A Husker’s Life
If you were born in Nebraska in the latter half of the 20th century, becoming a Husker fan may not seem like it was a choice. It was more a matter of destiny. Lincoln is populated with many sons and daughters of small farm communities throughout the state drawn by the university. That was my grandfather's story and he took me to my first game.
I can't say I recall the opponent. Only that it was one of Tom Osborne's outstanding early 1980's teams on a nice day and the Huskers won easily. Like most children, I was captivated by the practice of releasing balloons after the opening score. I enjoyed a Coke or 7up at the game and some popcorn. I also recall an explosive play or two for touchdowns. It would not be the only game I attended with Grandpa.
By 1987, I was emotionally invested in the Huskers. I was hooked. It seemed sort of automatic then, that I would attend the same school as my grandfather and my parents. My grandfather had a successful career as an agronomy professor (and department chair) at UNL but always lived modestly. In his later years, much of what he'd saved was given back to the school and the community. For all of his family that were UNL grads, he purchased lifetime memberships in the Alumni Association. We're reminded of this gift every time the Alumni newsletter arrives.
In his 90's, it became clear that our time with him was getting short. My father became a caretaker, seeing him several times a week. Living out of state, we wanted to be sure my kids got to visit with him and the weekend we chose was a football weekend. I made sure that they attended a game with their grandfather. So not only did he take me to my first game, he indirectly did the same for my kids.
Grandpa passed yesterday, leaving behind a family that will always love and miss him and a legacy of pioneering work in sustainable farming. He also brought his family to the game. Now, I think he has an even better seat.