Dealing with loss is a mountain everybody must traverse throughout various periods in their life. The peaks offer solace and clarity, the valleys offer discord and turmoil. Although we know this to be true, when tragedy strikes us personally, no amount of encouragement or comforting metaphors can ease the pain. With that being said, I can assure you, we will make it over this mountain. Together.
In 2016, Nebraska and Minnesota collectively lost something very near and dear to them, the 5 Dollar Bits of Broken Chair Trophy. Although this trophy was still in its infancy, it managed to captivate the hearts of two great fan bases. But before we continue, I ask you to please join me in a moment of silence.
Don’t Cry Because It’s Over, SMILE Because It Happened. -Dr. Seuss
Thank you. I know it is hard for everyone to be here and discuss the life of the 5 Dollar Bits of Broken Chair. Although this article is not easy to take in… or write, it wouldn’t be right for us to bottle up our emotions and let something so important to just dissolve into the afterlife. The Chair deserves more than that and we owe it to ourselves to make its legacy eternal.
Now this story is not all sad, it is not all doom and gloom. First, let us reflect on a happier time, a time when two Twitter handles would inadvertently create something that would take on a life of its own.
The year was 2014 when an unassuming little varmint from Minnesota put his little paws to work, tweeting at the notorious Bo Pelini parody account, Fauxpelini. The first correspondence between Goldy Gopher and FauxPelini would be the catalyst for a college football trophy not created by corporate sponsorship or disconnected administrators, but one created by the internet.
Fauxpelini would respond with a fair counteroffer.
There is something to be said about watching two great thought leaders work out a deal right before our eyes.
Established through years of selective breeding, Goldy Gopher used his unparalleled woodworking skills to create this piece. That lovable little gopher stayed true to his word and the battle for the Five Dollar Bits of Broken Chair was born.
In 2014, the Five Dollar Bits of Broken Chair graced the sidelines of Memorial Stadium for the first and only time. It was a sight to behold. There was a buzz in the air as 90,000 plus gathered around the field to see the newest member of the Big Ten Trophy family. There was a football game that day as well, but this is just a mere coincidence. Although the Chair was an unofficial trophy, a black sheep of the Big Ten so to speak, it commanded the respect of all who laid eyes on it.
In the first competition for the right to posses the chair on November 22, 2014, Minnesota upset Nebraska in Lincoln 28-24. It was a devastating loss to the Huskers. Adding insult to injury, the chair had to leave Lincoln for the season.
Minnesota claimed their award and displayed it with great pride. Like a haughty king returning after a victorious battle, Goldy was seen parading the fruits of their labor in front of the student section at a Minnesota basketball game.
This display would resonate throughout the realm of the Big Ten. Within a fortnight, the halls of Memorial Stadium would echo with whispers of Goldy’s boisterous actions. King Riley and his commanders took action, creating a battle plan to ensure the chair would be returned to its rightful place. On October 17, 2015, the Huskers carried out their mission, defeating the gophers in their territory 48-25. Upon his arrival back to the homeland, Riley revealed the chair was safe and sound.
The order was restored, a trophy returned. However, dark times would soon follow.
After the 2016 meeting between Minnesota and Nebraska, with the Huskers winning 24-17, there was a disconcerting feeling working its way throughout the stadium. The chair was missing. Could the trophy’s absence be attributed to both universities trying to protect it from the common folk? Maybe a backroom transition was in place as the chair had gained so much notoriety? Sadly, neither of these speculations of nobility were true.
The trophy had been killed. Wiped from the history books. When questioned about the coveted chair, Minnesota and Nebraska university officials tried to deny the trophy ever existed.
TheDailyGopher- After the Nebraska Cornhuskers’ 24-17 victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers last week, you may have noticed the absence of the $5 Bits of Broken Chair Trophy — the infamous rivalry trophy created by Goldy Gopher, Faux Pelini, and the Internet.
It’s because the trophy never existed, according to an official at Minnesota.
“It was just a social media thing. There never was a trophy to begin with,” University of Minnesota official said.
93.7 The Ticket in Lincoln is reporting that both athletic departments are disavowing the rivalry trophy altogether, even going so far as to pretend it never existed. The station evidently reached out to officials from both universities and received the same response in regards to status of the Broken Chair: “What trophy?”
Never existed? We have photos, we have twitter threads, players and coaches holding the trophy and posting it on official university accounts and the chair never existed? Right…
It is one thing to kill something we hold so dear, it is another to deny it’s existence. That is something I will not stand for.
It is reasonable to believe the University of Nebraska assassinated the trophy in an attempt completely remove Bo Pelini’s name from anything related to the football program. After all, Fauxpelini was the co-creator of the trophy. But what is Minnesota’s motive? It just doesn’t add up. I have no answers for this mystery, but what I do have is my brain and internet research.
Now I understand that the trophy might be somewhat low-brow for the likes of the Big Ten. A conference that creates trophies out of thin air, a la the Heroes Trophy and the Freedom Trophy. Both were created almost immediately after Nebraska joined the Big Ten.The Heroes Trophy, brought you by Hy-Vee Grocery Stores –where you can find all the freshest produce and goods at a fair low price, a helpful smile in every aisle– is played for by Nebraska and Iowa and the Freedom Trophy is between Nebraska and Wisconsin. Because we all know the key to a great rivalry is faking it. That is not to say that Iowa and Wisconsin are not rivals thus far either, it is just not to the point where winning a fabricated trophy means anything.
The Five Dollar Bits of Broken Chair meant something. It was the first of its kind. A trophy created by the internet, for the internet. I don’t know where the remains of the chair are, but I’d like to think that its spirit rests in the clouds above of Memorial Stadium watching the masses it once captivated.
And so the story must end. We have come to the part of this article that is the most difficult, saying farewell. I know how much this trophy meant to every single one of us and I will not rest until justice is served. I can promise you that. But until then, let us make piece with the reality that is before us.
Five Dollar Bits of Broken Chair,
You were crafted from the finest wood available at the time by the University of Minnesota, but you found a home in Lincoln, Nebraska. Although very tiny and not practical for actual use, you supported the weight of the University of Nebraska in other ways. We will miss you and the box you were displayed on, but we know you are happy and free now.
May we cross paths in another life.
Goodbye my friend.