Monday, October 10, 2011

Memorial Stadium

Life is like a roller coaster, but not for the normal reason you might think. Sure life is filled with ups and downs (like a roller coaster), but for most people life isn't as exciting as a roller coaster. Generally speaking each day is the same. You eat the same breakfast before going to the same job in the same city that you spend most of your time. Most people live in the same house for a long time and hope to have a long and happy marriage with the same person. Life consists of the boring monotony of the day to day living, which should make you wonder why I am comparing it to a roller coaster.

The reason is that to go on a roller coaster you need to wait in line. For some popular rides at places like Cedar Point you have to wait in lines that last at least an hour. You wait and wait for a ride that can be over in less than a minute. That is like life. Life is boring and you find yourself waiting for those few exciting moments that make it all worth while. You work 5 days a week, so that you can let loose over the 2 day weekend. You plan for a year to take a European trip that only lasts a week. You put in a lot of time in hopes of a few moments of freedom.

Sports can be like that in that you wait and wait for transcendent moments. I had one of those this weekend in Lincoln, Nebraska watching the Cornhuskers come from a 21 point defecit to defeat Ohio State

The context of the experience is that I grew up a huge Huskers fan. My Mom's side of the family is from Nebraska and one of my extended family members indoctrinated me with posters of Memorial Stadium and a subscription to Huskers Illustrated. I was as big of a fan of Nebraska as I was Duke, the Jazz, etc. Something happened in college (a combination of the Huskers hiring Bill Callahan and the Redhawks becoming a good team with Roethlisberger) though as I found myself to drift away from rooting for Nebraska. I still wanted them to win, but Huskers football was no longer appointment viewing.

Still, I am and always will be a Nebraska fan. One thing that I needed to do as a fan is make the trip down to Lincoln for a football game. When Johnny suggested that we meet there for the game this past weekend against Ohio State, it gave me a chance to change the fact that I had never been there before. This weekend consisted of about 16 hours of driving for only about 7 hours of tailgating and watching the game. That is a high driving/activity ratio, but it was worth it. The game was incredible and the fact that I saw a Nebraska home game is one thing that I will always remember. I will forget the drive, but the game is something that was much better to experience live than on the TV.

In the end I had an amazing time this weekend. My only regrets are not doing enough in Lincoln. I wish we would have a better tailgating spot (an open lot next to Huskers fans), better seats (not that ours were bad, but the sideline would be better than the end zone) and time to go out on O street after the game. There will be a chance to do things better for a future game. However, when I compare driving that way and going to the game compared to my previous weekend plans of sitting around and watching TV then it is clear that I made the right decision. Also, when I think about how even though I want to go back there is no guarantee that I will go back. Instead of making me upset though, that thought actually brings a smile to my face because I know that at least I went to one game at Memorial Stadium.

Games like this past one make being a sports fan worthwhile. It remind you why you follow sports and why a 16 hour drive to see a game played by a bunch of people you don't know isn't crazy. It is nice that when things can get bad (and for most of my favorite teams things are bad) you can have moments of joy. What a great game and a great experience in Nebraska.

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