Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
Postcards from Omaha: 'The Road to Omaha' statue
"The Road to Omaha" statue is shown outside TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. The statue, dedicated in 1999, has become one of Omaha's most recognizable landmarks.
Editor's Note: As part of our coverage from the College World Series, WholeHogSports will feature a different part of Omaha, Neb., each day.
OMAHA, Neb. — Like any large American city, there are a lot of statues around downtown Omaha.
Many of the statues tell the story of the city's role in developing the American West. A centerpiece of downtown is the Pioneer Courage Park. Outside the city's tallest building is another area of sculptures known as Spirit of Nebraska Wilderness.
There is even a statue of Chef Boyardee.
But the statue known best in Omaha has sat outside its most famous sports venues. "The Road to Omaha" is a sculpture that was dedicated outside Rosenblatt Stadium in 1999, then moved to TD Ameritrade Park when the College World Series left for the new park in 2011.
The 1,500-pound sculpture sits outside the main entrance to the stadium. It was designed and sculpted by Omaha resident John Lajba.
It is meant to represent the spirit of the game - three players hoisting a teammate after a game-winning hit - and not one moment in particular, although the faces of the players are modeled after members of the Creighton team that made the College World Series in 1991. Among those players depicted is Brian O'Connor, who won a national championship as Virginia's head coach in 2015.
The statue is a destination for anyone who makes the journey to the College World Series. Team pictures are taken with the statue as a backdrop, as are thousands of fan photos posted to Instagram.
Two Arkansas fans used the statue as the backdrop for their ballpark wedding prior to the Razorbacks' game against Florida State on Saturday.
If you make it to Omaha, stop by the intersection of Cuming and 13th streets to see the most iconic statue in a city full of them.
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