I became a little bit of a Nebraska Cornhusker football fan when they first became national champions. As a junior high kid I rah-rahhed with the rest of the state, because winning is good, and at six-feet two and 130 pounds, it was as close to being a champion as I was ever going to get.
When they quit being national champions, I went back to idolizing guitar players. I later attended the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and I looked forward to Husker football Saturdays because the tennis courts were empty. I had a discounted student football ticket, which I offered to my then-brother-in-law. He despised me for being a Heathen Ticket-Selling Pinko, although he still took the ticket.
My in-laws would gather to watch every televised game, but they’d turn the sound off and listen to radio announcer Lyell Bremser instead. Fans for decades, they preferred his emotional play-by-play over the staid TV commentators who were often from out-of-state and didn’t always know they were supposed to root for the Huskers. Watching the game and listening to old Lyell, I often wondered if he was watching a different game. He struggled with names, scores, even directions. As with other things, my in-laws valued volume and enthusiasm over being right. And after all, it was their TV.
I find that Omaha is a little more Husker loyal than the rest of the state. A recent newspaper article quoted various popular restaurants complaining that they were empty on Saturday nights due to televised games, even though to date the Huskers have only won twice, the first a decisive victory over the Daughters of The American Revolution, and the second a squeaker against the Milwaukee Junior College for The Blind.
People were staying home Saturday nights even if it was a morning game, presumably because fans spent the day nervously gulping Fritos and bratwursts and air, simultaneously eating and burping and yelling at the television until they were sick and didn’t want to do anything else. At least, that’s what I did.
Mick’s has been slower the last few Saturday nights too. This Saturday and next we have two of the year’s most interesting performances, and to make sure people don’t miss something great, we’re making special concessions to coax them out.
Although we’ve gone five years without a TV in the bar, we’re going to add a big screen right behind the musicians, so you can watch both the artist and the game. We’ll play the game backwards so that the Huskers make a comeback, narrowing the score until dramatically ending the game in a 0-0 tie. We want you to be happy. We’ll serve hot wings.
We’ll turn the TV sound off, substituting the soundtrack for Pink Floyd’s “The Wall.” It is epic watching coach Bo Pelini as he appears to sing along to the lyrics of “Mother.”
One exception: we won’t be showing the Nebraska-Oklahoma game, because—oh man—we can’t bear to look.