimented Nebraska fans. Good sportsmanship is expected of those who wear the scarlet and cream, even by Bo Pelini who has better things to do than worry about his fans.

During the Texas game, TFitch and I had the pleasure of sitting in the burnt orange section. While most of the Longhorns were very nice, the guy next to me was less than. Not only was he obnoxious and drunk (spilling his scotch all over me and his neighbors to boot), he was downright rude. A few comments that I remember him shouting:

"Hey Nebraska. Your "jumbotron" is about as cool as AIDS."
"Nice stadium, Nebraska! We have high school stadiums bigger than this."
"Oh, there's 85,000 people here? I didn't know 85,000 people lived in Nebraska. I know no one makes $85,000 living in Nebraska."

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me...

Did I care he was spewing stupid, obnoxious shit? No. Trust me; none of the lame comments coming out of this one guy's mouth hurt my feelings. But it did interrupt me and distract me from watching the football game. (We watched the second half of the game at a bar, simply because I didn't want to deal with the terrible Texan.)

Let me reiterate one phrase...football game.

It's a sport, people. A sport. A recreational past time. A game, which is by definition "an activity engaged in for diversion and amusement." It's not the whole world. Newsflash: there's more to life than football. Two dear friends (MU fans whom I love dearly) emailed me this week, telling me they were sorry for my loss. My heart started racing for a minute while I figured out what they were talking about. I hadn't heard that since my aunt died. Did someone else pass away and I was the last to know?

Don't get me wrong--I love me some Husker football. I've been affectionately named "Ultimate Husker Fan" by my husband. But does football make me stoop so low as to yell petty comments to opposing fans? No. That I'd remind a player to his face his gloves were made of butter? No. Pretty sure Niles Paul was at the game too.

Remember those people on the field--the ones you're yelling at--were born in 1990. How old, and silly, does that make you feel, to yell at these kids? No one's dying out there. Life WILL go on. Contrary to popular belief, the Huskers leaving the Big 12 is not going to be the end of the world. Maybe put that energy into something a little more meaningful; maybe give that attention to your friends, family or volunteer for an organization. If we all put as much energy into the other aspects of life as we do college football, we'll all walk away with a win.


Southwest Slam Dunk

As a marketer, I'm always looking for effective ways (or non-effective ways) brands reach me. I have high expectations, which is why I was impressed with my Zappos experience last year.

Southwest just broke through the clutter with a Rapid Rewards direct mail piece. I can identify an airline's miles statement immediately, and do you know what I do with them? I don't even open them; I just rip them in half and throw them away. It's either them trying to get me to sign up for their credit card to "earn miles faster!" or some other offer I'm just not interested in. So when this piece landed in my mailbox last week, I was intrigued. It was packaged differently; not just an envelope.

When opened, a pull-out note on top thanked me for my seven years of membership and a personalized luggage tag was on the bottom. 

The piece worked for a few reasons:

1. The packaging was unique and stood out from ordinary mail/envelopes.
2. It was personalized with not only my name, but the number of years of membership.
3. Along the same lines, it was unexpected. Think of big milestones--typically the first or something ending in either a five or a zero. Seven is different. It's thoughtful. It's unique. Kind of like Southwest.
4. It's a nice piece. The luggage tag is something I'll use, and I'm normally not a branded-chotchkie kind of girl.

As marketers, we constantly talk about moving your target audience from awareness to loyalty. From drink tickets to free checked bags to unexpected and personalized customer interactions, Southwest knows how to retain passengers for life...says the girl in 16A.


Thinking of you

I've been thinking about my aunt a lot lately. It's happened the last few times I traveled to Kansas City (where I am now) since this is where I was when I received the news, and the memory of packing up and heading to Omaha in a fury is still fresh. Plus, last weekend we attended the birthday party for three of my cousin's four kids and there was an obvious void from the gathering--their nana.

In the same vein, I think about my cousins and my uncle nearly every day. I wonder how they are doing; how they are coping. We've been getting together a lot--more in the last three months than the last three years combined. Though, even when they are top of mind and I'm right next to them, I don't ask them how they are doing. To me, it's a stupid question. How the hell do you think they're doing? Their mom/wife died. So instead, I avoid it all together. I ask what's going on. I keep it light hearted. I avoid the elephant in the room.

I hate that I do that, but I do. I just don't know what to say; I never have. I know that's not an excuse and that everyone probably feels the same way. I'm going to work on it and try to find the right things to say; the right things to do. In the meantime, I hope my hugs and presence convey to them that they are always in my thoughts. The same goes to my friends who have lost parents--too many friends that have lost parents. I hope you know that you are always on my mind.

If any of my readers have been comforted or comforted others in particular ways, I'd love to know what was said/done as a sign of support.