Story #19: Forever Grateful That I Was Able to Give My Father the Husker Home Game Experience
I have never lived in Nebraska, but I inherited rooting for the Cornhuskers from my father. Though I was raised in Oregon (and have lived in California for 27 years now), my parents both grew up in Nebraska (Broken Bow), leaving in their early 20′s. Growing up (I was born in ’64), my family never had a television. Whenever Nebraska played on tv, my uncle would drive down from Washington state, and bring his portable tv. We watched the Cornhuskers! Then every year on New Years, he would also come down and we’d watch the bowl games. I think that is why I love college football so much today. It is really the only sport I pay much attention to.
In 1984, my dad, my uncle and myself drove from Oregon down to Pasadena to watch Nebraska play UCLA at the Rose Bowl stadium. My first look at the Huskers “live”. We did the same in 1988, though I was now living in central California. We try to catch Nebraska as much as we can when they play on the west coast. 1998 was a great year, as we got to watch them play twice. Cal in Berkeley, and then in San Diego for the Holiday Bowl against Arizona. Also, I was able to take my dad to the 2001 National Championship game versus Miami in the Rose Bowl.
Though he grew up in Nebraska, my dad had never had the opportunity to attend a game in Lincoln. My dream was to take him to a game in Lincoln. The perception from afar is that Nebraska football has been sold out for 40+ years, and seats are just not available. How was I gonna pull this off? But a number of years ago, my niece graduated from Biola, and decided to do her graduate studies at Baylor, a Big 12 opponent. I had just found my way into Memorial Stadium! When a game in Lincoln came up on Baylor’s schedule, I gave my niece my credit card info and told her to get us some tickets. I think we ended up with about 8 seats. We had a grand time experiencing the Big Red Wave in Lincoln! One amazing experience on that trip happened in Phoenix, Arizona. I flew out of Sacramento, and my sister flew out of Portland, Oregon. We met in Phoenix, and had the same flight from Phoenix to Omaha. I was amazed that there were no less than 15 or 20 people getting on that plane way out west in Phoenix, headed to Memorial Staduim for the game! My dad had such a good time that several months later he told me, “That was fun. We should do that again sometime!” A comment totally out of character for my dad. So, a couple of years later, we went back for a game versus Texas A&M. The only disappointment, is that our two experiences at Memorial Stadium both came during the rather forgetable Bill Callahan era. None-the-less, the game day in Memorial Stadium experience is one I will never forget. I lost my dad 2 1/2 years ago, but I will be forever grateful that I was able to give him the Husker home game experience. The tradition lives on. In December 2010, I took my wife (married July 2010) on a belated honeymoon to San Diego. She was less than impressed by the Husker’s performance that day in the Holiday Bowl, but she was sufficiently impressed by the major college football game day experience. Just wait ’till I take her to Lincoln someday . . .