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Nebraska fans take pride in program

I am responding to Neil Rudel’s column (Oct. 10) on Nebraska being his favorite Big Ten road trip.

My wife and I live in Vienna, Virginia, and we have lived there for decades. However, I am originally from Omaha, Nebraska, and she is from Nanty Glo.

We are both Penn State and Nebraska fans, and I have ventured to many games in Happy Valley.

The thing about Nebraska that’s probably unlike any other program in the country is the team truly represents the identity of the state, the people, the values and the community.

The people of Nebraska take a profound deep sense of pride in that.

Nebraska fans want wins as much as any other fans, but they will also tell you that they want those players to represent what Nebraska is all about, and that is why even in the recent years of struggles, you will never see an empty seat in Memorial Stadium.

The fans show up because they have a deep rooted sense of pride.

Indeed, after every game, Nebraska fans — win or lose — stand and applaud the opposing team as they leave the field. Another tidbit is the Nebraska fans pay their respect by playing the opposing school’s fight song, which is something I have never seen done at any other stadium, and I have been to many college football games in my years.

When opposing fans walk down the street in Lincoln, it is not uncommon that a Nebraska fan will buy them dinner or invite them to have dinner with them. It is just the way they do things in Lincoln.

My son and I have attended many games in Happy Valley, and we have had great times as well. The 2002 game was the exception, which was well documented when PSU fans got out of control and hurled objects at Nebraska cheerleaders, who had to be escorted off the field for their safety.

I remember Graham Spanier taking out a full-page letter of apology in the Omaha World Herald apologizing to Nebraska fans. I think it was the exception, though. It was a night game, people started drinking early and all day long, and it just seemed to really spiral.

I remember my wife and I were so concerned for our safety that we left before the end of the third quarter.

That being said, we have mostly had great experiences. That trip when our RV was having issues, my son went to the RV next door to ask if we could have a cup of coffee because the power in our RV was completely out. Our neighbors were PSU fans, and not only did they give us coffee but they fixed us this huge breakfast.

And there have been trips where it has been 25 degrees out but as soon as the creamery opened, the first thing in the morning, we are up there having our traditional scoop of ice cream.

As someone who lives in Virginia, I have followed Virginia Tech for decades, and I will tell you they are amazing fans as well.

We have gone to games in Blacksburg, and everyone is polite. They welcome you, they wish you luck in the game, and the students are polite. It’s just a great atmosphere all around, and they are probably the only fans I have seen that I would compare to Nebraska fans, which has a bit of irony in and of itself.

When Frank Beamer first started coaching, he said he essentially “puppetted” everything Tom Osborne was doing at Nebraska.

At any rate, I appreciated the great shoutout to Nebraska fans. That was a very classy thing to do, and I know many Nebraska fans saw the article and appreciated it.

Kevin Foley

Vienna, Virginia

Pitt fan: Slow entry at Heinz, too

Pitt and Penn State fans rarely see eye to eye. However, when I read the Oct. 19 front page article about PSU ticketing nightmares, I had a deja vu moment.

I have bachelor’s of science and graduate degrees from Pitt and was a season ticket holder for most of my adult life.

These days, I go to games when I am back home for a visit and the weather is cooperative — a last-minute kind of thing.

I typically buy tickets on the street as I walk to the game.

My horrendous experience attending Pitt’s Labor Day weekend game (vs. Virginia) all came back to me as I read about the new PSU online/digital ticketing process.

Upon reaching Heinz Field, I encountered a line from the ticketing area part way around the end of the stadium. I got in line, which was four to five people wide and rapidly growing back to the street and then wrapping out of sight around the side of the stadium.

When I finally neared the bank of ticket windows, it was obvious that the process was enveloped in chaos, sales people running in every direction and the system in meltdown.

I told the frazzled ticket agent that I’ve been coming to games for four decades and never encountered anything like this — and I’m near the front of the line — you have a line of very angry fans behind me that stretches around the stadium.

He told me they were trying to force all tickets to digital/online, and the public isn’t adapting or getting the message.

I told him to have a nice day and that I wouldn’t likely be back, and I finally reached my seat at the start of the second quarter.

Things worked so much better before they were “new and improved.”

Jeff Showalter

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware