As many of you may remember from last week, SBNation and Hyundai wanted you, the fan, to tell your story about what made you the biggest College Football fan of them all. And we had some great entries. However, there was one that stood out pretty well among the entries.
If I said the name Paul Favela, many of you may not know what the hell I'm speaking of. But, if I used the term "Husker Hombre", you'll realize what I speak of quicker. A staple at home and away Nebraska Football games, Paul is far from home, as Victoria, Texas is a good 7 hours south of my home in the DFW area, which is 10 hours south of Lincoln. Imagine that drive home every holiday break.
But, to tell his story, I'll let Paul give it to you. I can't simply do it justice at all. Here's Paul in his own words.
I wasn’t born into Husker fandom, although I wish I was. At least then I would have some recollection of the "glory days", the national championships, etc. . My parents were never big college football fans, having attended a small college in Kingsville, Tx. Where I grew up you only had two choices regarding college football teams, Aggies or Longhorns. Although I loved college football, over the seventeen years I lived in Texas I never felt a connection to any school in Texas. When it was time to choose a university, I figured I basically just go to a school in Texas, get through it, and simply move on with my life. Until one piece of mail changed my life completely. The University of Nebraska offered the greatest opportunity I had ever been presented with. At first the idea seemed like a joke to my parents considering we live 1000 miles away. But Nebraska offered everything I could have imagined. Affordable schooling, an opportunity to attend Dental School, and all of the college football I could handle! I was committed.
When I arrived on campus to enroll, the first thing I did was find the stadium. Although it was locked, I took pictures, set my phone’s wallpaper, and started the countdown to football season. My first Husker game was one of the most amazing experiences of life, while at the same time one of the most exhausting. Still recovering from a self induced sickness from the night before that many college freshmen tend experience their first few weekends on campus, my newly made friends had to wake me up to get me to the game. I was so dazed that I nearly forgot the hat my mom had made for me before I left Texas. Not knowing my way around the stadium, my friends and I ran about three times the distance we needed to get to our seats(by that time I was about ready to puke). Of course Marlon Lucky had a HUGE game against Nevada, we won handedly, and the season never looked so good. On top of that, I was officially hooked on Husker football.
The first time I slept in front of the stadium was my freshman year when Gameday came to town for the USC game. I’ve never shivered that much in my life. When Gameday was over, I ate lunch and headed back to the stadium for the 7pm primetime kick off. By the fourth quarter, my roommate and I were the only ones left in our row. He told me "Real Husker Fans stay to the end of the game, no matter what…". Once again, I’ve never shivered so much in my life. Anyway… We’ll just skip through the rest of that season. Sound good? Okay.
About half way into my undergrad career I found my sombrero. As I explained in my first post it was a slow progression of ideas that ultimately what lead to the "Husker Hombre". But before the Husker Hombre could come alive I had to clear a major hurdle of my life. I had come to Nebraska for three things: College Football, Meeting new friends, and dental school. I had completed two out of three of those by the start of my senior year. I interviewed at four schools: two Texas schools, Iowa, and Nebraska. Three years of late nights, stressing over exams, and working all week with the promise of a Husker Gameday on Saturdays finally paid off. I was accepted to all four schools and again was faced with a decision. Four years of college costs money. Four extra year of out of state professional schooling costs even more than that. Although moving back to Texas would have been substantially cheaper(tens of thousands of dollars cheaper) and Iowa had offered a great deal of financial aid to leave Nebraska, you can’t put a price how happy I am to be a cornhusker. Four more years of UNL(technically UNMC), four more years of Husker football student tickets, four more years of the good life.
Since I first started wearing my Husker Hombre gameday gear, I’ve been entirely astonished by the amount of positive feedback and attention that it receives. Only a few weeks into the season I was already finding myself on a variety of internet websites with positive comments all over the place. At some point somebody even made a facebook page for me… and it had fans!(I’m now an admin on the Husker Hombre FB page). I couldn’t stop laughing when I first saw it. I didn’t think anyone really paid attention to the crowd/student section. I started to realize that maybe I have an opportunity to do more than just look ridiculous and make a few people smile on gameday. I have the opportunity to represent the Huskers every day, bring positive attention to the student section, and show the college football world why Nebraska is home of the Greatest fans in college football… and there’s not much that I love more than that.
This season, a few of my friends decided to join me in gearing up for gamedays. One of them dresses like Kenny Bell(with his blue practice shirt and afro), the other two wear self-made red deadmau5 helmets. A girl that sits with our group asked if she could dress like a taco and stand next to me. I told her I would extremely disappoint if she didn’t do so haha. And this type of thing is exactly what I hope happens. Would I be disappointed if the entire student section dressed up crazy and showed up to the games and I instead just blended in? Of course not! We would have the undisputed most crazy student section in college football. Would I be disappointed if I was the quietest person in the stadium? Of course not! Everytime the opposing teams offense takes the field I hope they can feel the ground shake from the noise Memorial Stadium makes. And would I be disappointed if somebody told me that I’m not the biggest fan in college football, let alone Husker Football? Of course not. While I strive to be the best fan I can be, I take pride in knowing college football has the best fans of any sport in the world. Add that to Nebraska having the best fans in college football… well I guess you can make the connection. I’m not the most knowledgeable fan, I’m not the oldest fan, and I don’t have any money to donate to the athletic department(yet…). But I do everything I can to help the school that has done so much to help me. One day when I look back on the impact(no matter how small) I’ve had on my alma mater, I’ll take pride in knowing it was a positive one. Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice.
My goal has always been to do everything I can do to help our team win and show the nation the opportunity Nebraska has to offer. When I started all those years ago, I was just a guy in a funny hat screaming his lungs out… and I still am. Except now I do my best to take it one step further. Ultimately if one recruit sees me in the student section and my Husker support can sway him by .01% to come to Nebraska, then I’ve accomplished my goal. If people see me looking ridiculous on tv and think "Nebraska has some dedicated fans…" then I’ve done my job. I’ve got two more years of student tickets after this season… although the Hombre will likely fade away, I hope there’s a crazier student to replace me.
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