I too was born and raised in Lincoln. My father taught at the university for 30 years. He lived and died husker football.
I have very early memories (age 4, 1972) watching my parents leaving for the game and being jealous. i would go out into my back yard and listen to Lyell Bremser’s play by play and act out the game. Dave Humm was my first hero. I asked my parents to measure out 6’0 so i could see how high I would need to grow to be his size.
When I was 5, I finally got my chance. I road the bus downtown from southeast Lincoln with my Dad. When we got off the bus, I asked him where the stadium was. He said, “Just follow the people in red.”
We walked across campus, past Love Library, Oldfather and into east stadium. I have very vivid memories of being crowded by people, who towered over me at the time. I squeezed my Dad’s hand tightly, as we snaked up the ramps and into the stadium. We exited the tunnel and there was the field and stadium. There was an amazing ‘wow’ factor. To see it person. You have to remember this was back before ESPN and all the games being televised. We would see the OU game and the bowl game on TV and that was it. For the entire year.
My dad bought some stale popcorn and a hotdog. I recall we won by a large margin. I was hooked.
Through the years I would have all sorts of experiences with Memorial Stadium. Selling coke when I was in junior high ($1.00 a coke, I’d make 14 cents profit per coke). The summer I was 16 I got a job helping out putting the astro turf on the field. This was the year after the scoring explosion and the 1983 Orange Bowl heartbreak. I remember Rozier and Fryar coming by one time to look at the progress of the new astro turf and telling us about how they had just had come back from seeing the Jacksons in Kansas City. I also remember having to use the restroom one day and ducking into the locker rooms that were then in the south stadium. There was an incredibly old, age spot old man weighing himself on the scale in there. Who was that guy? It was Bob Devaney.
Later, I would go to the games in college and sit with my friends. I once called a game while taking a sports broadcasting class.
My Dad died in 2000. A week after the great OU game where Crouch scored on the pass.
Now I am a Dad. My two boys hold my hand tightly as we walk into the stadium. I buy them the snacks and the balloon and I can’t help but think of him. I like to think I am carrying on the tradition. He would tell me about listening to the first Rose Bowl game on the radio; now when I am not at the game, my sons and I sit in our ‘man cave” and watch it on a 55″ HD screen. The technology has changed; but the passion is the same.
- 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
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
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