Boomer. It may be possible I have said that word more than any other in my lifetime. At least it seems like it.
Boomer, has brought much joy and heartache in my life. It can only be after finishing reading this blog, that one would understand the nature of my boomer mind-set. First of all, I was born a “boomer”. Without even knowing the extent the boomer world would invade mine over the course of my life. There I was, a boomer. Being born a boomer means you were born in a certain era in the US, from 1946 – 1964. That was me, born in 1959. Post World War II era in the United States – saw a huge jump in births. In fact, 76 million of us. That’s a lot of boomers out there.
As a young boomer, I saw dramatic change in the world. All boomers did. It was a time in the US of the Vietnam War, rock and roll, Motown Sound, The Beatles, Woodstock. We also saw the Cuban Missile Crisis, the war draft, political unrest, the civil rights movement, Watergate, the resignation of President Nixon, protests and riots and the women’s movement. Man’s first walk on the moon, sexual and drug experimentation, the assassinations of JFK, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. Those were the growing up days of the boomer.
First of all, I was born in Saginaw, MI – into a family of sports fanatics. Grandfather, uncles, brothers, me and sis – and even my Mother. There is great sports to be had when living in Michigan. When extremely young, we moved to Lincoln, NE – there may not have been a pro team in Nebraska, but since we lived directly in Lincoln, home of the University of Nebraska, we had the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team. That was plenty enough. When I was 12, I started writing my very first diary. Such a thing young girls do. What was my very first entry into this private, secret world of a young girl? The “game of the century” of course, 1971. Nebraska Cornhusker’s would play the Oklahoma Sooner’s the day after Thanksgiving. That was tradition. Wonderful, beautiful tradition. What else was so worthy in this young boomers diary? Nebraska was the defending national champions, ranked #1 that year. Oklahoma was a powerhouse football team ranked at #2. Game on!! The coach of the Nebraska Cornhusker’s at the time was Bob Devaney. I was born in the same city as Coach Devaney, Saginaw, MI and my grandfather had gone to school with Bob, even played a little school ball with him. It was an incredible back and forth game, tensions were high. I was right there in front of that television experiencing it all, barely moving. It was wonderful. Fun. Exciting. Tense. In the end, Nebraska successfully defeated the Sooner’s, 35-31. Amazing. And so it was written in my diary, the game I will never forget. The game of the century. Even a bit more amazing was the visit to our home by Coach Devaney to visit with my grandfather. As a young boomer, I was allowed to meet him, but the drill was.. we would go outside to play for the remainder of the visit so these two gentlemen could sit and enjoy their time. I can remember other friends in the neighborhood trying to peek through our windows. We stood quietly, out of respect – off to the side in the yard. Humbled to be there at that moment. Privileged. A memory never to be forgotten.
It was just shortly after this, we moved. It was not just any move. I now refer to this as “the move of the century” with good reason. What are the odd’s of moving from Lincoln, Nebraska, to… of all places, are you ready for this one? Norman, Oklahoma! What?? Going from husker land and directly into the land of the Sooners? Us? Boomer Sooner?? My Dad had a lot of fun with this. He knew we would need to adjust in our new school’s, as leaving friends behind at that age is just awful. He knew we would struggle to make new friends in our new “boomer” environment. I remember thinking at least the school colors were the same, red and white (at the time they were the same), and the saying of “Big Red” was used by both teams. What a quandary. My Dad with his quirky sense of humor, made up several signs to take to my new school to plaster in the hallway. They read as follows: Big Red Invasion From The North is imminent. Huh. Dad?? He kept that smirk on his face and kept laughing. We packed up the signs and moved to Norman, Oklahoma.
It took a while, taking in the new environment, new school, new surroundings, new house. When the next college football season rolled around, I knew I had to take my place. I was not a converted husker. Not yet. I hung the signs. Of course they were immediately ripped off the wall. But the fact that I hung them was pretty hilarious and even brave of me. Coming from another college town, a college town that also had great college football history – actually helped me blend into this new young boomer crowd. Oh, boy. Boomers and boomers. There is was, my fate sealed into the boomer and boomer world forever. Boomer eternity.
Eventually all the family did convert from husker to sooner. It was inevitable. Mom, me, sis and the three brother’s. Boomer Sooner! They were just as fanatical about college football as we were. ts not fair to say I left my huskers, they will always have a special place. But, it was never an option to leave this sport behind because of geographical change. This boomer has memories of my Mother and I sitting in a steaming hot 104 degree boomer sooner stadium, pressing ice on our pulse points as not to pass out. Taking the shuttle buss’s back and forth to the OU games, walking in high winds that could rip our eyeballs out because the wind chill was zero. This was our joy, our time as a family. Our bonding through our love for the sport of college football. There was not a game where I was not well aware of the incredible athlete’s on the field. My hero’s. Playing their heart’s out for the love of the game. For our love of the game. Every single Saturday. That’s what we waited for, fall. For football to start again. The excitement of the win, the heartbreak of loss. The emotion and all that goes with it. We wait. We still wait – we will always wait. We were then, and are now – the fans.
“Half of life is luck; the other half is discipline – and that’s the important half, for without discipline you wouldn’t know what to do with luck.” ~ Carl Zuckmeyer