Behind Enemy Lines: Gameday In Lincoln

Behind Enemy Lines: Gameday In Lincoln

Written October 9th, 2011 by MaliBuckeye
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Next to last set of sights from Nebraska- mostly focusing on the events pre-game. This may read like a letter from your aunt on vacation… remember, sometimes she has good things to say.  Oh, and yes, I’ll talk about the game itself a bit later… once my therapist says it’s OK.

I arrived at the stadium around 11:00, which seems early for a 7:00 game but seems ludicrous given that it was 9:00 AM Los Angeles time.  Even though the Buckeyes won’t be back for several years, I’ve got to take this moment to strongly encourage Ohio State fans to travel to a game here at some point in their lifetime… seriously, they take “Husker Hospitality” as a challenge.

Upon arriving, I had the opportunity to survey the wonder of the ESPN truck… and all I did, for the record, is survey.  The suggestions I received via text and email would have surely landed me in jail for the game, although I’m confident even there someone would have asked me if I was having a nice visit to Lincoln.

The Huskerest Picture Ever

Moving onward I decided to connect with some folks I’d met via Buckeye Planet, and was welcomed into my first Nebraska tailgate to talk football and watch the OU/UT game. The consensus- this is the “asteroid strike” game for Husker fans, similar to our TTUN/ND wishes.  In talking conference expansion, the overall vote is “anyone but Texas”.

After bidding these folks adieu, I connected with some other Buckeye fans from Columbus for a “tour of Lincoln’s finest watering holes”. Even there, Scarlet and Gray was proudly represented (with the exception of a couple of Michigan fans), and I actually met people who were familiar with my ridiculously small corner of Ohio.

Following that adventure, we ended up underneath a bridge at yet another tailgate opportunity. While we had a “destination” and connections to meet up with, it seemed as if every group we passed offered words of welcome and invitations to join them. Free beverages were not turned down by many I was with- certainly wouldn’t want to be rude, right?

Gracious To A Fault

The area we ended up at was a friend of one of our group, and was also a birthday celebration for one of the Big Red fans whose family we joined temporarily.  When I attempted to wish them a “Happy Birthday”, I was informed that they weren’t present at the time… too hung over from the previous evening’s activities. That, my friends, is tailgating (and birthdaying). Instead, I was pointed at amazing beef ribs and baked beans (which reminds me- Apologies to the people sitting behind us at the game), told to help myself, and immediately engaged in discussions about the conference.

We also, in our meanderings, met a group of folks from the Chicago area who have been tailgating random games every year as a tradition- they just choose the game, make the plans, and then show up from wherever they are. They’d been to Michigan, Mississippi, Alabama, and numerous other spots, and picked my brain a bit about a west coast trip. This is an idea I can get behind.

As it grew closer to gametime, I bid our hosts and my caravan adieu and headed back over to the stadium to connect with our friends at Time and Change Clothiers. I had touched base earlier in the day, but their whole group hadn’t yet arrived at the stadium- it was a long, construction filled trip from Kansas City (where family was from). This time, Buckeye hospitality was on display, although I’m still a bit sad they didn’t bring up any Arthur Bryant’s.

The Time & Change Team

We talked about upcoming plans for the company (stay tuned for a big announcement in the next weeks), as well as some Buckeye football- Billy mentioned how excited Michael was to go against Nebraska’s All American defensive lineman Jared Crick. I also took a moment to meet the honorary team captain for the game; Ram linebacker James Laurinaitus:

Wish He Had Eligibility Left

At about that time, the team buses arrived from the hotel and the players headed to the locker room. It’s always great to see Tyler Moeller…

Buckeye Star

although the biggest cheer went up for returning offensive lineman Mike Adams:

Back To Business

There were a number of family members and other Ohio State folks gathered to welcome the team or around after they arrived. Since I’ve already name dropped, I can go ahead and say that I was glad to have met John Simon’s father (and gladder still to have lived to tell the tale) and that I crossed one item off of my “Buckeye Bucket List” by having a brief conversation with Archie Griffin.

Like I said, there were other folks there too-

Getting An Early Start

Dead Man Walking?

By this time, folks were lining up to get inside of the stadium, including a number of rabid Buckeye fans:

Now That’s A Suit

The atmosphere was beginning to be electric by the stadium…

Par-TAY!

and I also discovered that Ohio State is not the only B1G school to have “superfans”

Their Parents Are Proud, No Doubt

At last, it was time to meet the spousal unit and head into the stadium. Since we were using her family’s tickets, we connected in front of Memorial’s version of the rotunda-

Quaint, huh?

and then found our seats on the 25 yard line, 14 rows from the field.  It’s a rough life.

Before The Wheels Fell Off

A few wrap up thoughts- I wish I’d gotten a photo of the Husker tradition after the first score… they release red balloons, which slowly fill the air in and over the stadium before drifting out into the night.  The fact that I thought “Wow, that’s awesome. Wonder what the environmental impact is?” is proof that I’ve been in California way too long.

The second thought is this- I spent a lot of time apologizing to our hosts for the way that they’ll be treated in Columbus next year. I know that this is not the totality of Buckeye Nation, and that we’re nowhere near as bad as some schools (coughWisconsincoughPennStatecough), but we do have a reputation for being hard on fans from “enemy” schools. My hope is that every Buckeye who was in Lincoln this past weekend will work to correct this, if only for one week next year… we need to discover a way to treat these great folks with the same kindness that they showed all of us.

Next up- I uncurl from the fetal position and talk about the game itself.

8 Comments

  1. Kelvin RanseyNo Gravatar
    October 9th, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    Hey Mali, Did you notice how Nebraska and Wisconsin had the exact same home and road uniforms, including colors and stripes on both the tops and pants? And then this year adidas thickened the stripes on Nebraska’s jerseys, surely to distinguish them from Wisconsin’s, who is also supplied by addidas.

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    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    October 9th, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Why do I always get the uniform questions? :)

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  2. Husker GalNo Gravatar
    October 10th, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    FYI Balloons are made of latex. Latex is a natural product of rubber tree sap, it breaks down when exposed to the elements of nature.. Results from studies indicate that the decomposition time for balloons is about the same rate as an oak leaf (6 months).

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    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    October 10th, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    Whew!

    [Reply]

  3. HuskerOHNo Gravatar
    October 10th, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Barry took the NU traditions to Wiscy to build his program.

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  4. Slim Jim HuskerNo Gravatar
    October 10th, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Wisconsin was awful. My son had a terrible time up there. Glad you had a good trip to Lincoln and a good experience. We take a lot of pride in treating folks well. Suprised you guys aren’t a little more courteous. We just love a good football game. Like you guys, we’ve won our share of them. No need to be a jackass. Take care and thanks again for the kind words.

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  5. HerbieNo Gravatar
    October 11th, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Glad to see that the Ohio State fans had a good time and were treated well by Nebraska fans. It’s a matter of pride to us in how we treat visitors, and we love helping to ensure a return trip for tOSU fans to Lincoln down the road in a few years time.

    The question that has yet to be answered, though, is if any of the tOSU fans dared to take consume a Runza? Opinions on what is a Nebraska institution seem to be like it or hate it, with little in-between. :)

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    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    October 11th, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Yup- had a home made one from grandma and one at a tailgate.

    With enough mustard, anything’s palatable. :D

    [Reply]

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