Monday, September 29, 2008

A Trip to Lincoln for Some Football

For those of you who haven't visited my sadly out-of-date home page, let me fill you in on a small fact: I am a huge college football fan. My wife's reaction when I turned on the first game of the season a few weeks back was telling: "Great, football season already?" She knew I'd be glued to the drama of game after game for the next several months.

This past weekend, I traveled to Lincoln, Nebraska, to watch my Virginia Tech Hokies take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers. This was a game I'd looked forward to ever since it made the schedule, a quality out of conference contest at one of the toughest venues in college football. Even busy with our house hunt and trying to save money left and right, I knew this was a game I had to attend; how often do you get to see your team play Nebraska in Lincoln if you're not from the Big 12?

True, Nebraska may lack the luster of its championship years of the past, but we're still taking about a team that rarely loses at home to out-of-conference foes--prior to playing Tech, Nebraska had only lost at home at night four times ever, to the likes of USC and top-10 Washington and Texas teams. Championship contenders or not, Nebraska plays hard at home, and few (myself included) expected a Tech win--I was simply hoping for a good game.

Let me stop for a moment and point out that the Nebraska fans are by far and away the classiest group of people I've ever encountered. Perhaps my trips to Morgantown, WV, home of the flaming couch-burners, and the countless beers and f-bombs tossed my way by their fans (as well as moonings and curse-laden tirades by their fans on the road in Blacksburg!) has colored my expectations for football fans. But nonetheless, all day long we had Nebraska fans thanking us for coming to the game, mentioning how impressed they were by the number of Tech fans who'd made the trip, wishing us well and expressing the hopes for a good game, etc. During the contest, we didn't have drunk Nebraska students screaming obscenities at us or the refs. And afterwards, we were congratulated by many an unhappy fan in red and black. Heck, when I arrived at my hotel after the game, a Nebraska fan asked me what I thought of their hospitality, asked if I'd been mistreated at all, etc., to which I was honestly able to say: "No, you guys are the best fans I've ever met, and I really hope we can return the favor when you come to see us next year in the 'burg."

I won't go into detail about the game, but needless to say, it was exciting and fun to watch, particularly since Tech came out on the winning end when the final whistle sounded. I may have been bleary-eyed when headed to the airport the next morning in Omaha (where I received an op-up to first class due to the plane being so full--didn't even have to spend an upgrade certificate!), but in the end, it was a great trip and well worth the time.

If you're a fan of college football and have a chance to travel to Lincoln, I really encourage you to avail yourself of the opportunity. You won't regret it, regardless of the outcome of the game.

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