What It Means To Be A Husker is part of a series by Triumph Books. The book begins with a foreward by Tom Osborne, who provides an overview his career and a summation of his feeling regarding the community of 'Husker Nation'. It's a nice piece, but the book begins to roll immediately when author/editor Jeff Snook starts his introduction by telling a story about Forrest Behm being nearly burned to death and how his father took care of him (Behm's Husker story is later in the book). Snook does a good job in the short introduction of setting up just how much Husker football meant to each of the players, and shares his personal account of watching Husker fans give Florida State a standing ovation after FSU won in 1985.
Each chapter of the book represents a different decade of player stories, starting with Glenn Presnell who played halfback from 1925-1927 and ending with Eric Crouch, Nebraska's third Heisman trophy winner in 2001. The stories are told by each former Husker, following a simple format - how they came to be at Nebraska; their memories about their time as a Husker football player; then each reflecting on how their experience shaped their life.
There stories are by the "Who's Who" of Husker Football - Jeff Kinney, Mick Tinglehoff, Joe Orduna, Jerry Murtaugh, Dave Humm, Johnny Rodgers, Broderick Thomas, Dave Rimington, Turner Gill, Ahman Green, Trev Alberts and Tommie Frazier to name a few.
My personal favorite is by Lyle Sittler who played center from 1962-1964. He describes how in a high school game he ran down Bob Hohn. When Hohn went to get up, he said "Why you fat SOB! How could you have caught me from behind?" The two would later be co-captains at Nebraska. Sittler recounts how at a reunion in 1998, Hohn introduced Sittler to his wife as "that fat SOB who caught me from behind". At his memorial service in 2003, Hohn thanks Sittler for contributing to his success. The story is exemplar because it shows what football had done for both these men throughout their years and beyond.
The book's format belies a bathroom book, and it works well that way - leave it laying around and you can pick it up and start reading where you've left off because each player's experience is a self-contained story. The book is hardcover though, and therefore it's too nice to be left in the duty room unless yours is a helluva lot nicer than mine.
If I have one complaint about the book, it's a lack of pictures. There are pictures of each of the players, but some are fairly bland. Perhaps this is by design as more pictures would have taken the focus away from the player's stories.
What It Means to Be A Husker is an excellent book by the men who played Husker football throughout the years. The stories are certainly worth the price of the book as it serves it's title well.
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