Sports Day Traditions Explained – The Sidney Sun-Telegraph

Sports Day Traditions Explained - The Sidney Sun-Telegraph

Author and former Husker cheerleader Debra Kleve White explores the history of Nebraska Game Day

Nebraska has Big Red and everyone else. But how many fans know the history of the color or the mascot?

The “it takes one to know one” cliché almost applies to this account. A former University of Nebraska-Lincoln cheerleader has researched how Big Red and the Husker mascot fell in love. Debra Kleve White attended UNL from 1976 to 1980, graduating with a degree in Fashion Merchandising.

She also spent some time on the cheerleading team, which inspired her to research game day history.

Her book is called The Spirit of Nebraska. A History of Husker Game Day Traditions/The Tunnel Walk, Mascots, Cheers and More.” The book is a collection of 154 pictures in 11 chapters.

The book contains a chapter on the history of football, how it all began. She also writes about school colors, screams, songs, and mascots.

She also has the honor of leading the foreword of the book written by retired Husker football coach Tom Osborne.

The book is a project she didn’t really anticipate until she started researching it.

“It really started because I was on the cheerleading roster,” she said.

She added that years later she felt lucky to be on the cheerleading squad.

The book talks quite a bit about the general history of football; Most of their work, however, focuses on the Husker experience.

Her research began with trying to give something back to her after her days as a cheerleader at UNL. She discovered that Husker began cheerleading in 1903.

“When I first started, I found out that next year was [UNL’s 100th anniversary of cheerleading],” she said.

She planned a celebration of the centenary mark.

She shared some of the history of Nebraska’s Husker and his varsity colors. She said in the early days the state team was called the Nebraska Old Gold Knights because the team colors contained old gold.

That changed over time. Nebraska was motivated to change their uniforms as they shared the field with a rival team wearing the same colors. The college’s first football season was in 1890. By 1895, the colors had changed to scarlet and cream, White said.

To reinforce the season of change, sportswriters of the time randomly assigned a character to a team; sometimes they stuck, often not. None of the mascots were adopted by Nebraska fans until Charles “Cy” Sherman thought of the Cornhusker.

White will launch her book Tuesday, September 20 at 7pm at the Sydney Public Library.

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