Today, I was sitting at my computer looking around my Los Angeles office (don’t be impressed, its the extra bedroom in my apartment) and I pulled out my autographed football that I took around with me to all the interviews I did for “Through These Gates”. As I started looking at the names: Tom Osborne, Larry the Cable Guy, Jack Hoffman, Charlie McBride, Tommie Frazier; I got a little choked up. The last three years have been the most exciting, emotional and proud years of my life. I made a movie. People watched my movie. My friends bragged about the movie. I traveled Nebraska and both coasts with Husker Max. I have so many stories to tell now, I catch myself saying things like “Well, Tommie Frazier told me…” and I’m not lying, he did actually tell me!
Tomorrow is the first Friday before the first game and that day will always be a special one for me. Last year we screened to a sold out crowd at the Rococo Theater in Lincoln on that day. I wore a bow tie. I never wear bowties. Hell, I never wear ties. Jason Peter showed up and Milt Tenopir did too as well as 400 plus of my new best friends. I tried not to cry as I stood at the microphone and looked out at a mini sea of red. I was so afraid that they would hate the film, that they would think it was cheesy or heavy handed. Most people didn’t know that I quit my job to make this film. That I produced, directed, filmed and edited the film myself obviously with the help of others mind you. Most people weren’t aware that we had a hundred bucks to make the film in the beginning or that I borrowed my friends film equipment so that I could try to tell our story. At that time in the whole process people didn’t understand that this film didn’t exist without the culture of Husker fans that helped create it. I was given so many opportunities to make our film because of the people in Nebraska lending me a hand. Thats the thing that I took away from all of this, people will still help you if you ask. Thats all you have to do is speak up, work like you mean it and give it all you got.
Lets be honest, not very many people have seen my movie. Maybe 20,000 – and that’s a guess. Thats not very many, thats about 1% of Nebraska. This movie will never win awards or accolades. It didn’t get into the “big” film festivals. No one has heard of the first time movie director who made a movie about the fans of Nebraska and his hometowns culture. That wasn’t why I made it. I made it because I love Nebraska and I’m proud to be a Cornhusker. I can say this with 100% certainty – I am more proud of where I’m from than anything else about me. I’m proud of growing up with dirt under my fingernails and calluses covering both hands. I’m proud of falling off of roofs, jumping from hay bail to hay bail and swinging on rope swings in my cousins barn. I’m proud that I learned to run a jackhammer when i was 14. My dad taught me to work hard, speak your mind and always be a Husker. Los Angeles won’t change that.
When I look at that football on my shelf thats what I see. I don’t see a bunch of college football players autographs, I see a state that understands me because somewhere inside they are just like me.
Oh and One last thing, Tommie Frazier told me, “Win or lose, if you gave it all you got thats all that matters, that’s what they care about.” Well, for what its worth, I gave it all I got and as we start the 2014 season I hope that, more than just winning, we play hard, we play right and we give it all we got because thats all that really matters. the movies tag line is: “Being a husker is bigger than football” and I believe in that more now than I ever have.
Go Big Red,
I came across the film you are making and thought my friends and I might be able to contribute an interesting angle to the “Through These Gates” production. My friends and I drive over 1100 miles each year from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada in a school bus to attend the Husker home opener at the end of August. This will be our third year doing the trip. We are all born and raised in Canada and never attended the University of Nebraska yet absolutely love making the trip down for the game and joining in the Husker festivities. We all own a variety of Husker fan gear and even painted our Bus’s hood with the Nebraska colors last year. We love the atmosphere and comradery that is present on game day throughout Lincoln and it reminds us of the pride we take in our own home football team, the Saskatchewan Roughriders. I find that Nebraska is similar to Saskatchewan in a number of ways. We are both western prairie states (province in our case) and have a strong agricultural economy with a passion for football. The people in Nebraska also share the same welcoming, small town pleasantness that Saskatchewan has. A lot of people up here don’t understand why we would drive so far to go to “Nebraska of all places”… but game day in Lincoln really is something that has to be experienced to be understood. Anyways, good luck with your movie, saw the trailer and it looks great. 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
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