Story #17: My Uncle Ken
Scott: My first Husker game happened in the fall of 1985. My Uncle Ken had had season seats for the Huskers for years and years, and after years of begging, my parents allowed me to buy his second seat for the Nebraska vs. Oregon game. This is not the Oregon that we know now as a national power sponsored by Nike, but the Oregon that still had Daffy Duck on its helmets. The game was an early season match up for both teams. However, on that day in September, it rained, and I don’t mean a sprinkle. I mean one of those late summer/early fall kind of Nebraska rains that started sometime during the night and kept going throughout the day. It was miserable weather. That however, could not dampen my spirits. I got dressed up in red from head to toe. Looking back, I must have looked like a circus clown. On that day, though, I felt myself as part of the “Sea of Red.” My uncle drove us to the state fairgrounds where we caught a shuttle for 25 cents a piece or something like that. As we walked up to the gates, I had never been that close to a structure that huge, and I was awestruck. We made our way up to our seats which were in the first rows of the upper deck at about the 35 yard line, and I was amazed at being able to see the whole field and all of the players warming up. I remember McCathorn Clayton started at QB for the Big Red that day, and in the third quarter, “we” were up 63-0. Because of the rain, my uncle asked me if I wanted to go, and even though I was wet and cold, I wanted to stay. He and I talked all kinds of Husker football that day. He told me about the Bob Devaney days, which I was born during, and where he was watching the Game of the Century, and the Johnny Rodgers punt return. He told me of Vince Ferragamo and how Turner Gill was the perfect quarterback for the option offense. By the fourth quarter, we had both had enough, and my Uncle Ken took me for my first Runza after the game. I wasn’t too sure when I heard it had cabbage in it, but one bite, and I was more than hooked. I think about that day quite often, and even though I lost my Uncle Ken about 10 years ago, I can’t help but feel that he is in my Husker room in my house, sitting on the couch with me talking about Cameron Meredith and Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead. I can hear him telling me that we throw the ball too much, and we should stick with the option game because it is timeless and will come back into vogue. Husker football brings him back to me for four months out of the year, and I just can’t help but feel close to him.