Share Your First Husker Gameday Experience and Become Part of the Show
Randy York's N-Sider
To "Respond to Randy" click the link below and choose "Randy York's N-Sider" under "Area of Interest". Include your name and residence, then share memories from your first game at Memorial Stadium.
Please forgive me for sounding like a salesman, but do I have a deal for you.
Share your first Husker game day experience, and if it's poignant enough, one of Nebraska football's biggest corporate sponsors just may cast you in the Greatest Show on Turf, Husker style, this fall.
If you can describe your first Big Red football experience in 300 words or less, you will qualify for consideration to win one of seven grand prizes from Omaha-based First National Bank this season - two tickets to a 2010 Nebraska home football game.
That in itself is cool but here's what makes it even cooler. Whatever game each winner attends, you will be featured on HuskerVision screens throughout Memorial Stadium.
Imagine yourself being one of the seven grand prize winners. Imagine having the Athletic Department convert your editorial efforts into a full-fledged video production that describes your game experience. Then imagine standing on Memorial Stadium's sideline, next to one of the stars of the game you nominated, and being introduced to the crowd. You, and that star player, will be asked to wave to the crowd together.
Talk about a priceless memory.
Picture Yourself with a Husker Star, Waving to the Crowd
Yes, it can be you standing on hallowed ground for the Nebraska-Western Kentucky season opener on Sept. 4. The submission deadline to be a winner for any of the first three home games is Friday, Aug. 6, and the process will be ongoing to select other winners who will be featured at Husker home games against Texas, Missouri, Kansas and Colorado.
First National, of course, has a goal for your participation. The bank would like you to check in every week on its blog for financial tips and advice, updates on community events and much more. Make no mistake, though. This contest is tapping into your bankroll of memories, not your checking account.
Whoever wins two tickets will get two minutes of unforgettable fame inside the Huskers' historic house, and it promises to be something you will always cherish. So be as creative as you can with your words and go the extra mile with a photo or two, if you think it might help you win.
Make this an audition from the heart. Feel free to describe emotion. Use your 300 words as a creative tribute to what you consider a milestone in your life. It is your own personal version of Big Red Forever ... how you fell in love with the Huskers and why they still tug at your heart and camp out in your mind.
I know the questions that are swirling in your head right now. How do I explain the unexplainable? How much do I really remember about my first game day experience? And why is it still important?
My First Game Day Experience: A Shutout of Mizzou in 1964
I can relate to all three questions because it's hard for me to describe my own first Husker game experience and the impact it had on me. It was Oct. 31, 1964. I was in the first row in the North Stadium, sandwiched among a record crowd of 48,878 eager to watch a 6-0, fifth-ranked Nebraska take on Missouri.
Carly Simon wouldn't record Anticipation until seven years later, but I was so amped with that word I was like a bottle of unopened ketchup. Finally, after 2½ years of reading Wally Provost's post-game Sunday masterpieces in the Omaha World-Herald, I would actually get to experience a real game day.
I will admit that I thought there was no way a game could match the grace and the style of Provost's descriptions. He wrote about Nebraska like J.D. Salinger or Tennessee Williams would have written if they were Husker fans. He took me into the head of Bob Devaney and into the hearts of fans that rallied around this nationally inspiring leader.
Forty-six years later, I can confirm that the Nebraska football product I experienced in my first visit to Memorial Stadium lived up to Provost's almost lyrical prose. Even with 37,000 fewer fans than what Memorial Stadium now holds, the experience was unbelievable to me. The pageantry blew me away. I told my parents that the game exceeded all expectations, and it helped me connect to and understand the statewide passion that Bob Devaney was building week by week and year by year.
"When we beat Missouri, nine to nothing that day, all I can remember is how long that game seemed," Walt Barnes told me this summer. "Every series was three downs and out for both teams. We really did beat each other up pretty good that day."
Barnes, now 66 and retired as a beer distributor in Steamboat Springs, Colo., was an All-Big Eight middle guard in 1964 before becoming a consensus All-America defensive tackle the next season.
Langston Coleman Changed Scoreless Game with a Safety
That NU-MU defensive battle royale was scoreless until the fourth quarter, and because I was sitting right next to the field, I could hear the crunch of the pads and even the growls of the players. I can close my eyes and still see Nebraska All-America defensive end Langston Coleman charging through Mizzou's line and tracking Tiger quarterback Gary Lane, who had dropped back to pass from his own 14.
Coleman grabbed Lane and threw him into the end zone for a safety. Lane, a three-time All-Big Eight quarterback who is now a referee in the NFL, led the conference in total offense that season, but Coleman wrestled him down with Ndamukong Suh-like force and ease.
Suddenly, with 12½ minutes left in the game, Nebraska was leading 2-0, and the roar of the crowd from that single play hooked me for life.
Coleman will always be my first favorite Husker player, and his teammates, Bob Churchich and Kent McCloughan, own equally soft spots in my heart after they hooked up on a 37-yard touchdown pass six minutes later to put the game out of reach.
That story probably wouldn't win a grand prize in this contest, but your first Husker football game is like your first kiss. The only thing that really matters is how important it is to you.
So sit down and take some of your precious time to preserve a memory that no doubt will conjure up different terms of endearment for everyone who decides to respond.
Coworkers Share Their Memorable First-Game Moments
To help you out, I stepped outside my office Thursday afternoon and asked a few coworkers about their first Husker game day experiences. They did not hesitate to respond.
Michael Stephens: "My first game was many Nebraska fans' favorite game of all time - the 17-14 upset of No. 1 Oklahoma in 1978. I sat 20 rows up in the southwest corner of the South Stadium with my mom. I remember Billy Sims fumbling on the 3-yard-line right in front of me. I also remember the fans carrying the goal posts out of the stadium right in front of me. That was an amazing experience for a 9-year-old kid seeing his first Husker game ever." (Stephens is assistant athletic director for Marketing, Licensing and Concessions)
Kiley Abdouch: "Believe it or not, my first game was two days after my fourth birthday, but I still remember the game - September first, 1988 against Utah State. This season will be my 22nd straight being able to see at least one game, but that first game with my dad will always be special. I remember coloring Snow White's lips red after seeing that first game. To this day, my dad still has that picture. I think it reminds him of a game that he left at halftime because of me and my super-short attention span at the time." (Abdouch is a communications specialist)
Ethan Rowley: "I was 13 and a seventh-grader at Barr Junior High in Grand Island. My dad took me to the Nebraska-UCLA game in 1994. We sat in the front row of the South end zone, and I kept thinking my dad must be an important guy if he could get us tickets to a game between a second-ranked Nebraska team and a UCLA team trying to get into the top 10. I remember the buildup that entire week was whether UCLA's J.J. Stokes would play or not play. It didn't matter. We won, 49-21." (Rowley is assistant director of athletic marketing and leads department efforts in social media)
Jeff Griesch: "1987 season-opener against Utah State. The score was 56-12. I was a high school freshman in 1987 in Wayne (Neb.). It's an interesting thing. I did not play football, so it was not a big deal. The big deal for me was attending a football game for the first time with my dad. It was also a big deal going to my first game in the old press box in 1992, covering a game for the first time rather than attending as a fan. We played Middle Tennessee State that day, and I was a sports reporter for The Daily Nebraskan. I can remember almost everything about that game. (Griesch, director of media relations operations, has written Nebraska football game stories on Huskers.com for 10 straight years now).
Doak Ostergard: "I don't remember the year, but my first game was against K-State. I was in grade school in Gothenburg, and my dad took me. We sat in the top row of the East Stadium, and it was cold, so cold that a lot of people left the (lopsided) game, and that allowed us to move under the overhang. I learned that day that it's a lot better to put your feet on pavement instead of snow. You stay warmer." (Ostergard, the director of outreach and the athletic department's primary contact with the N-Club, might want to take a tip from smart Husker fans who made the most of a Green Bay Packer trick. They took Sunday newspapers into Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium to cushion their feet from the freezing temperatures of the 2006 Big 12 Conference Championship Game).
A Meticulous General Manager Keeps Track of Everything
I didn't stop at collecting memories from coworkers. I called three public figures on the phone, and here's what they shared with me:
Dave Witty (General Manager, Husker Sports Marketing): "Iowa State, November third, 1969. We won, 17-3. Coach Osborne wouldn't appreciate this, but I remember sneaking into the game as a 7-year-old knowing I would have to sit on a lap instead of a seat of my own. We ended up in the highest row in Section 14 of the South Stadium. I still have my dad's ticket stub and the game program. In fact, I have every ticket stub and every game program of the more than 200 games I've seen. (Witty also has every edition of Huskers Illustrated - a magazine that has been published more than 500 times).
Lane Grindle (Husker Sports Network): "The Pacific game in 1994. We lived in Hastings, Iowa, and our tickets were in the East Stadium about 20 rows up. We sat right across from the Nebraska band, and that was a lot of fun, listening to them play and watching all their chants and cheers. I was a seventh-grader, and I had never been to a game, even though I'd been a Husker fan my whole life. The band was pretty busy that day. We led 49-0 at halftime and the final score was 70-21. The thing I remember most was how quiet it was when a Pacific player got hurt and how loud the crowd's ovation was when he left the field. That's when I knew how special Nebraska football fans really are."
Steve Sipple (Lincoln Journal-Star): "My dad had three sons, so we traded off going to games with him. I wasn't your typical Nebraska kid. I was a little bizarre. Growing up, I was more of a boxing fan (the Lincoln columnist/commentator boxed from age 5-18) than I was a football fan, so I don't remember all that much about the first game I saw against Missouri. I do remember the game that truly captivated me with Nebraska football - the 1978 upset over Oklahoma. I remember being there, seeing the Sims' fumble and driving back to Columbus. We didn't talk much because we were glued to the radio listening to all the post-game reaction."
Okay, now it's time for First National to withdraw something from your memory bank. Care enough to send your very best to First National because this is a great opportunity. But feel free to send your thoughts our way, too. We'll be working in partnership on this combination Nebraska tradition/Husker fan promotion.
Let the countdown begin for the Aug. 6 entry deadline to share your first Husker game day experience.
Who knows? That first-game Husker experience winner may just show up on Huskers.com, too.
Voices from Husker Nation
It was 1962. Dad took me to the season opener, South Dakota. Everybody wanted to see what this Devaney guy was about and what he could do after the dismal Jennings era. I sat "Knothole" (North end zone) in front of the large, red brick Fieldhouse. Dad took me in to see the "indoor practice facility". It was huge, dark and damp, but still pretty awesome though. Remember, I was only in third grade. I think Knothole tickets were $.50 or $1.00. Like today, the team entered the field from the north. Running right through us, we scattered to keep from getting trampled. What struck me the most about their uniforms were the large curly-que numbers and black numbers on the helmets. When the Cornhusker Marching Band ran onto the field and played those historic opening fanfares from each end zone, I thought it couldn't get any better. I heard "There is No Place Like Nebraska" and "Hail Varsity" for the very first times. My favorite instantly became "March of the Cornhusker", and as an ex-band member, I still know the baritone line by heart. I never did figure out the huge white-faced game clock on the side of the Fieldhouse. It ran backwards, and I had absolutely no clue as to what the remaining time was, but it didn't matter. The best part of all was the cannon on the roof of the Fieldhouse. It was fired after each and every touchdown. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I was truly in sensory overload. I remember after the game how everybody was genuinely amazed that we could score that many points (53), even against South Dakota (0). That was a day I will never forget. I wish I still had that little red ticket. Thanks Dad! Bill Reece, Lincoln, Nebraska Editor's note: In Devaney's debut as Nebraska's head coach, eight players scored touchdowns - Larry Tomlinson, Dennis Claridge, Joe McNulty, Dave Theisen, Kent McCloughan, John Vujevich, Doug Tucker and Noel Martin. The official attendance for the dawn of the Devaney/Osborne Era was 26,953, nearly 59,000 fans fewer than Nebraska's average attendance in 2009.
It was 1964 and our family had just moved to Lincoln. We had very little money at the time as my dad had been out of work. Back in that day, there wasn't the huge demand for tickets that there is today, so the University had a policy that the ticket takers would leave their posts at halftime. Dad asked my brother Steve and me if we wanted to go down for the second half of the Oklahoma State game. Of course we did. It was a sunny mid-November day and Nebraska was unbeaten at the time. As it turned out, most of the excitement happened in the first half, but it didn't matter. From the South end of the end zone, we saw Frank Solich, Kent McCloughan, Lighthorse Harry Wilson and Tony Jeter - all still huge names to me today. The blue sky, all the red in the stands, the electricity in the air and the largest crowd to ever witness an event of any kind in the state of Nebraska hooked two young boys and made sports and Nebraska football a huge part of our lives. My older brother then dreamed of becoming a sports writer and would become the Sports Editor of the Omaha World-Herald. I followed in his footsteps and covered sports for 12 years at the Lincoln Journal and Star before moving on to a new career in Ohio. The experience has extra special meaning today, not because of Nebraska's move to the Big Ten, although I am extremely excited about that for obvious reasons. It's because our father recently passed away, leaving us with this wonderful Game Day memory that would be significant in shaping both of our lives. Steve sent me a note today telling me he found his program from that 1964 game while sorting through memorabilia for possible sale. He said he couldn't part with it for sentimental reasons. Thanks, Dad, for that wonderful life-changing experience. Chuck Sinclair, Kent, Ohio
My first Husker football experience was so long ago I probably shouldn't even bring it up because someone will figure out how old I really am. I was 11, and a buddy and I were given two tickets to a game where we had to scoop about a foot of snow off the seats and make some space for our feet. Even though there was not another soul in the West balcony that day, we sat in OUR seats because they were our first ones ever. I don't know the official attendance figure, but you can only believe about half of what you read anyway. To me, it seemed like about 6,000-8,000 fans. The game was against Pitt, and OMG, was it cold in the middle of November. I think Pitt was nationally ranked, and we were a heavy underdog. The star of our Husker team was a "kid" named Pat Fischer, and he was Mr. Everything that day. I was so taken by this guy that I probably had him playing every position on the team. From that day on, I followed him the rest of the time he was at Nebraska and throughout his career in the pros. I think he was one of the first defensive backs to play bump-and-run, and he did some serious bumping. I will never forget that day because from then on, I started going to all of Nebraska's home football games. Thank goodness there was a knothole section for so many years because I was always there. In fact, I don't think I've missed more than a dozen home games since that first Husker game experience in 1958 (and half of those were in 1970 when I was in Army). It's been a great ride. Bob Danley, Lincoln, Nebraska Editor's note: A three-touchdown underdog, Nebraska took just a 2-6 record into its game against No. 14-ranked Pitt. Fischer, a sophomore, caught a TD pass and a two-point conversion pass. He also was a defensive star and special teams standout, helping the Huskers overcome a 339-189-yard disadvantage in total offense. The crowd was reported at 24,000. A member of one of the most famed families in Nebraska football history, Pat Fischer was a Tom Novak Trophy winner, a team captain, a Nebraska Football Hall-of-Famer and a three-time Pro Bowl selection during his 17 years (1961-77) in the NFL with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Washington Redskins.
In the 1950s, certain Boy Scout troops were allowed to attend Husker football games in return for helping fans to their seats in Memorial Stadium. My troop #256, from Seward, was called on one October afternoon to work a portion of the East Stadium not far from the North end zone. Once everyone was seated, our job was essentially done. Since I had never been to a Husker game before, it was exciting to be in the stands. Although we were expected to be on duty during the game, these were the days before the sellout crowds, so we could take occasional breaks and sit in the available seats. I imagine that I was thinking more about going trick-or-treating that evening than paying attention to the scoreboard. But as the clock wound down in the final few minutes I could see the crowd getting more and more excited. No one was sitting, and it was hard for me to tell exactly what was going on. Suddenly, the crowd erupted. Nebraska had just intercepted a pass, and the Huskers went on to win their first victory over Oklahoma in 17 years, ending the Sooners' NCAA record conference winning streak at 74 games. Our Boy Scout troop didn't get to stay around to watch the fans tear down the goal posts or to participate in the other festivities in Lincoln. We were hustled out of the stadium and into the Scoutmaster's car for the trip back to Seward. But on that 24-mile trip we were told that we had witnessed football history being made. I've since been able to watch quite a few Nebraska games, including, most recently, the December 2008 Gator Bowl win over Clemson in Jacksonville. But I will never forget my first Nebraska game day, on October 31, 1959, a day when history was made. Wayne Moles (NU 1969), Boston, Massachusetts
It was the best dime I have ever spent. It was the 1936 Nebraska-Iowa State game, and I was in the knothole section. When I got into high school a few years later, I had to pay a quarter, and I did it happily, and forever after, I had been hooked. The Huskers won 34-0 and I remember well Sam Francis, Elmer Dohrman, a very tough quarterback named Johnny Howell, and in my opinion, the very best two-way player in the Cornhusker history - Lloyd Cardwell. He was 6'4, 210 pounds, a vicious tackler and a remarkable ball carrier. I had listened to earlier games and kept my own statistics of, I believe, only the yards of the backs. Those were the days. Dutch Flower, Coupeville, Washington and Nelson, Nebraska
I recall my first Husker game at Memorial Stadium on November 24, 1995. That was the last Big Eight game ever played, and it was played by the two giants of the Big Eight - Nebraska and Oklahoma. I was living in Norman, Oklahoma, that year and it was so gratifying to see Big Red win, 37-0. That morning, we attended The Big Red Breakfast at a downtown hotel and were interviewed by the local radio station. That day was really special to me. I will never forget the excitement of game day in Lincoln, Nebraska. I am now looking forward to attending the game in which Nebraska will play (hopefully Oklahoma) in their last Big 12 game in Arlington, Texas, on December 4, 2010. I presently live in Big Ten country and am so happy that Nebraska will be in the Big Ten and win many championships there. Richard D. Neal, Casey, Illinois
I first went to a Husker game in 1961 with my dad - it was against Syracuse, and the reason we went was to watch my mom's second cousin, Stu Howerter, play for the Huskers (we never even met Stu). I was maybe in the fifth grade, and I recall Syracuse steamrolling Nebraska (28-6). I went on to have many, many Knothole Club experiences, and all were wonderful for a youngster in Lincoln, especially after Bob Devaney arrived. Back then, I either climbed the fence to get in when the games started being sold out, or sold Cokes while mostly watching the games. Tony Jeter, Wayne Meylan and Freeman White were all big heroes, and we snuck in to the locker room after every game and begged for used elbow pads and things like that. We were very fortunate kids to have that experience with those guys at that time. I remember Devaney speaking at our Midget Football (Northeast Elks) banquet when we were eighth-graders. Also remember when KU's Gale Sayers took off (past Freeman White) around his left end for a long touchdown. We watched and loved Thunder Thorton, Bob Brown, etc., etc., Go Huskers!! Dan Nelson, Washington, D.C., and Scottsdale, Arizona
I was an 18-year old freshman when I entered the world of Husker Football in 1972. I attended the first game of the season with some college friends of mine from Smith Hall, where we all lived. When I entered the stadium, I experienced the most overwhelming, breathtaking site of my life - a sea of red as far as the eye could see! The red, the enthusiastic crowd, the excitement in the air, and the players running out onto the field ... it was an experience that really no one can fully describe unless they have experienced it. And it is one that I shall never forget! Go Huskers!!! Amy Gaston, Lincoln, Nebraska
All week long I had been bragging to my new law school buddy, Dan, that there was no way in the world that his Huskers could beat my UCLA Bruins. We were tough out west. We had the Lakers, Kirk Gibson, and all the rest. But Dan insisted that his Huskers would wear down my Bruins and give them a good ol' fashion whooping. I wasn't buying it, even though Dan had just finished up his Husker playing career the year before. So on Saturday my newlywed wife and I headed down to Memorial Stadium for our first visit. We were attired in our beautiful light blue and yellow UCLA gear. But since we were students, we didn't have any money for tickets. Quite frankly, I don't really recall what our plan was for getting into the game. But, thankfully, my wife was cute enough that some gatekeeper just let us into the game. We didn't really expect there to be so many people, and we definitely had never seen so many people in red, let alone old grandparents wearing red bib overalls. And we were a bit curious why the crowd had roared and released a sea of red balloons into the sky before we ever made it into the stadium. Anyway, since we had underestimated the time to get into the stadium, we ended up getting in late in the first quarter. By the time that we got inside to actually see the field, it was 28-0 Huskers. I realized that it was going to be a long day, and I was going to be eating a lot of crow on Monday, but we stayed the rest of the game and took it all in. Truly, it was everything I had ever seen on television and then some. Stuart Fagan, San Diego, California
My first Nebraska football game experience was November 29, 1991. I had recently turned seven when my father told me I was going to my first Nebraska game. Every football Saturday my father would dress me up in red and toss me around our living room whenever the Huskers scored or added another win. But until this cold, rainy day at Memorial Stadium, I still didn't know what being a Husker fan really meant. The day began at 6 a.m.. We awoke to a steady rain and a bitter chill of 32 degrees. It was the kind of rain that makes you pray for snow. Driving to the game from Wayne, my father explained rivalries. I learned that from our matchups with Oklahoma, some of the greatest games in sports history were played, and that day would be no exception. The Huskers struggled early. We were down 14-3 at the half. My father told me the game would be decided in the fourth quarter, and his prediction rang true when Calvin Jones took the ball into the end zone from 15 yards out. Jones took off his helmet as if to say, "Look at me." Nebraska's swagger was in full effect, but what I most remember was my father saying, "He's lucky he didn't get a penalty for that." My father belongs to that soft-spoken breed of men that you wouldn't call moralists, but they still found ways to give their sons the values that follow them through life. The Huskers won 19-14. It was a miserable day; it was a triumphal day. But for me, that game serves as a reminder that for every game played in Lincoln, countless unforgettable experiences take place. Every game day, children leave those gates not yet capable of understanding the gravity of what they just experienced, not understanding that their lives will never be the same. Tyler Anderson, Lincoln, Nebraska
I was in fifth grade and took a keen interest in football when I started playing little league football. I had been watching the Huskers on TV since I could remember and gathered around the television with mom, dad and my brothers. Win, lose or draw, it was always special. Then, my dad informed us that he thought his sons were now old enough to attend a Husker game in person. I knew it was going to be amazing, but I didn't yet comprehend to what extent. After a grueling 400-mile ride from Gering, we arrived in Lincoln. We walked the downtown streets early Saturday morning with all the others dressed in red, taking it all in. Then, after a late breakfast, we walked the few blocks to Memorial Stadium to watch the Huskers take on the University of Miami in 1975. I remember going through the turnstyle and ascending the ramp of the North Stadium. Then, I experienced excitement like no other - a feeling that remains just as exciting 35 years later as it did then. I walked out the tunnel and saw a vast green field before me, surrounded by red. Unbelievable! Since then, I have seen many a game in Memorial Stadium, and all have been amazing because of the field, the red, the cheers and the hospitality of the home crowd. It's how college football was meant to be. My memories of Memorial Stadium were revived last fall when two sons (ages 10 and 13) were introduced to the experience after we flew into Lincoln to watch the Florida Atlantic game. It was quite a weekend, and one that my sons still talk about. Tim Barnwell, Wenatchee, Washington Editor's note: Nebraska trailed Miami, 9-7, at halftime of that 1975 game, but the Huskers rallied behind Vince Ferragamo and John O'Leary to beat the Hurricanes, 31-16. Bob Martin was the defensive star that day.
My first Husker game was during my time as a graduate student at UNL (Fall 1998). My wonderful father-in-law knew I really wanted to go to a game, so he found us tickets from friends. I got to watch the Huskers take on Louisiana Tech in an offensive shoot-out. I grew up in Central Kansas during the '80s and '90s, when there were no good football teams in Kansas. Thus, I needed a team to cheer on and that team was Nebraska! Little did I know that I would end up attending school in Lincoln several years later. I was blessed to receive a tuition waiver and stipend while working on my Masters in Political Science. I also was blessed to have an office in Oldfather Hall, peering into the stadium. I still remember being in awe of the Sea of Red which took over the campus. There were lots of little old ladies dressed in their Husker sweaters who arrived several hours before game time. I remember walking to the stadium, passing the wonderful Marching Band, which was playing Husker songs with pride. I remember being the in the stadium, a part of the roaring crowd. I remember the goose bumps I had when the Huskers scored or made a big defensive play. I will never forget my first game watching the Huskers. I had been to games in Lawrence and Manhattan, but nothing prepared me for the sights and sounds of Memorial Stadium. I hope to bring my three children to Lincoln one day, so that they can experience the awesomeness of a Husker game! My 6-year- old may be bringing me to the games in about 12years, as she hopes to attend Nebraska and be a Husker cheerleader! GO BIG RED! Melinda Gaul, Topeka, Kansas
My first Nebraska experience was unforgettable. My friend had moved there and gotten a scholarship from UNL. He always told me that it was a sight I would have to see, that football was passionate and a way of life; that fans were in a class of their own. I live in Arizona and as an Arizona State fan there have been a few instances between the two universities. But my first experience was going to the 2009 Nebraska-Kansas State game - Suhs' last home game as a Husker. The night before the game a few friends and I were talking about who was going to wait in line and at what times for the student section. The first shift started at 4 a.m., which I thought was crazy. Three of us took over at 8 a.m. and by 11:30, when preparing for the game, I decided that I had traveled so far that I needed something that could get me noticed. So I made a sign that said "I flew 1,475.4 miles to see SUH!" The sign is still in my room and on my wall in Arizona. I arrived at the stadium about three hours before game time, and it was a sight to see. Being in the front of the line, my friend said "Run to the front and don't let anyone pass." After hearing the spine chilling screams of "GO BIG RED!" and the fight song by the marching band, I was pumped. The gates of the student section opened, and it was an absolute frenzy. By the time I got to a spot, I was in the 7th row, but a friend got me to the front of the section. I made my way up there and never witnessed something so magnificent. As a college football fan this was "Football Nirvana" - seeing the fans, hearing the cheers, and the endless wonderful words of "GO BIG RED!" I am now a Husker fan and will be back on 10/16/10. Sean Kerr, Scottsdale, Arizona
My first Husker game day was actually not in Memorial Stadium. Growing up, my parents spent every penny they had to send my siblings and I to Catholic school. If a ticket to Memorial Stadium happened to be tossed our direction, mom and dad gladly went. When I turned 18 I was on the first bus to basic training at Ft. Sill. Shortly after, I was stationed in Germany, and there were no Huskers there. For the last five years we've been in Texas. Yes that's right, Texas! During football season those burnt orange colors turn me red! Finally, last year the Huskers were coming to me! I couldn't believe it when Nebraska won the the Big 12 North! I was not going to miss out this time! I waited online the day tickets were released to the public and got enough for my brother, sister her family and mine. I invited everyone down for an early Christmas. We all exchanged Husker-themed gifts, and I got my first corn hat. So, decked out in Husker Red from head to toe and all over our cars, we merrily drove to Cowboys Stadium. We were, of course, honked at the entire way and given the Hook 'Em sign, which we happily returned with our own upside down Horns' hand signal. We all got in our seats directly behind the end zone and waited. Finally it was time the Huskers ran out on the field, and the hairs on my neck shot up. It was amazing how all of us managed to make the stadium roar! I lost my voice yelling SUH and kept my fingers crossed as the clock ticked down to 3, 2 and 1. Nebraska ran out onto the field. We were stunned we won! WE WON! We hugged each other. I hugged the random fan behind me, and then the ref walked out onto the field and put one more second on that Cowboys clock. All I gotta say is we won the game first! (LOL). Seriously, I will never forget my first Husker game. I waited 27 years and bore witness to one of the best games ever! (in my opinion) GO BIG RED!!! Katrina Reid, Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas
My first game was in 1982 against New Mexico State. To my knowledge, the Huskers, led by Mike Rozier, racked up 800 to 900 yards in the contest. I still remember that drive along I-80 and all of the cars. Seeing that many people in one place was quite the sight, as I was only 10 years old. I'll never forget the roar of the crowd as the Huskers came out of that South tunnel! It was then that I truly became a diehard Husker fan and my love for the Huskers has been there ever since. That was a day I will never forget with my dad. We slapped high fives so many times my hand almost fell off. The Huskers won 68-0, and I still have the ticket stub to this day. Now, I take my son to games in Lincoln, and I remember the look in his eye at his first game when the Huskers came out of the North end to Sirus. I know how he felt because I never will forget how I felt that warm summer day in Lincoln for my first Husker game all of those years ago. Shawn Bryant, Sioux Falls, South Dakota (Editor's note: Nebraska broke four NCAA records that day - 1) 883 yards of total offense; 2) 677 yards rushing (and no lost yardage); 3) 36 first downs rushing; and 4) 43 first downs overall (Rozier carried 14 times for 149 yards and three quick touchdowns).
This is a great contest, but I have a question: Will there ever be a contest for those of us who are trying to get to their first Husker Game Day EVER? We've lived outside of Nebraska for 24 years, and my husband and I just moved back last year. My dream is to experience my first Husker football game this year. The first game lands just three days before my 25th wedding anniversary to my high school sweetheart, and I can't think of anything better than being at a game to see my team run out the tunnel and play in Memorial Stadium. Just the thought of being there and feeling the excitement and hearing that stadium rock gives me goose bumps. I know it's something I could never put into words because when we moved back to Nebraska last year and attended Fan Day, I cried as I walked into Memorial Stadium for the very first time. So just the thought of going there to see a game makes me cry. To see my beloved Huskers play would be the greatest joy of my life. I hope that someday there is a contest for people just like me because there are so many of us who have never had the chance to walk into a stadium that has been sold out for half a century. Wendy Woodruff, Lincoln, Nebraska
I remember my first Husker experiences when my dad took me to games at the age of 10. I had no clue what football was, but I realized how fun it could be watching Tommie Frazier and Company. I also experienced my first kiss at a Husker football game, and it was the first time I went to a game with someone other than my dad. Now, every time I go to a game, I love the smell in the air, the way the crowd cheers and the feeling of being so proud to be a Husker - an experience that will always and forever be a feeling that nobody can ever forget. I can't wait to take my 5-year-old son to his first Husker game. Michael Bartek, Weston, Nebraska
My first Nebraska football experience was this year's Spring Game. I was so excited just to be in that Sea Of Red. It was so awesome when the players came out of the tunnel and how the fans screamed and shouted for their beloved team! When Suh came out, I couldn't stop Suhing. It was so awesome to watch those guys play and work hard! I was so amazed at how fans would cheer for both team. That day is a memory I will always treasure. And as I walked out of Memorial Stadium that day, I thought of Bo Pelini's words: "THIS is Nebraska Football!" Nebraska was back, and we are going to stay! For me, the Spring Game was important because Ndamukong left a legacy and an example for everyone. For his teammates, he showed that determination and hard work is the only way to prosper. For us fans, he showed that character and a deep and abiding faith is all you need to get through life. I will never forget Suh for helping bring Nebraska football back to life. Susanna Hall, Lincoln, Nebraska
NEBRASKA DAY by Chris Hoffman
Ever since I was a little boy, and a football was the biggest and best toy,
I had a dream in my head, of one day watching the Big Red.
Many times I've seen them on T.V. But it isn't the same, don't you see?
To see them in person would be the best. If only I knew how to pass the test.
The test of schedules and kids and work. And wondering if the boss would be a jerk.
So a vacation I'd take, up Lincoln way, to see the team I love to watch play.
A glorious day in early November, and many images I'll always remember.
We walked on the field with the Big Red N. Now I know why we always win.
Karen and I had so much fun, watching our boys cut, score and run.
We sat and cheered in the end zone stand, the biggest and best in all the land.
Of course it's a happy ending to our story. The Huskers ground out another victory!
Smiles we wore as we drove through the night,because finally, finally.....I got it just right!
Chris Hoffman, Joplin, Missouri
Editor's note: Hoffman wrote his poem nearly 10 years ago after his first trip to Memorial Stadium where he, his wife and two sons watched Nebraska beat Kansas, 56-17. "We have a couple of pages in our scrapbook with pictures and the poem in it," Hoffman said, adding that Eric Crouch scored four touchdowns and threw a TD pass in the first half of that 2000 NU-KU game in Lincoln.
I remember my first Husker football game like it was yesterday. The date was Oct. 21, 2000, and Nebraska was playing Baylor at home. I had been a diehard Fighting Irish fan my whole life, but my then future wife was a dyed-in-the-wool Husker fan, so I thought I'd go see what the hype was all about. The minute I walked into Memorial Stadium and saw the sea of red surrounding me and the electricity coming from the fans, I was hooked. I got rid of all my Notre Dame apparel and became a diehard Husker fan. I still get goose bumps when I hear the Tunnel Walk music and hear the fans rise in unison when a touchdown is scored or a great sack is made. Thank God for Husker football! Kevin Jackson
My first gameday experience was this year's Spring Game. It was great. All of the fans cheering as the players came out of the tunnel! I wish it would have lasted forever! My favorite part was when Brandon Kinnie pushed seven yards through the pile for the touchdown! When I got on the field to take the drug-free oath, it was so cool! I would give anything to be at a real game! As I walked out of the stadium that day, I said to myself: "Nebraska football is definitely the best football team ever created!" GO HUSKERS!! Caleb Hall, Lincoln, Nebraska