Yes you read that correctly. Memorial stadium has something for everyone. From the big screens (the new curved screens look slick, btw) to the Tom Osborne field that kids aren’t allowed on anyone during spring games, we truly have a nice place that we call home.
Tradition and history is sprinkled all over including our pregame routine of the tunnel walk, husker power, and “ITTTTTT”S SHOW TIME for the CORNHUSKER MARCHING BAND.” I love our traditions and everything about our stadium, but undeniably the student section is what makes Memorial Stadium that much better on game day.
On the defense of some students leaving early
I feel I need to defend the student section before discussing what the student section is all about, so here we go.
There are students like me that will wait every home game three and half hours before kickoff, so that I can be in front row the East Student Section. You see the student section has stadium style seating; get there early. The gates for students open two and half hours before kickoff, but there will be a line of people waiting much before then.
There are about fifty of us “super fans” on the East Side who show up every week with a large percentage in costume. The South Student Section has around a hundred filthy freshman that are in Memorial for the first season. I won’t even give them the distinction of “super fan” because of the aforementioned filthy freshman. There are some hardcore fans sprinkled in, but mostly the hardcore fans are in the East Section. In fact you’ll find me when you watch the game as I make at least one appearance per game. Of course you won’t know what I look like, but you can certainly pretend.
The casual student fan makes up the majority of the demographic. Student season tickets are fairly affordable to where students can easily handle the cost of 25$ per game. Don’t want to go the Northern Illinois game? No problem. Sell the ticket and get your money back or...don’t. I am not sure on the number of tickets that are not used, but I would guess it makes up a decent amount if the game is too cold, too hot, or generally anything that also keeps people away from the voting booths during election season. You see the casual fan wants the team to win, but they won’t be sticking it out since the opportunity cost is not high nor will they start having thoughts of burning down the entire state of Iowa after Nebraska loses like I do. To keep these students is to keep the student section fun. Do more entire stadium waves and passive aggressive chants towards the opposing team. Or give free stuff; free stuff works.
The last students to join are typically the pseudo and actual alcoholics which are going to be the first ones to leave. As soon as half time rolls around and the buzz you worked so hard on during tailgating goes away, well, you do the same. The only real solution to this is to sell alcohol in the stadium, but you know our redheaded stepchild Shawn Eichorst isn’t going to be changing that anytime soon.
The Student section remains the best element of Memorial Stadium
Despite some shortcomings, the student section remains the heart and soul of game days. Heart and Soul really is the perfect way to describe what the student section brings on Saturdays. Every single game whether we are losing by 60, or winning by 60 we are standing and shouting obscenities. We are the loudest, compared to any part of the stadium, on the opposing offense by a at least a magnitude which is why we claim victory for every false start and delay of game penalty. Maintaining a high energy level for three and half hours is not an easy task. I have always lost my voice by the fourth quarter, however as the season goes on, it does becomes easier for my throat to take the three hour pounding kinda like a...well use your imagination. What I mean is that we set the tone for the stadium; we get loud then everything builds off it.
How many people actually like sitting while at a football game? The benches are not comfortable to begin with, and you always end up rubbing elbows with people adjacent to you. Whenever something exciting happens everyone stands up anyways, so why not just stand the whole game. If you agree then too bad because you have to sit down in your section or you’ll be yelled at or maybe thrown out. The student section is all about being on your feet at all times. The game becomes even more enjoyable when you can jump around on a moments notice. All you need is somewhere to sit for a few minutes to rest then back on the feet.
You want a Husker Power chant when the referees are taking their sweet time during a review of a play that is painfully obvious of what happened? We are already way ahead of you. The student section leads all of the stadium wide chants, starting the waves, and cultivating the euphoria of the game into noise. Student Section coordination is a beautiful thing.
Notice when the wave hits the East student section that the wave changes pace. I have also seen, when we get organized enough, where two waves are going simultaneously but in different directions and speeds.
If fun isn’t your cup of tea then you can at least appreciate the hours of work the Iron N does in creating the banners displayed only once and then disposed of.
When you’re a student the players are literally your classmates. We are cheering on people who we get to see on a daily basis. After a loss or a big win they are sitting in class next to us the Monday after. We have a bit more skin in the game since we have a personal connection. We all pull a little harder for the individual players we are friends with along with the team. That personal connection makes the football game change. From just cheering on players you watched get recruit here repping the Big Red to projecting yourself to your friend on the field. Wanting them to succeed and feeling the impact of their mistakes.
The student section is as much a part of the game as the players doing their best to win. The student section is the best part of Memorial Stadium.