The only guaranteed bet in sports is that we’ll all see our last game someday.
But maybe Milton Munson found some poetic overtime in the afterlife.
His obituary didn’t ask members of his favorite team to be pallbearers “so they could let him down one last time.” Families of departed fans have already covered that bittersweet humor in memorials.
Milton’s sons Todd and Troy Munson asked for something else on behalf of their father.
When Hastings, NE, residents turned to the most popular page in any small-town newspaper they found Milton’s life story and read:
In lieu of flowers please place an irresponsibly large wager on Nebraska beating Iowa.
In the spirit of the Munson family’s wishes …
Iowa at Nebraska odds for Milton Munson: Oct. 29, 1948 — Nov. 16, 2021
If we may delicately dispatch some additional memorial wagering details, the point spread fluctuated since the first lines came out a week ago. It was a pick ’em right before Iowa kept Illinois at a distance and right before Nebraska put a 35-28 scare into Wisconsin.
Milton Munson would have hated news that Adrian Martinez sustained a shoulder injury. The Cornhuskers starting quarterback will miss the Heroes Game. The injury shifted odds toward the Hawkeyes, but they’re now back to nearly even again. An unseen tug perhaps?
It’s safe to assume Milton’s friends and family will watch BTN at 12:30 p.m. on this deeper shade of Black Friday. They’ll want to see how their “irresponsibly large wager” pays off.
Nebraska has yet to lock in its sports betting policies but Hastings is about 200 miles west of Iowa’s western border. Once Milton’s supporters geo-locate on the east side of the Missouri River, they should be able to carry out the family’s wishes. Council Bluffs has three casinos if they’d like to bet as a group and make a toast to Milt, as he was known by his friends.
Munson joined his Huskers in ups and downs
Todd Munson is a writer in Los Angeles and shared his father’s obituary on Twitter. Troy is a neurosurgeon in Des Moines and helped with the information. Condolences also go out to Milton’s sisters in Nebraska, Arvelyn Loudon of Hastings and Peggy Feik of Grand Island.
Todd and Troy were candid about their father’s struggles in the memorial. Todd tweeted that he hadn’t seen or spoken with his father for about 20 years.
“Around the time the Huskers were jobbed by the refs against Penn State in 1982, the effects of bipolar disorder and addiction began to take hold on Milt and would profoundly affect him for the rest of his life.”
Milton’s game of life had some memories and accomplishments too. He graduated from Creighton University with a doctor of pharmacy degree. He also served our country at Hickham Air Force Base in Honolulu during the Vietnam War.
His sons remember their dad’s secret fishing spots for trophy bass. He was fond of Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry movies and a slice of pie from a local pizza place.
Milton’s time in Las Vegas may inform the Iowa-Nebraska wager request. Milton also lived in Columbia, MO; Hot Springs, SD and Kalispell, MT.
But Nebraska — the team and the state — always pulled him back.
“The grim reality of the Nebraska Cornhuskers finishing yet another season with a losing record proved to be too much to bear,” the Munson brothers wrote.
“He’d seen enough of this world during the team’s recent bye week. The Huskers may not have sent him into the afterlife with a victory but at least they didn’t lose.
“And sometimes, that’s the best you can hope for.”