Brent Boyer: Seeing red

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Brent Boyer

Contact Editor Brent Boyer at 871-4221 or e-mail bboyer@SteamboatToday.com.

I emerged from the bowels of Memorial Stadium a lone Buffalo on the Great Plains.

In the weeks leading up to my trip, I had thought nothing of flaunting my Colorado Buffaloes gear in enemy territory, but my pre-game confidence quickly gave way to the realization that I was outnumbered - 85,181 to one. Me. Alone. And yes, even a little bit scared.

Of course, I would soon discover I had nothing to fear, and that upset me even more. It was as if the Big Red Nation wanted to prove it was better than me - us.

They did, and it wasn't hard.

As I walked along the chain-link fence that separated the University of Nebraska players from the fans who idolize them, I felt a little like one of those poor Louisiana Tech players on the visitor's sideline - outnumbered, undersized and pretty sure that at some point of the day I would be humiliated. (They were, by a score of 49-10. And so was I, but CU's opening-game loss to Division I-AA Montana State wasn't announced until most of the crowd had left the stadium.)

As a proud CU alum, there was nothing about the University of Nebraska that I could even pretend to like. The Cornhuskers are the Giants to my Dodgers, the Raiders to my Broncos.

But that was before my visit to Lincoln, Neb.

Don't get me wrong - I never have been nor ever will be a Cornhuskers fan. But I just can't conjure up the hate like I used to, and it's because the University of Nebraska is what my beloved CU will never be: a college football paradise.

It was instantly apparent how much better of a college football atmosphere thrives in Lincoln than ever will in Boulder. It's like comparing apples to oranges, or Champs Sport Bowls to Orange Bowls.

n The student section was standing-room only 45 minutes before kick off; CU students often don't file in to Folsom Field until the second quarter, if they bother to show up at all.

n Nebraska's marching band actually takes the time to learn each opponent's fight song - and plays it before the game as a sign of respect. At Folsom Field, visiting players (and their fans) are greeted with hurled oranges, marshmallows and language that would make Andrew Dice Clay blush.

n Pouring rain had zero - ZERO - effect on attendance at Memorial Stadium last weekend. In Boulder, a light drizzle provides many "fans" with an excuse to not go to the game.

n Cornhuskers fans know every team cheer, chant and song. The best-known cheer at CU is an eight-word diddy that includes two f-bombs.

I had always joked that Nebraskans so love their football team because their geographic misfortune leaves them little else to do. And that still may be the case, but I have a new respect for the greatest fans in college football. And in case they should forget, there are signs over every stadium entrance ("Through these gates pass the Greatest Fans in college football) reminding them of their place in our football-crazed country.

I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. And if I'm lucky, I'll get to see it again.

Comments

jjlaminco 7 years, 7 months ago

Thanks Brent for a positive article about CU and NU. It's great to hear from an outsiders perspective what we NU fans want to project as the true fans of Nebraska football.

Your objectivity is greatly appreciated and your unwillingness to bash the opponent no matter what your experience shows that reporters can be objective and fair.

Living in Colorado I have met good CU fans and poor CU fans but your article reaffirms my belief that CU fans can support their team and still be civil to other fans and other teams.

Thanks again for sharing your experience and I hope that a return visit will be just as positive.

John Lambert - Secretary Coloradans for Nebraska jj.lambert@cocast.net

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conveninetfleet 7 years, 7 months ago

Brent,

All I can really do is reenforce John's already positive comments about your kind words. We love to hear other fans that have your same experience in Lincoln 
Again thank you for objectiveness and if we at Coloradans For Nebraska can ever help you or The Steamboat Pilot & Today with anything, please let us know.

Sincerely

Tim Carrothers President Coloradans For Nebraska

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spanky1 7 years, 7 months ago

I bleed husker red and have had very little respect for CU fan's and their football program but after reading this article maybe things might change Thanks.

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rkuper 7 years, 7 months ago

Brent- Thank you for your honest and enjoyable column about your recent trip to the Univ. of Nebraska. Competition can expose a broad spectrum of human behavior and oftentimes it takes ugly forms when pride is on the line. I look forward to a day when I can return to Folsom Field to watch a competitive battle between the Huskers and Buffs (solely) on the field. Afterwards, regardless of victory, I'd like to enjoy the people, campus and heritage that make Colorado so beautiful. With more appreciative and understanding people such as you, that is indeed possible. Ryan D. Kuper (A Husker in Los Angeles)

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huskerh 7 years, 7 months ago

Brent- I truly appriciate your comments in regards to your experience at the Univ. of Nebraska. I, being a born and raised product of the state of Nebraska, now living in South Dakota the last 20 yrs, never experienced a game in Lincoln. 3 yrs ago (and last year as well) my family had the priviledge of watching our beloved Huskers play at Folsom Field. Such a beautiful setting to take in a game. It would be unfair for me to say that Colorado fans as a whole just dont respect the opposing fans or players, yes things were tossed on the field, we heard alot of swearing and negative things said by mostly students, but in the section we were in alot of Colorado fans were apologetic and very considerate and kind, I sensed a longing for better from most poeple we talked to and sat with, and I feel these folks are the true Buff fans, come good or bad times, like you. I just felt after reading your article , that you should know that there are folks like you out there,oh and by the way, my 3 sons and I will finally get to experience a game in Lincoln Sept. 23 when they play Troy!

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toddashi 7 years, 7 months ago

I'm a Nebraskan in the military and, of course, I love the Huskers. Every program goes through a down cycle and it looks like the Buffs are headed for one. All I can say is "Hurry back!" Those Thanksgiving Day games are one of the highlights of the season. Good luck with the new coach and hopefully we'll see you back in the Top 25 soon.

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kgnome9192 7 years, 6 months ago

Brent: I appreciate your story about CU and NU. There is strong encouragement by Husker fans to be cordial to visiting teams/fans, and I think we pride ourselves to be the best fans possible. I can also appreciate your need to flaunt CU/Buffs stuff in Lincoln. I want to do the same when I'm in Norman, OK. As a Nebraska fan, I've been learly of seeing NU play at Boulder. I would hope that CU and Boulder would make themselves more marketable and outgoing to people visiting for games, whether they're CU or other visiting team fans. Boulder from all accounts is a beautiful city. I know CU is having a low season, but everyone is still looking forward to the Thanksgiving Day game and us Huskers are Buffs fans whenever you guys play Texas. Go Big XII North!

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Huskergumdrop 7 years, 6 months ago

Brent,

A copy of your editorial reached me via friends forwarding it. Although two words may not seem like much, THANK YOU. Like many, I swell with Husker pride. More than the winning or losing, I take pride in the way Husker Nation treats our guests. To me, college sports should be a positive venue where athletes display there best abilities while we as fans support them.

I went to one game in Boulder and was extremely disappointed in what I witnessed. Although the Huskers were humilitated on the field, that was not my biggest disappointment. I attended that game with my 65 year old father and 16 year old daughter. I was spit at while verbal insults were hurled, including words that a 16 year old should not be subjected to. That combined with the negative propaganda by the admininstration demonstrated a part of college sports that I was truly embarrassed by. It is now history.

Although I will probably never subject myself to the mistreatment by CU administration and fans, I will always do my best to ensure that CU fans are NEVER treated that way when coming to Lincoln. I realize that may not be realistic, but I will be the first to say something to a Husker fan who speaks ill or mistreats an opponent or a fan of that opponent.

All that said, again I thank you for your positive words in your newspaper. It is being circulated around the Husker Nation. If you are ever back in Lincoln I hope you are once again able to enjoy a positive atmosphere as a guest in our city.

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GrisGris 7 years, 6 months ago

Great observations Brent! I have spent a lot of time in small town, western Nebraska and have observed politeness that I have never seen before. I am a CU football fan, because I live in Boulder and can attend the games. I attend the CU/NU game every year it is in Boulder and I have been embarrassed by unruly fans every time!! Drunken kids wanting to fight with every red shirt that walks by, foul language without regard to children sitting nearby, items tossed at players and on and on.... I would love to attend the game in Lincoln, wear my gold and black, and take notes.... I've been told I would be treated with respect. After my friends' assurances, your article, and my own interaction with the fine people of western Nebraska, I would expect nothing less.

I say "Go Big Red" to the nicest "FAN"atics in college ball!!!

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jk80487 7 years, 6 months ago

I really appreciate your editorial, Brent.

I was also in Lincoln at Memorial Stadium for the LA Tech game in September. Reminded of my time as a student at the University, the marching band's pre-game performance, the tunnel walk and the roar of the crowd brought tears to my eyes as I stood tall.

I didn't understand the uniqueness of Husker Nation until I had lived outside of Nebraska. It's nice to hear these things from a non-Nebraskan, especially a fan of a big rival. Thank-you, Brent.

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slyders 7 years, 5 months ago

I happened to get a copy of this article passed to me by friends that live in Nebraska. My daughter was a member of the Golden Buffalo Marching Band for several years, and continues to help the Marching Band during home games. She has commented that CU really does have some bad fans, and with the actions over the past several years, that's hard to dispute.

Let's face it, you don't often see fan bases like Nebraska or Michigan, the self-proclaimed greatest fan bases, and their fans really do travel well.

Having said that, I believe that you need to check your observations of the student section of CU-Boulder at home games. The entire student section stands for the entire game. Always. More importantly, they sing the words to the fight songs, even the lesser known songs.

The Golden Buffalo Marching Band always performs pre-game activities with visiting marching bands or pep bands, and not once do you see a sheet of music used by the CU band members. The Golden Buffalo Marching Band members are generally on very cordial terms with the visiting bands, often sharing activities with the visitors.

Most importantly, for the first time in many years, the CU Marching Band will send a pep-band to Lincoln at their invitation. Normally, UNL does not extend pep band invitations, or marching band invitations, since they cannot ensure their safety during or after games.

So, please do your research, take in a CU game, listen to the Golden Buffaloes Marching Band, and get treated to some of the best university marching band performances in the Big-12.

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sethb86 7 years, 4 months ago

Ok, about the last coment on the board. I am a student at UNL. I go to all of the games. Since, I have gone to the games Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Missouri, Texas, Kansas, and just recently Colorado have brought bands to Memorial Stadium. I am a sophomore, so I have only seen this occur for two years. There have been a lot of bands here since I became a student. We never disrespect opponents bands and it is not the first time that opposing teams have came to memorial stadium. Maybe you should look at the facts.

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