College traditions, especially when they come to sports, are so important. Penn State’s White Out, Virginia Tech Enter Sandman, and the Jump Around at Wisconsin are some of the most well-known of these traditions. Players and fans alike latch onto these rituals and it helps to unify the school in a way that is easy for everyone to be involved.
Nebraska implemented a tradition in the 1960s where at home games red balloons are handed out to fans and following the first Nebraska touchdown, everyone releases their balloons.
The administration at the school just announced that this year they will not be handing the balloons out as a result of a helium shortage. Russia is one of the world’s top helium exporters and because of the war with Ukraine, sanctions have been placed on Russia making the helium too expense to justify buying just to release the balloons.
The helium will instead be going to the University’s Medical Center, to be used for medicinal purposes.
This isn’t the first time there has been controversy around this tradition, as people have protested against balloons being released saying it is damaging to the environment.
It is sad to see this tradition go, even if it is only temporary. I’m sure the University and gameday staff will come up with a cool alternative, they have already announced they are looking into ways to keep the tradition alive in a more digital way. Man I can’t wait for college football season again.