I grew up in a very small town in western Nebraska. Actually there is only one town farther west than were I lived, so that always meant a 7-9 hour drive to Lincoln to watch game. My dad was a farmer and as some of you know fall isn't the best time to get away; the corn and beans need to come in, the cattle need to be moved, and then when the snow starts they have to be fed twice a day. I was so excited when I got accepted to pharmacy school in Omaha, I thought I could finally make a game, nope. My Saturday's quickly turned into studying, working or during my second year, tests. Whoever thought it was a good idea to put a test on a Saturday really needs to have their head examined. Anyway, back to what this is supposed to be about.
Now I'm living in the middle of Illinois and in June I was eating lunch with a friend that just happens to be a Illini season ticket holder. We were talking about when the Nebraska/Illini game was and realized it was around my mom's birthday. That night she sends me a text saying she had the away game order sheet in her mail box when she got home. Now I'm not usually one that believes in fate, but I took that as a sign. My mom screamed almost as loud as I did when I let her know we were going. So it was all set 10/05/13; my mom, dad, aunt, uncle, husband (yes Mr. Jade went with me) and I were going to our FIRST Husker game.
We got the tickets two weeks before the game and thank goodness for Lunesta or I wouldn't have slept for a week. We all met in Lincoln the night before and went down town for dinner. We made plans to leave the hotel (which was only about 3/4 of a mile from the stadium) at 9:30 so we could be there by 10 if they wanted to walk slow. Well guess who couldn't sleep? That's right, me. I had Mr. Jade up at 7 and we were off and walking towards the stadium 7:45. Thank goodness there was an awesome little coffee shop on the way or I think Mr. Jade would have lost patience with me.
We stopped at the store, Mr. Jade needed a hat and a hoodie and I needed gloves it wasn't going to be as warm as everyone thought it would be. Then we rounded the corner and saw this:
It really is beautiful, isn't it? I stood there and stared for a while, until Mr. Jade reminded me that I had a camera around my neck.
We walked around to our gate and I could feel my excitement increasing. I was a little nervous, we were setting in the visitor's section and I didn't know how everything would go. We got to the game early and after climbing a ton of stairs we got to our seats, and still had an awesome view.
We were in the shade of the East stadium and I was holding out hope that eventually the sun would come out and help keep us warm. The rest of our little group finally arrived and I was setting beside my mom when the band started to take the field.
It was great. I never played in college, but I remember the hours of practice just for our little HS routines. I can't even imagine what "The Pride of Nebraska" goes through. They were flawless, and sounded great even from section 40 row 82.
Mom and I were almost shaking with excitement by the time the tunnel walk started. You could feel the pulse in the air and I swear the sea of red had a heart beat.
When the game started we were sandwiched by Illini fans. The group in front of us were awesome. They had drove over in their tricked out blue and orange converted school bus, the guy was so proud (as he should be) that he even brought out his camera to show us pics of it. He was a really nice guy, especially when he pulled a Husker hat out of his bag, and said that if the lead got too big he'd be switching hats (which he did in the middle of the 2nd quarter).
Then we scored and the moment I had been wanting to see more than anything:
It was even better than I was anticipating!
The guys behind us lasted until the end of the 1st quarter and then I quote, "The way to get through Illini football is to drink and pretend it never happened. I just hope Lincoln has enough alcohol." Two of the fans must have been worried about that, since they were caught with alcohol in the stadium. They both left peacefully and were quickly forgotten. The game was exciting, although it being my first live game I was missing my DVR ability to rewind and watch they plays again.
Then it was half time and the band came out again:
I took this one just for Redvalley:
After half time our section really started to empty out. As the people left the stadium I swear it got colder, probably only because our wind breaks were leaving. I stayed to the end. Mr. Jade kept asking me if I was cold then he would follow it up by asking me if I was having fun. He told me later that if I had ever said no the the second question he would have made me leave. The poor little old guy in front of me, every time there was a gust of wind he would hold his shaking hand over his ear. I felt so sorry for him, he probably wanted to watch the end of the game about as bad as I did.
I had to stay to the end so I could get a picture of the scoreboard:
So the Huskers won. It was a great game and I am now hooked. Even the walk back to the hotel was impressive. We were following my aunt and uncle, I looked up once and they were right in front of us, I looked to my left to look at the mass group of red and when I looked up again my aunt and uncle were no where to be found, but we all made it back safely.
I've already told Mr. Jade I want to go to a game a year. Maybe this year I'll get him talked into going to a basketball game.