I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I love it because it’s an unbelievably effective way to stay in touch with friends and see what’s going on with their life. I hate it because much of the time it’s used to show how perfectly wonderful life is when we all know life is not always “Facebook Fun.” It can also keep us from reaching out to our true friends because we have a false sense of knowing what’s going on in their lives due to their recent posts. I can go on for days about the pros and cons, but I’ll hop off the soap box for now.
This post is about how powerful Facebook can be for important events in our lives. On January 2nd, 2017, my alma mater Western Michigan University, played in quite possibly the most important football game in our history. We played against Wisconsin in the 81st annual Cotton Bowl in Dallas, TX. I’ve been fortunate enough to attend a Super Bowl in the past, but I have to say this game, being a former player for the Broncos, topped the Super Bowl for me.
The Broncos had a magical season. They entered the game a perfect 13-0 and unbeaten in their last 15 games spanning two seasons. It was the typical David vs. Goliath story. The MAC vs. the BIG10. While we lost the game, we showed we deserved to be there and, with the exception of a few major mistakes, just ran out of time. Enough about the loss. I might be sick if I write any more about it. I’m so very proud of the team for many reasons this year. They represented the school and their families extremely well.
This is about Facebook and how it played a role in the event. My entire news feed over the weekend was about the Cotton Bowl. People I haven’t seen in years were so excited to be joining the experience. Sharing their journey with other Broncos really gave the sense that the game and trip were as big as we all felt it was.
Broncos from all over the globe were celebrating in Dallas. Families made the trip. Groups of friends made the trip. Many former players made the trip. Even those that couldn’t make the trip were posting photos from their homes about the game experience they were having with their friends and families. It was awesome and shows how people can not only rally around a sport but also stay connected through technology in a positive way.
Finally, Facebook sticks out to me above all else over the past weekend because of our Bronco Football group. There are hundreds of former players in the group and many of them were in Dallas for the game. While we all gravitate towards the guys we played with directly, all of us have a bond that transcends generations of players. And we are rarely, if ever, at a single location in the quantity we were on January 2nd, in Dallas.
We used the FB group to post a quick meetup at half time of Jerry’s World to take some photos and catch up for a bit. I was hoping at least a handful of guys would make it for a few minutes. To my surprise, dozens, maybe hundreds showed up. Players from many decades were there to take photos, talk about how great we used to be, and how amazing the Cotton Bowl experience was for not only the current players but for the old guys like us that shared our Bronco playing days together. After halftime, photos and comments exploded even further and the party continued on after the game.
I was talking with one of the guys about how FB helped make the gathering happen in such an easy way. Getting together like that would have been nearly impossible back in our playing days before cell phones and FB were so prevalent in our daily lives. While sometimes I get frustrated about how connected we need to be all the time, there is no question technology has a major positive impact and this was another example.
Kudos to Mr. Zuckerburg for this one. I’m sure his original intention of FB was not to help a bunch of washed up football players get together to laugh and tell lies. But for that moment in time, I’m glad he decided to change the world from his dorm in Harvard a few years back.
Row the Boat!