"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

12.29.2005

husker du-da-day

Last night was the Mastercard Alamo Bowl, and, thanks to the wonderful vice-president of Mastercard for whom I babysit, once again this year I had club-level seats, nice parking, passes for dinner beforehand, and passes to the endzone club throughout the game. So San Antonio it was. We had to run by the hotel to pick up the tickets beforehand, and it just so happened that we arrived right when the Nebraska team was boarding their buses. There's nothing quite like riding up a glass elevator while hundreds of Nebraska fans are chanting "Go Big Red!" below you, let me tell you.

I managed to run that gauntlet and my friend Mark-not-the-Methodist and I got over to the dome for dinner. While we were sitting there, the v.p. comes over and says, "Hey, do you two want some field-level seats on the 40-yard-line?" Hmm. Let me think. We snapped them up and headed down to the most amazing seats I've ever had for a football game (excluding my time in the Baylor Line/student section. Lessons we learned from that? 1) Take a knee, 2) Take a knee.). Right behind the Michigan bench. Right by the game. Right by the cameraman. I was on the jumbotron for about 2 seconds. It was amazing.

And also a really good game. I was excited to get to see two teams with such history and tradition take one another on. We didn't know who to cheer for. When I asked the Smartest Twelve-Year-Old I Know who we should cheer for, he said, "I'm cheering for Michigan." How come? "Because we're staying in the Nebraska team hotel. And I want to sleep." Can't argue with that logic, especially given that last night would've been a really good night to rob houses in Lincoln, because it appeared that the whole state of Nebraska had decamped to the Alamo Dome. But there were a decent number of Michigan fans as well. Our section was mostly full of people who didn't care (I spent most of the fourth quarter talking to a high school coach, who was busy trying to help the Wisconsin fan sitting behind me who'd bet a lot of money on the game, who was watching the twelve-year-olds beside us make a "Sportscenter is next" sign.), so it wasn't weird that we weren't super into it for one team or the other. Mark was definitely not the only one in Longhorn gear, and, like most of the Texas fans there, we decided to cheer for the conference. Goodness knows the Big XII needs to look good this year. (Do you see how close to the field we were? Wow!)

The game itself was exciting and interesting, and ended on an absolutely crazy play that should have resulted in a defensive penalty. You can watch it here. We were totally stunned - it was just the wildest thing ever, and the ultimate tackle finally happened about fifteen yards from our seats. The officiating throughout the game was pretty bad, and there should've been a penalty on Nebraska for having too many players on the field -- meaning that the game wouldn't have ended because you can't end a game on a defensive penalty. No penalty was called, though, and Nebraska won, 32-28. We stayed through the trophy presentation and slapped hands with every member of Nebraska's team for kicks at the end when they took a victory lap. If only it was our team! But it was such a great evening and it made me even more excited about next week. Six days!