Photo by Lydia Asplin/Nebraska Communications

Husker Fan Finally Gets to 'See' His Favorite Team

By Randy York

Jamey Dougall, the man below wearing unique glasses, was born 36 years ago in Omaha. Early on, he had detached retinas in both eyes and went through 36 surgeries in multiple hospitals.

Despite those hurdles, he lived a moderately normal life with a supportive family, good friends and caring teachers.

Normalcy was important, so he learned Braille and used other adaptive tools at school. He even competed and tried to do what other kids were doing.  

That’s not easy when all odds prohibit your eyesight. “To be honest, I had my guard up because I didn’t know what to do,” Jamey told me last Saturday night at Memorial Stadium. “It worked. It really did.”  

For Jamey, Saturday was so unbelievable words simply could not describe it.

“I was on a verge of tears most of the time,” Jamey admitted. “I’ve been a Husker fan my whole life. I was born and raised in Nebraska before moving to Phoenix, Arizona. I came to games here and just reacted with the fans, even though I couldn’t see the players or anyone else.”

Saturday night eclipsed that fear. “I could react to my glasses and see everything that’s out there,” Jamey said. “Husker Nation is really special. We’re everything that I’ve always felt we should be in my heart, even though I couldn’t see the fans or the players until now.

“I’m so glad to see us launch a new beginning for Nebraska football with Scott Frost at the helm and leading the way,” said Jamey, fully equipped with the necessary passion that goes back to the 1990s.

“I absolutely feel it inside me. I feel the adrenalin that we saw in the new Tunnel Walk,” Jamey said.

Nebraska kicked off just once Saturday night, but his wife, Kandice, was equally happy to drive back to Arizona with her husband and close friend.

“We all missed the game, but we’re coming back when Minnesota returns to Lincoln,” Jamey said.

Thankfully, watching a Nebraska football game with state-of-art and ultra-expensive glasses “comes right at you,” Jamey said. “It’s a totally different feeling. You react to everyone next to you during the Tunnel Walk. You just want to jump up and down like the college crowd.

“I couldn’t believe what was happening to me,” Jamey said. “I just put the glasses on my face and kind of held it together to see something I only dreamed about. That moment was indescribable.”

The opening kickoff lit a fire for the 2018 season. Unfortunately, “What I’m feeling right now is indescribable,” Jamey said. “I’ve had eye surgeries most of my life.”

Jamey pointed out the coveted glasses that arrived in Arizona on his mom’s birthday. “I tested them the minute they arrived and they worked,” he said. “It was amazing that we were able to raise enough money to get them.”

In Jamey’s mind, it was a miracle. “I don’t need a birthday gift or a Christmas gift for the rest of my life,” he said. “The experience to see those glasses fulfilled is my bucket list. When they arrived, I put them on in front of the TV and could see real close.” 

Talk about a dream come true. “I was so grateful I kissed the TV because I could finally see my wife and two daughters,” Jamey said. “It was a miracle. I still cry when something like this happens.”

Even though Jamey has attended Nebraska football games in Lincoln, he could hear the roar of the crowd Saturday night. He could hear the band and see the intrinsic miracle of his Huskers. Talk about goosebumps. Saturday night’s new and revived Tunnel Walk went straight to Jamey’s heart.

He reminisced about Nebraska football, especially in the 1990s. “Those were crazy days,” he said. “My parents have season tickets in the East Stadium next to the wall. I see games every once in a while.”

Jamey sat in front of the TV close up, so he could kiss the television whenever something great happened for the Huskers. The experience of Husker Nation is unique.

“We saw that again Saturday night,” Jamey said. “No place like this place, even if we don’t take a snap for three straight hours before we postpone a game.”

Jamey admits having his guard up until he realized he could ‘see’ what he came to see despite the electrifying sights and treasured sounds for decades to come.

“I was able to hold it together,” he said. “It was probably good that our daughters’ seats weren’t right next to ours. I did not want anybody catching me crying. It was everything I expected and then some.”

To put it all into perspective, Jamey harkened back to the time the Omaha North football coaches allowed him to get in a high school game so he could say that he did it.

“That meant so much to me,” he said. “I was so honored and so appreciative. I also was on Tom Osborne Field with Scott Frost nearby for his first-ever experience as Nebraska’s head football coach. I am so appreciative to be part of that moment.

“It will live with me forever,” Jamey admitted. “Our two daughters not only got new shirts, signed by Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade. They both agreed that you just can’t get much better than that.”

Mom and Dad Dougall make a fantastic, loving couple. They are a small team and dedicated fans who buy new gear so they can keep the energy alive, real and memorable.

Make no mistake. Kandice is as phenomenal as her husband, who could barely see her until he found a powerful way to change the whole family’s lives.

“We’ve been together for 14 years,” Kandice told me during Saturday night’s downpour outside the West Stadium. “Jamey loves me and he loves our two daughters (Madilon, 11 years old and Lacie, 7 years old). My husband really is amazing because he could never really see us until he got those phenomenal glasses.”

Seeing the world through ultra-powerful lenses changes an entire family’s lives.

You can believe the next fact or not. Jamey never really saw his wife Kandice through their last 11 years. The same is true for seeing their two daughters.

“We’ve taught Jamey a lot of things, and he’s inspired us,” Kandice said. “He’s getting a whole new life through those glasses. My husband is amazing, and our children are amazing.

“He goes to work every day and makes sure that I can stay at home for the family,” Kandice pointed out. “I say it every day. Jamey cares about everybody and everybody he knows cares about him and us.

“Our lives in Phoenix and Scottsdale move very fast every day,” Kandice said. “Our oldest daughter got the autographs she wanted. We are so excited and appreciative. We get goose bumps when Nebraska plays. And we can’t wait to see Scott Frost in charge.”

Send a comment to ryork@huskers.com (Please include city, state)

Follow Randy on Twitter at www.twitter.com/RandyYorkNsider 

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