By Randy York
One of the best things about Nebraska winning a Big Ten Conference volleyball championship this week is the credibility that comes with it, not only nationally and within its new league, but also right here in the great state of Nebraska. The timing could not have been better for Josh Hingst, who will take a 7½ -minute nutrition-themed video to a Lincoln elementary school on Tuesday to begin a yearlong campaign designed to piggyback on an NFL-endorsed campaign called Fuel Up to Play 60. That well-supported program encourages youth across the country to eat better and to exercise for 60 minutes every day possible.
Hingst, Nebraska's director of Sports Nutrition, uses a celebrity-heavy video to kick off his pep talks - Nebraska AD Tom Osborne, NFL All-Pro Ndamukong Suh, Husker All-American Prince Amukamara, NU all-time tackle leader Barrett Ruud, Olympic high jumper Dusty Jonas and women's basketball star Dominique Kelley. But with all due respect to every high-powered name, Husker volleyball might deliver the biggest punch because it includes a video trifecta of head coach John Cook and former players Laura (Pilakowski) Buttermore and Tara Mueller.
"I have great passion for nutrition," Cook said, adding that the Huskers consider dining at one of the nation's best training tables every day as part of their ultimate edge on the court. In the video, Cook talks about how he begins every meal with a bowl of spinach salad and how he ends each meal at the fruit bar instead of having dessert. Hingst made sure that Cook delivered the video's final punchline. "If you want to dare to be great and want to be the best," he said, "nutrition needs to be an important part of your life."
A two-time AVCA All-American at Nebraska and a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-American, Buttermore is now the Huskers' volleyball strength and conditioning coach. She talks about the importance of eating asparagus and green beans and strawberries and apples and staying active in any kind of exercise. Mueller, a first-team All-Big 12 player, second-team AVCA All-American and the Most Outstanding Player in the 2008 NCAA Regional, mentioned how eating broccoli and vegetables every day enabled her to envision soaring high above the net so she could compete against the best players in the country. That '08 regional in Seattle was one of Nebraska's signature volleyball moments, and you can bet that whenever little girls across the state watch this motivating video, who knows? Maybe they'll ask their moms to cook some broccoli, so they, too, can dream about soaring above the net.
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