The closest I’ve ever been to Jack Hoffman was during one of the greatest moments in Nebraska football history. Watching him score a touchdown to end the 2013 Red-White Spring Game is easily one of the best things I’ve experienced in my lifetime.
I considered myself a part of Team Jack well before that day, but that moment solidified everyone who claimed to be a part of it. It went beyond Nebraska fans. It went global.
Then something even better happened. Hoffman went into remission. I did a fistpump, I posted the news to Reddit, I yelled it from the rooftops. This news couldn’t be shared enough.
Finally, with a little luck, Jack could get on with his life.
Fast forward to today. I felt sick. That kind of illness where it feels like there’s lead in your gut and your throat closes up. Jack’s father Andy delivered the news that his son was no longer in remission.
This is my letter to Jack Hoffman:
Every day when I sit down and go to work, I have several helmets, both mini and regular-sized above my computer. I have autographs from people I admire and my favorite hat. I also have the rookie card Upper Deck made for you.
That card is a constant reminder of your struggles and your fight. I know you’ve been told it a lot, but you inspire me. You inspire millions.
I can’t begin to imagine the road that you’re about to face yet again, but I’ve seen strength in you that I didn’t see in the best of Nebraska pipelines.
You’ve been guttier than any facemask-crushing fullback and braver than the punt returner who gets drilled again and again but comes back for more before eventually taking one to the house.
I’ve seen Herbie Husker change as I’ve grown up and I saw the birth of Lil’ Red. Quite frankly, Jack, I think it’s you that is not only the mascot of Nebraska football, but the Nebraska Cornhuskers and what the program stands for.
I can be selfish at times and if I had my way, you’d be out in Memorial Stadium leading “Husker Power” chants, but I know that’s not your thing.
As a journalist, I have to be objective in what I see, be willing to call good things good and bad things bad. I have to be professional and not show bias. However, I must admit that I am slightly flawed in that respect.
I openly root for a team that has repeatedly gone undefeated and will continue to make the opposition look the fool. I do so unapologetically.
It has the best mascot, the best jersey, every aspect of it is divine.
I root for Team Jack and it will never, ever lose.
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