Hysteria, Sweet Hysteria   1 comment

October 12, 1974 is when I first experienced mass hysteria.

I never saw it coming. Though I had been warned to look out for those ‘Huskers. I was told they might steal my hat.

In 1974, here’s what they looked like:

Herbie Husker

Herbie Husker

If you know me at all, you know this image offends me deeply. The idea that it was viewed as both a positive and literally iconic look for an entire state just astonishes me. But I digress.

I was a freshman at the University of Missouri and a proud member of Marching Mizzou. I played the timbales, which means I was not one of the 16 best percussionists in the band.

Really. There was an audition.

So, as percussionist # 17, I played the timbales. Marching Mizzou was taking a road trip to Lincoln, Nebraska, where our mediocre football team would be playing the 5th-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers.

76,525 fans and me. And if you’ve ever seen the stadium at Lincoln, you know it’s an emotion-filled place. It rocks in support of Nebraska’s favorite football team. A sea of red confronts every team:

Mizzou - Stadium

The home of the Huskers since 1923 and the location of a continuing NCAA-record consecutive sellout streak that reached 325 games in 2012, Memorial Stadium provides one of the most exciting game-day experiences in all of college football. The streak of consecutive sellouts started on Nov. 3, 1962, when 36,501 attended the Homecoming contest against Missouri.

It was in this environment that the Missouri Tigers and Marching Mizzou found themselves. Back in the day, the Tigers were known as being very inconsistent on the field … and giant killers when they could get it together. They lost spectacularly, and occasionally won spectacularly.

Mizzou 74 logo Mizzou 74 - N ebraska

This game turned into a defensive battle. After 3 quarters, Nebraska led  0 – 3.

And then at the beginning of the fourth, Nebraska scored to lead 0 – 10.

And then it just broke loose.

Mizzou scored: 7 – 10.

And then there came the moment that this post is really about.

Hysteria, Sweet Hysteria.

The band was seated on the field, behind the endzone. Because I played that big kit of timbales, I had to sit at the bottom of the bleachers, out of the way of everyone. Worst. Seat. In. The. Stadium.

Suddenly, everyone was screaming. Everyone was jumping up and down. Jubilation! Hysteria! WAHOO!!!

What happened? I had no idea.

Video screens were a future dream, nothing more. All I could see was a bunch of black & gold music nerds jumping up and down, screaming. And they were surrounded by 70,000 red-clad fans. Screaming.

So what did I do? I jumped up and down and screamed, of course. You’ve got to go along to get along.

Mizzou scored: 14 – 10.

And Mizzou scored again: 21-10. 21 unanswered points, all scored in the 4th quarter to win. Game over.

It was exhausting. It was incredible. It was truly unbelievable.

It was real.

Marching Mizzou exited Memorial Stadium (yes, I protected my hat) and loaded up into the 8 Greyhound buses that brought us to Lincoln that day. We had a long ride home.

But we did stop at a tiny roadside liquor store for the band to acquire, uh, refreshments. I’m pretty sure that the liquor store’s cashiers got to enjoy a different kind of hysteria as they were invaded by 300+ Tigers that day.

Today, 39 years later, the Tigers are again playing the 5th-ranked team in the land, but this time it’s the Georgia Bulldogs.

Go get’em Tigers! M-I-Z…

One response to “Hysteria, Sweet Hysteria

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  1. AND we won!! grins g

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