The second most common question I get when I tell people I’m from Omaha (right after “Where is that?”) is “Oh, Nebraska! You must be a Huskers fan!”
Well, no, I’m not. In fact, until last week the only time I’d ever been to Memorial Stadium was for their marching band expo. But that’s not an unreasonable assumption to make- as a state with no NFL, NBA, or MLB teams and a weird abundance of beef cattle and corn, what else is going to bring us together besides our college football team?
My family held out against the Big Red tide for a while, but four years ago my football-loving sister Becca committed to University of Nebraska, Lincoln and, consequently, the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
(Just in case any of you have snide comments about the name “Cornhuskers,” I would like to remind you that they were formerly known as the Bugeaters so we’re really making some progress.)
Now I don’t really care about football, college or otherwise, but I agreed to go to the Nebraska-Iowa game last Friday with Becca, and I am here to say that every story, anecdote, fun fact, and assertion about seeing the Huskers play at Memorial Stadium is 100% true.
Specifically, let’s address the “sea of red.” For those of you who aren’t familiar, the sea of red refers to the crowd at every Huskers game. The “red” part you can probably infer on your own, because people tend to wear their team’s color to a game, but it’s the “sea” part that makes it something special. Memorial Stadium has sold out every game since 1962 (which is a NCAA record), so when you look out at the stands, you don’t just see people wearing red, you see an impenetrable mass of football fans with less than an inch of elbow room on every side all wearing red.
It looks damn cool in a photograph, but imagine actually being in that sea of red. Every article of red clothing stands for a Huskers lava lamp in their basement, a bumper sticker on their car, a secret Nebraska N tattoo, and a fan who adamantly, sometimes foolishly, believes in and loves their team. Even though it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me personally, it’s impressive and thrilling to be a part of.
The game I went to was especially exciting, because it was not only the last game of the season, but also against the Huskers’ biggest rival: the Iowa Hawkeyes. We have a saying here in Nebraska that goes like this: You know why it’s so windy in Nebraska? Because IOWA SUCKS.
So this was the general attitude of the sea of red.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for this sentiment to be rivaled by another, more disappointing one that sounded kind of like, “WHY IS TOMMY ARMSTRONG BETTER AT THROWING INTERCEPTIONS THAN PASSING TO HIS OWN TEAM?!”
Yes, you college football fans out there are probably aware that the Nebraska quarterback threw not one, not two, not even three, but four interceptions in the course of this game. I don’t follow football at all and even I know that’s pathetic. I’m pretty sure the Hawkeyes named him their MVP of the game.
In addition to some poor play calling and Tommy Armstrong’s inability to “read the field” (source: the roughly 62 times Becca yelled this during the game), it was cold out. So cold that all of the figurative language I’m inclined to use include words I’m not particularly keen on any future employers or my mom reading on my blog. So that was cool.
All in all, the weather was miserable and the Huskers lost to Iowa. I cannot stress to you how deep that cuts. In spite of this, we had a great time wrapped in the warm glow of friendship, camaraderie, and our mutual hatred for our eastern neighbors. Plus they played two Imagine Dragons songs and one by Kongos. So thanks for the experience, Becca. I hope you had as much fun as I did.