In no particular order …
- The fresh-faced, preteen kids hawking Valentino’s pizza, Runzas, and Fairbury hotdogs along the concourse at Memorial Stadium every home game Saturday.
- Duh … the Valentino’s pizza, Runzas, and Fairbury hotdogs, eaten on a crisp fall afternoon while sitting on a bleacher, butt-cheek to butt-cheek with your “seat neighbors”. And FYI, Memorial Stadium concessionaires, you can call them “Wimmer’s Hotdogs” until the Buffs win another National Title (so, forever), but to this Husker Girl they will always be Fairbury Hotdogs.
- Wide eyed little boys wearing Husker jerseys walking into the stadium, holding their daddy’s hand.
- The statue of Dr. Tom and Brook Berringer on the north side of the stadium.
- Memories of scheduling Thanksgiving dinner around the annual OU-NU game (a dinner that was usually soured with the arrival of the Sooner Magic).
- 334 – yes, 334 consecutive sell outs – a record that dates back to 1962 (and is current thru last Saturday’s game). Best I can tell Notre Dame is a distant second with a streak started in 1972. Amateurs. And they totally lose style points because one of those ND “sell outs” in South Bend had an amazing amount of red in the stands. Ahem.
- Kenny Bell’s afro. Seriously – that thing is just pure awesomeness. If this list were in a ranked order, that ‘fro would be in the top three, easy.
- Husker fans in the southwest stadium cheering and high fiving the opposing team every time they run onto or off of the field. True story – attended the UT-NU game when UT beat Nebraska, ending a 40+ home game winning streak. UT had the help of a guy you might remember – one Ricky Williams. Red-clad fans in Lincoln started a cheer: “Heisman Ricky – Heisman Ricky”.
- The thousands of red balloons that are released after the first Husker score. (On rare occasion, released after the first first down if that first first down doesn’t happen until, oh, say late in the second quarter. Not that I’ve ever witnessed that … ahem.)
- Hearing the opening notes of ‘Sirius’, and watching the hyped up players walk through the tunnel, slapping the horseshoe for good luck on their way into the stadium, and the crescendo of the fans as the players finally burst onto the field.
- Faux Bo Pellini.
- Faux Bo’s cat.
- Knowing the only proper response to the call GOOOOOOOO BIIIIIIGGG REEEEEDDDD is GO! BIG! RED! Any time, any place. I wonder if anyone’s ever tried it in a church.
- Our school fight song includes the phrase, “where the girls are the fairest, the boys are the squarest, of any old place that I knew”. No “hail to the victory”, no “rah-rah”, no “saw varsity’s horn’s off”. Fairest girls, squarest boys. Not quite sure why it works … but it does. (“We’re all true blue …”)
- People of Nebraska aren’t ashamed of being “Cornhuskers”. Some of us even hold the vintage “Bugeaters” in high regard.
- In 2013, before the ice bucket challenge brought awareness to ALS, one then seven year old boy named Jack Hoffman scored a touchdown during the Nebraska spring game (in front of a crowd of 60K+, no less). Jack, diagnosed with pediatric brain cancer, had befriended Rex Burkhead, a Husker running back. The Nebraska coaching staff and athletic department worked with Jack’s dad (unbeknownst to Jack, until he was suited up and on the field) to coordinate the play and the touchdown. 8.5M youtube views and an ESPY award later, Team Jack used the publicity to raise money and awareness for pediatric brain cancer research. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Jmisv1Spck
The last item probably speaks most to why it’s awesome to be a Husker fan – yes, we love the game. Yes, we are full of ourselves when we’re winning and when we’re losing, hey, do you remember that awesome Tommie Frazier TD run against Florida in the 95 Fiesta Bowl? Husker fans love their team, their coaches, their state. Their moods rise and fall not just with wins and losses, but with news of Jack’s remission and the latest recurrence of the cancer. Husker fans have, I think, more heart than most.
There is no place like Nebraska.