Heres the thing, maybe I’m getting a little sentimental with age or maybe I’m a little home sick or maybe I miss being as busy as I was a year ago but this time in 2013 I was wrapping up the edit and preparing to take my movie all over the country. The only thing was – I didn’t know it was going to be all over the country. I thought I’d be showing it all over Nebraska. We actually ended up showing it in 63 cities in 15 states, all the way from California to Florida to New York City. Yep we showed our movie everywhere. I’ve even shipped copies to Germany and Japan.
I met so many people that I couldn’t begin to talk about them all. I met the coach of the Ainsworth high school football team. In his first season, he coached them their first win in 6 seasons. Full of energy, he convinced me that they were on their way to winning state. He believed in his kids and he believed in himself. I got reacquainted with a classmate from my elementary school who set up the screening in the middle of Manhattan. 20+ years later and she still helped an old friend. I drank beers with every local in every small town: Scottsbluff, Alliance, Seward, Grand Island, York, Papillion, Kearney, and so many many more. I had the best steak I have ever had at Tim Jorgensons house in North Platte. I doubt that I’ll ever have the opportunity to do something as amazing as that tour ever again. I owe Dave “Husker” Max so much for setting it all up.
The greatest night I’ve ever had was the screening at the Rococo in my hometown, Lincoln. I can’t even begin to type out all the great things that happened. I got to watch my film with 400 of my new favorite people. The Husker Elvis’s were there and the Real Life Herbie Husker also made an appearance. Milt Tenopir and Jason Peter showed up to watch with us. Jason was kind enough to ask me to speak at Larry the Cable Guys annual golf outing the following month. I made Larry laugh. It was a cool moment for me.
So the reason that I’m writing this article is to ask everyone that came to a screening to send me there stories for my blog and also just so I have them to take out on a rainy day in 2032. Please tell me what you thought. Did we meet? What do you remember? Why are you a Husker? Do you view the whole thing differently now? If you can share a story with me please do. I want to keep this community feeling going because I have missed it. If you don’t have anything to add then please share it with someone who might.
- Published in Uncategorized
My name is Chris, I live in Fremont, NE., and I am a life-long Husker Fan! I am just a regular, hard-working Nebraskan who loves Husker sports, but has a passion for Husker Football in particular that is hard to explain through words. The best way to share my passion is by sharing a true story of how I felt after defeating Miami in the 1995 Orange Bowl.
Like many Nebraska Fans, immediately after defeating Miami in the Orange Bowl, on that cold, winter night in January, I was out on the streets of Fremont at 10:30 pm., driving and celebrating the win by proudly holding a Husker flag out my drivers window with one hand as I was driving and honking my horn with the other as were many other people, quite to my surprise to be honest! It was a spontaneous feeling of something I had to do… almost involuntary in nature. At the time, I had just broke my right leg at work with a nasty split of my tibia bone in half for 5 inches vertically. Let me just say, I couldn’t sleep because of the pain for 72 hours after breaking it. But, nothing was going to stop me from celebrating what I knew was going to be the 1994 National Championship!
The next day, after hearing about the celebration that was going to happen at the Devaney Center, two friends of mine and I, drove down to Lincoln to go to the Devaney Center, and be a part of the celebration and welcome home the Husker National Championship team!
As we arrive, we find a place to park as close as possible because of my broken leg, and at that time, the streets and sidewalks were covered in ice, so I knew it wasn’t going to be easy for me, but still ended up 4 blocks away from the Devaney Center. Nonetheless, nothing was going to stop me from being a part of the celebration, so I decided to leave my crutches in the car because I feared I had a better chance of falling using them on the icy walkways than if I just hobbled the entire way, so that is what I did. I hobbled in pain up to the Devaney Center, but the team was late in arriving from the airport so this huge crowd, along with my friends and I, had to stand outside and wait for the doors to open. To be honest, I thought I had made a big mistake in going at this point in time because my leg was causing me great pain, and apparently I must have shown it because the group of UNL students standing around me noticed and offered to pick me up and hold me off the ground while we stood there and waited. Although I greatly appreciated the gesture, I had to decline… I thought to myself, “I can’t look like a wimp in front of all these people”.
Thank goodness it wasn’t much longer before the doors to the Devaney Center opened, but since the seating was open to the public, it was first come first serve on getting a seat and what happened next I wasn’t prepared for! There was a wave of humanity rushing through the doors, everybody running to get a seat before all of them were taken… me included! I was hopping along on one leg as fast as possible and thankfully my friends and I got seats about halfway up the Devaney and settled in while waiting for the team and Tom Osborne to enter the arena. How we were able to get seats I will never know because I think the entire place was filled within 10 minutes of the doors opening? Regardless, I was one of the happiest people on earth that day and my adrenaline pumping helped keep my mind off my broken leg.
After sitting and proudly cheering for Coach Osborne and all the players who worked so hard to get that first championship for Coach Osborne, and enjoying, for me, what was a once in a lifetime experience, my friends and I were headed back home to Fremont, each of us unable to stop smiling.
Even me… broken leg and all!
Well, later that night, after all the jubilation was starting to wear off, the pain in my leg was starting to increase. I was hoping it wouldn’t keep getting worse, but by the next morning, the throbbing pain was bad enough that the pain medication I was given by my doctor wasn’t working at all. Therefore, I scheduled an emergency appointment with my orthopedic surgeon later that day. After having x-rays taken of my leg, the doctor was looking at them, and acting baffled, asked me, “Have you been putting a lot of weight on our broken leg or been doing anything that could possibly have caused your break to become worse than it was to begin with?” You know… I proudly answered, “No sir, I haven’t done anything out of the ordinary that could have possibly caused the break to become worse?” Anyway, although it took four weeks longer than the doctor predicted for me to be healed enough to get back to my normal daily routine, I recovered fine and continued on, not regretting what I went through to be a part of Husker history for a single second!
That’s what it means to be a part of Husker Nation as a Husker Fan!
GO BIG RED!!
- Published in Fan Perspective
I know you probably have got plenty of stories for your film, but I wanted to add another incident of the wonderful reputation of Husker Fans outside of Memorial Stadium. I posted a blog earlier about the Nebraska-Virginia Tech game.
This time we were in New York City at the oldest pub in Manhattan, McSorley’s. The place was full, so three people came and asked if they could share our table with them. As we introduced ourselves, we found out two of them were University of Florida alums. We told them that we were Husker Fans, and we found out that one of them had attended the 1996 Fiesta Bowl. He told us that he was so impressed with the way the Nebraska fans treated the Gator fans before and after the game. They were all friendly and so nice to them, and they have never been treated like that at any SEC game.
Just another reason why I am so proud to be a Husker Fan! Go Big Red!!
- Published in Fan Perspective
Lately I’ve been so involved in post production and the “filmmaker” side of this project that today I took a few minutes to remind myself a few things. I began thinking about how far we’ve come and more importantly how we got here. This is a project that started out as en exploration of Nebraska fandom over 2 years ago. It was just an idea, a Craigslist ad, a couple hundred bucks, and some camera equipment that I borrowed from a friend. Honestly, I just missed Nebraska and was looking for any excuse to be there in the fall. I wish it was a more altruistic or “Hollywood” story than that but I just really wanted to see a couple of football games and hopefully meet Eric Crouch. He was our first and only interview we lined up. Since him we’ve interviewed about 20 “Husker celebrities” and more fans than I can count.
We say it’s not about football. That its bigger than that. That’s what we tell ourselves – I hear it almost every day, I’ve believed it my whole life. I was afraid that as I immersed myself in it that I would find out that we weren’t that great, let alone the greatest fans in college football. Like the time I accidentally bumped into Sean Penn and he gave me a dirty look. Not that it makes him a bad person but it took him out of the running for my favorite. And Husker fans don’t claim to be “not bad” fans or even “good” fans. We wrote above every entrance that we are the “greatest” fans. That’s Bold.
I could make a movie about making this movie and it would be just as interesting as the movie itself. I got email after email from people sharing stories and offering help because they just wanted to “be involved”. Many of them just loved Nebraska. Many just knew a Nebraskan that they loved. I’ve had camera men help me for free because we didn’t have a budget at first, sound guys, people who just wanted to hold a mic. Farmers that would let me use their land as long as I promised the pictures would only “be used for good”. Strangers sent me pictures and videos, invited me into their house, made me honorary members of their clubs. I was invited into old coaches house and offices and stadiums. I was given rides in helicopters to film Lincoln in ways hopefully it hasn’t been seen before. I’ve been given pictures from NASA. I’ve had some of the busiest men on the planet change their schedule to work in a time to talk to me about being a Husker. We would spend the first half of our time talking about football then we would talk about how we grew up. I also met many talented artists and musicians but the ones that came through the most where the ones I’ve known my whole life. I was looking to find music for the film. A good song that made sense. I couldn’t afford them, they were very expensive and I’m not a wealthy man. Never have been. My friends got together and made a song for my film that is incredible. 2 of my best friends from childhood, one of their dads and some dude I’d never met wrote and sang the main theme song of the film. I would call us a grass-roots project but I like the term home-grown even more. When people from other places see the help I receive their minds are blown away by the kindness , the loyalty, and the support I’ve received. Some don’t believe it and they search for the agenda.
Sometimes it’s important that we stop and remind ourselves how lucky we are to grow up in such a great place. So I wanted to take a second to thank everyone who’s helped me.
I wish I could do or say more. The film will be ready this fall and I hope I did Nebraska justice. While “Through These Gates” is about being a Husker it’s not just about football. It’s bigger than that.
- Published in From The Director's Chair
Charlotte: I’m 14 years old. I was born in Omaha, and lived there until the summer of 2011 when my family moved to Wyoming. I think of my self as a Husker, a full-fledged, born and raised, die-hard Husker. Although I wasn’t around for Nebraska’s first championships in the seventies, or our glory days in the nineties, I wish I could have been. I’ve grown up in a family where Husker football is life, and you WILL wear red every Saturday during the season. No questions asked, you just do it. I remember a picture of my parents and two older sisters in front of the statue in Lincoln the day after the 1997 Championship, wearing red from head to toe, and a video from that same day in the Devany center with all the coaching staff and players. That is the kind of fans we are. I have so many memories involving Nebraska I couldn’t count them all if I tried. One of my earliest memories is breaking my arm the night of the 2003 Alamo Bowl, against Michigan State. All of our friends and family were at our house to watch the game, and everyone was so wrapped up in it, no one would pay attention to me. So naturally I decided to dance in my booster seat, which lead to falling off the chair, and snapping my arm. Of course we didn’t go to the ER until the game was over. I remember my first husker cheerleading uniform when I was a little girl. I remember playing with our Husker Barbies during the games every Saturday. I remember my first Red and White game, and the whole stadium doing the wave. I can honestly say, I’ve been a Husker my ENTIRE life. I watch every single football game and volleyball game every season, every year, whether it is a win or a loss. I have even kept this up since moving to Wyoming. I think moving to Wyoming showed me how much of a Husker I really am. Being a Husker has helped me through the move a lot honestly. It’s that one piece of home that I can always hold onto. No matter what, I have Nebraska. I don’t introduce myself as a Nebraskan, I tell people I’m from Nebraska and I’m a Husker. Everyone here likes UW (University of Wyoming) because that’s all they’ve got. Sometimes I wonder if that’s the only reason I like the Huskers, because it’s the only big team in Nebraska, but then I realize that isn’t the reason. I like Nebraska because of what it stands for. The tradition, the morals, and our reputation. Nebraska is known for having the nicest fans in the country, and if that isn’t something to be proud of, then I’m not sure what is. Nebraska truly does have the best fans in the Big 10, and the best fans in the Nation. But I don’t like to refer to Nebraska’s fan base as “fans”, because we aren’t. Every team has fans, but no one else has Huskers. You don’t refer to OU fans as Sooners, or Texas fans as Longhorns, they are just Oklahoma and Texas fans. But Huskers aren’t called Nebraska fans, we are called Huskers, and I think that’s pretty special. Every team has fans, but no one else has Huskers. Huskers are the athletes at UNL, the students, the coaching staff, the people who live in Lincoln, the people who live in Nebraska, and all over the world. We are all Huskers, and that’s what makes us so special, we are one big family. We are the Sea of Red, and we make up Husker Nation. We pride ourselves our tradition, morals, and reputation, and we will never change. You don’t have to be from Nebraska to be a Husker, But once a Husker, always a Husker. That’s just the way it is, you know? It’s hard to hate Nebraska, and my personal opinion is that people who hate Nebraska are simply envious. Not because we are such a good team, and never lose, or because we always get the results we want, but because of our spirit. No one has as much love and respect as Huskers do for Nebraska. Huskers aren’t afraid to admit when we lose, because we are here to stay through thick and thin. During the season I wear a Nebraska shirt every Monday to school after the game that weekend whether we one or lost. We represent our team no matter what, year round, we are devoted to Nebraska. Devoted like a Catholic is devoted to God. Being a Husker is a part of your life, and a part of you personally. That is why the Huskers are the best.
- Published in Fan Perspective
When we started making this film a good friend of mine, Nic Ehrisman, offered to make some music for our doc. He has been a musician for the nearly 20 years I have known him so of course I was thrilled about it. Nic came back with a song about Being a Husker dad and how he was affected by the Team Jack story. I was blown away and we shared it with Andy Hoffman, Jack’s father and he loved it. Nic is donating 100% of the proceeds to Team Jack in hopes to not only raise awareness but to help end Pediatric Brain Cancer.
The songs is $.99 and you can buy it from the link here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/id599071540?ign-mpt=uo%3D4 (you have to copy and paste it into your browser)
Please share this link and song with everybody.
- Published in Fan Perspective
I try to be as vanilla as possible about the politics and debates that surround Bo Pelini and the team on my website and Facebook page. I avoid posting about Bo’s comparison to Dr. Osborne and how Taylor is no Tommie. I don’t feel the need to get into how this is or isn’t a new era or how much Milt Tenopir may or may not have been better than Barney Cotton. I keep my digital mouth shut about how the media does or does not antagonize Bo and his staff.
First things first, the bowl game was very sad for me just as it was for everyone else. Notice how I said sad and not angry. I doubt Bo or any players were super stoked about it either. I’d go as far as saying that however bummed out I may have been, I probably did not even feel half the disappointment that they felt.
Honestly I’m not really surprised by all the inner bickering between fans, I’ve grown used it. It has happened all but 3 years of my lifetime. Can you guess what 3 years those were? I’ll give you a hint: They involve Warren Sapp, Steve Spurrier and Peyton Manning.
What truly bothers me is that I keep hearing how the Cornhuskers have become “irrelevant”. That one stings a little. Not because I think its true, not by a long shot. Not even an iota of a little bit. I’ve spent the better part of 2 years traveling all over the country talking to Cornhuskers – players, fans, and coaches and Ive seen grown men tear up talking about their childhood and watching games or chats they had with their ex-players. I’ve been sent emails from fathers about how proud they were that they took their sons AND daughters to their first game. My friend Nic tells a great story about learning to curse quietly so he didn’t wake up his baby girl during the games. How can something be irrelevant when it means so much to so many people.?If it was irrelevant then people wouldn’t get so passionate about it.
And I’m sure I’ll hear from people saying, “that’s not what they mean when they say irrelevant.” Well, that’s how this husker took it and I’m sure others have as well. I guess my point is can we just shut up already about the B1G championship and focus on beating the snot out of Georgia because I think we can as long as the team isn’t reading about how much they suck everyday. C’mon man let’s get it together already.
- Published in From The Director's Chair
My first marriage ended sadly in 1999. My ex-wife just never got into football. Matter of fact, we were verbally fighting during “The Catch” by Matt Davidson during the 1997 Missouri game. Well…this next wife I did it right. Met her in ’06 and she’s a HUGE Husker fan. So…for our wedding and honeymoon in 2010 this is what we did. Since this wasn’t our “first go round” with marriage we invited strictly family and that was it. It was Friday September 10th 2010. My grooms cake was a football field with Big 10 written on it. We booked a block (and paid for) 10 hotel rooms for all the family members coming in. We also planned it so we could snag as many tickets to the Nebraska vs Idaho game on Saturday September 11th. We obtained 17 tickets for family members. Since it was a 11am kickoff family members said, “how bout we BBQ at your house after the game and we will do all the cooking, grocery shopping and cleaning up”. So we said, “yes” and we hired 5 members of “Death By Brass” to come over and play ”There’s No Place Like Nebraska” and “Hail Varsity” during the BBQ. When the last family members left it was 10:15pm and my new wife and I were leaving on our honeymoon at midnight. So where was our honeymoon and how did we get there? Our destination was Seattle and we took Amtrak (with deluxe sleeper car) all the way to Seattle for the Nebraska vs Washington game. A Husker game for a honeymoon…….doesn’t get much better than that!
- Published in Fan Perspective
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.
- Published in Fan Perspective
And here we go… This project is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. There are millions of people out there who share the same passion for Nebraska and the Cornhuskers that I do. For many of us its a blind faith. It’ something that is bigger than football. Its a family heirloom that was passed down from generation to generation like your grandmothers china or your dads old watch. Its something that if you aren’t from here you don’t get and if you are from Nebraska you can’t explain. Well, Im going to try to explain it. However, I need your help in more ways than one. The First way that I need your help is by telling me your stories. Tell me your childhood memories. Share with me what makes it special to you. What does your family do to celebrate the game? Whats the craziest thing you’ve done to show your love for the Huskers? Why are you a fan? This film is about sharing something that is so deep rooted in us that we can’t even explain where the seed got planted in the first place. The second way that I need your help is by passing this website along to others so that they see it and can share with us. I would really love to hear from every single husker fan. I would also like to hear from ex players and coaches. As much as I want to hear from Tommy Frazier, Mike Rozier and every other Husker legend I also want to hear from the walk on that played 3 years just to start his senior year because he loved the game that much or maybe the guy that never started but also never gave up. The third way that I need your help is by making donations if possible. This is expensive and Im paying every cent out of my own pocket as of now. I’ll find a way to finish it no matter what but I could really use the help. Thank you in advance for any help you give us. I look forward to sharing my documentary with you. Go Big Red, Ryan
- Published in Uncategorized