Huskers fans find that old feeling
HERSHEY, Neb. -- I was driving eastbound on Interstate 80 to "The Bar" on Friday, sporting sunglasses and imitating Stevie Wonder's head-bob while listening to his "Definitive Collection" compact disc.
"I wish those days . . . would . . . come back once more . . . Why did those days. . . "
Then a question hit me, after passing by the Ogallala exit -- 'Why do I keep coming back to this place?'
It didn't take long after pulling into this railroaders' town of more than 500 to be reminded of the answer. It's the 60 or so patrons swarming toward Kathie's superb buffalo chili, Penny's tasty jalapeno cornbread and Hawk's awesome barbecue sauce. It's Rod's new nine-foot big screen television in the expanded bar room, Rick showing up sick to pledge support for CU and Billy jumping around in a white construction hat designed to look like a Cornhuskers helmet.
I've come to this town five years in a row, to hang with Huskers fans -- and watch CU deal Nebraska a spanking. Each time there's been something new to see, and this year was no different. At halftime, I was shown "The Caboose" -- located just across the street from The Bar -- and "The Jail", which is a block down the road. Unoccupied eye-sores, but interesting nonetheless.
It was appropriate to see The Jail since Nebraska had CU's offense locked up the entire game.
"We've had all the pieces," said long-time resident (and ham and bean soup-maker) Fred Ovalle, who has become a friend over the past five years. "The offense has the pieces, the defense has the pieces. Today, the coaches showed up."
On Friday, Nebraska fan at The Bar was in rare form -- rare because they usually sat quiet watching Colorado win three of the previous four meetings. There was playful teasing, some light taunting and some heavy beer guzzling.
Ovalle, who is a Diet Coke fiend, vowed to change beverages when the Cornhuskers went up 20-3. "If this keeps up I'm going to have to drink regular Coke," he said. When Nebraska scored to make it 27-3, Ovalle kept his word.
Meanwhile, a Buffaloes fan walked toward the back of the room with a dejected look. "That's all right -- look at the standings. Nebraska's near the bottom. We're near the top," he said. Nebraska fan didn't care about the standings. It's the scoreboard that counts, and on Friday it read like a Colorado area code -- 30-3
"Go . . . Big . . . Red," Rod hollered into the microphone. For one Friday, those good days at "The Bar" had come back once more.