The Essence of Veterans, Bands, Spirit, Sportsmanship
Since at least 3,000 Nebraska fans will be in Minneapolis Saturday morning for a Big Ten Conference football game that will honor Veterans Day in a nationally televised game on Fox Sports 1, the N-Sider is sharing facts that showcase the Husker program in a unique light.
Despite the two teams’ identical 4-5 records with three regular-season games remaining, this blog digs into the very essence of American veterans, marching bands, the spirit of football and the sportsmanship that draws fans into new facilities like Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium.
Both teams need a pair of victories in the final three weeks to secure a postseason bowl game. Following last week’s Husker overtime loss to Northwestern, I urge the nearly 3,000 Big Red fans who purchased their tickets through Nebraska’s Ticket Office should take a deep breath, smile widely, attend Friday night’s Nebraska pep rally in Minneapolis and stay positive, regardless of the outcome.
Nebraska’s Loyalty Matches Its Fight Song: We All Stick Together in All Kinds of Weather
That rationale goes beyond all the eyes that scrutinize last week’s bummer of an ending that became a heartfelt reminder of how different Nebraska football fans are from almost every other program in the country.
My thoughts, gleaned from others who shared their opinions with me on a number of issues last Saturday, go beyond Nebraska’s 893 victories, tied for fourth all-time. They also know the Huskers have won five national championships and played in 53 bowl games, the second best total in NCAA history.
Nebraska’s three Heisman Trophy winners do not lead the nation, but the Huskers’ 107 first-team Academic All-Americans lead the nation.
Nebraska football is the only team in any sport in NCAA history to total 100 athletic and 100 academic All-Americans.
We end this unmatched list of accomplishment with this gigantic kick – Memorial Stadium has been sold out of every game since Nov. 3, 1962, a streak of 360 consecutive sellouts.
One American Veteran Finally Got to See His Beloved Huskers in Memorial Stadium
One of Saturday's most compelling stories came from Duane Christensen, a proud farmer (pictured in the middle of photo above). An Arcadia, Neb. native, Christensen is a former Marine Corps Corporal who served with the maintenance battalion first force Marine regiment at Da Nang Air Force Base, South Viet Name as a rifleman, plus ransport operator/night dispatcher.
"I was in the Marines for two full active years and four years in reserves," Christensen told me. "I've never been inside Memorial Stadium until today, but I do listen to almost every game on the radio while I ranch and farm. I'm a big fan, and I always root for Nebraska whether they win or lose. This stadium is amazing. I'm proud to finally come here because it's always sold out."
Retired Air Force Master Sergeant Martin "Casey" Jones (left above) served as a medical technician aboard aeromedical evacuation C-130s during the Viet Nam War. At right is Defense Threat Reduction Agency Deputy Director, Rear Admiral Scott Jerabek, who was honored Saturday. A video highlighted the National Strategic Research Institute.
Northwestern Graduate Assistant for the Band Marvels at Nebraska's Sellout Streak
Count Northwestern graduate and band assistant Patrick Buchroder (pictured above) as a believer in Nebraska's well deserved national reputation and prominence. "This place is truly remarkable," Buchroder said. "It's an unbelieveable sight seeing all the red inside another sellout. To me, selling out 360 straight games dating all the way back to 1962 is one of the most commendable records you can have. On top of that, Nebraska has so much school pride and great respect for the teams that come here to Lincoln.
"The way Nebraska treats the opposing team is both commendable and admirable," Buchroder said. "I look at all the statistics Nebraska has accomplished, and you can see why they succeed. They treat people with continuous warmth and the way they welcome people is a big part of their culture. We love the way Nebraska hosts the visitors and we appreciate the healthy rivalry through all the spirit and the competition. We like the Big Ten scale and have great respect for Nebraska in this conference."
Northwestern Graduates Had Fun in Lincoln and Appreciated Memorial Stadium
Two Northwestern graduates have always wanted to see a football game against Nebraska, and they finally got that opportunity last Saturday. John Glass (above left) and Michael Garson (right) embraced the experience and would love to return to Lincoln whenever they get the chance.
A product development specialist for one of the nation's biggest drugstores, Glass raved about the reception he and his friend received on their first trip to Lincoln. "Nebraska fans and everyone else could not have been nicer or better hosts," he said. "The spirit here is absolutley incredible. Every minute was exciting, even when we were behind."
Garson, a strategy consultant, was equally impressed with Nebraska's entire game day atmosphere. "Lincoln is everything I thought it would be and then some," he said. "Our friends have been telling us for several years that we have to see a game at Nebraska. They told us that Nebraska's a great place to see a game, whether you win or lose. I've been to most of the Big Ten venues and to a lot of bowl games, but this is the top. The people here are so welcoming and so genuine. This is a tremendous trip, win or lose."
Glass listened to his friend and then added one more important thought. "This is a really, really cool place, and I get why everyong keeps that consectutive sellout streak going," he said. "Nebraska has sold out of more games than anyone else in the history of college football. I've never seen more welcoming fans. It's just an amazing atmosphere."
Nebraska Alumni Association Hosting This Football Friday in Minneapolis
The Nebraska Alumni Association is asking Husker fans to "kick off your away-game experience with Football Friday, the Nebraska Alumni Association’s family-friendly event series, at The Pourhouse in Minneapolis (10 S 5th St. #11)."
Connecting with other Husker fans includes giveaways, entertainment, food and drinks. The Husker Sports Network, with host Greg Sharpe along with Matt Davison, Nate Rohr and Ben McLaughlin, will be broadcasting Sports Nightly live on location.
"This is a good way to connect with alumni across the country when we're able to host events in various cities," Derek Engelbart told me. The associate executive director for alumni relations said that is especially true throughout the Big Ten.
"There is no place like Nebraska," Engelbart added, "and we always enjoy reminding others of that mantra no matter where we might be."
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