Happily ever after for at least one Husker fan comes Saturday

For Christmas 1998, Stefanie Buhrman received her No. 45 Joel Makovicka Nebraska jersey.

Stefanie Buhrman

The time is near. On Saturday, I will have waited 378 days for revenge and resolution.

I love the Cyclones, but from week to week, I never know what’s going to happen. There are the amazing weeks, like the team beating Texas for the first time in school history. Then there are the heart-wrenching days where there are 52-0 losses to Oklahoma. Nevertheless, it always seems unreal, a fantasy.

The first game I ever attended a game at Jack Trice Stadium was in 1998 against Nebraska, but I wasn’t there to cheer on the Cyclones.

I was there as a Nebraska fan.

Nebraska football has cast a spell on my life. Ndamukong Suh is my noble steed, Bo Pelini is the king, Tom Osborne is my faithful wizard, and now Taylor Martinez is Prince Charming in my football fairy tale.

After costuming myself as a Nebraska football player at the mere age of three, how was I supposed to know that a snowy game six years later would be the foreshadowing of an everlasting battle?

I watched them play again in 2006. More than a month after accepting my admission into Iowa State, and as I tried to devote my love to the Cyclones and had never felt so torn. I was still wearing my No. 45 Joel Makovicka jersey, my glass slipper. Sitting on my basement floor, I inconsistently cheered for both teams. But by the end of the game, I knew that I would always bleed Husker red.

So here I am getting my higher education at Iowa State as a Nebraska fan. I get a lot of sass for it. I’ve been called names like “traitor” and other things far less civil — people think Cinderella had it bad.

Several people have asked me why I don’t attend the University of Nebraska. I remind them that my four years at Iowa State are, surprisingly, about my academics and not about athletics.

But don’t get me wrong, when Iowa State is playing anyone else, I hope they do well. I hope they have a near perfect season of the 12-1 sort. But when it comes to that yearly game where my two favorites fight to the finish, I hope Nebraska wins; always.

Does it make me a bad Cyclone? Maybe.

Yet since I’ve been attending Iowa State, I have been to every Nebraska vs. Iowa State game. All three times, I sat in a forest of Cyclone fanatics, which can be either a great or awful time.

I hear a ton about how Nebraska has ogre-like fans: they are rude and obnoxious, sore losers and sore winners. Yeah, some of them are, but not all of us. Every team is that way, even Iowa State. I witnessed this at the last Iowa State-Nebraska game to which I stress: There is a difference between being excited for a win and being a jerk.

I will attend my fourth and final Nebraska vs. Iowa State game as a student Saturday. I am nervous.

After a tragic loss to Texas where Niles Paul should have had the win in his hands, Nebraska will rarely, if ever, have the chance to triumph and show them what they are truly made of. As Nebraska bids the rest of the Big 12 adieu, this is the last time that Iowa State and Nebraska will meet. I honestly do not know what is going to happen.

The adrenaline is feverishly rushing through the veins of both teams. Iowa State is on a high from last year’s win, wondering if they can beat Nebraska two years in a row. Nebraska coming to Jack Trice for revenge, begging to have the last word as they move on to a land far, far away called the Big Ten.

Here I sit in the middle: excited for my school to do well, but waiting for the team that I have been loyal to my whole life to do even better and slay the dragon that is the Big 12.

I want and need Nebraska to win, but regardless of the outcome as the game clock strikes zero, I will be living happily ever after. No longer will I have to split my heart in two and I can fully cheer for both teams.