After an exciting one-point win over the Michigan State Spartans in East Lansing, it was no surprise that students were lined up outside of Pinnacle Bank Arena before doors opened to watch the Husker men’s basketball team take on Michigan.
The excitement surrounding this game came from more than just a four game winning streak, though, as this game was the annual Avery Strong game. Fans sport their bright gold #AveryStrong shirts in support of Avery Harriman and pediatric cancer research and are encouraged to get swabbed to see if they could potentially be a match for someone in need of a bone marrow transplant.
The Red Zone gets stocked up with #AveryStrong t-shirts.
As one of Big Ten Network’s on-campus marketing interns, I was ready for the flood of students to pour into PBA as doors opened an hour and a half before the game. “Flood” might not be the right word, considering each student has to get scanned in one at a time, making it a little anti-climactic… But you get the point.
Being a BTN intern, I stand out in the concourse and get people to take Instagram pictures to enter the #BTNWinningShotContest (come visit me). This time, we borrowed some fatheads from The Red Zone for fans to take pictures with as well. It’s amazing how giddy the older demographic gets when presented with the opportunity to take a picture with the Pope.
Another thing I’ve learned in my time as a marketing intern is how unsubtle people are when they try to avoid someone. As someone who does a large amount of shopping at the Mall of America, I like to consider myself a natural at avoiding kiosk workers and other people trying to get me to come over and buy something or do something. But being on the other side of things, I’ve learned that the avoid-eye-contact-and-walk-a-little-faster isn’t nearly as subtle as some people may think. Time to re-think that strategy, I guess.
After tipoff, I was able to trade in my BTN shirt for an #AveryStrong shirt and join my friends in The Red Zone. Much like football, I forget about any dignity I have left as I yell at the opposing team and dance around like an idiot. The main difference? They can actually hear me.
You’d think with how often I harass the cameras (if you’re new, check out this recap) I’d be used to being thrown up on the big screen at the most embarrassing moment.
As the camera jumped from fan to fan during the Emoji Cam, my roommate and I turned a bright shade of red as the two of our faces graced the screen for everyone to see. Later, fans got the chance to check out some pretty sweet dance moves from me on the screen (not really). You’re welcome, Lincoln.
Avery Harriman on the big screen at halftime. You can learn more about become a potential bone marrow donor here.
The Red Zone was able to get quite a bit of use out of our many fatheads for free throw distractions, considering how whistle-happy the refs seemed to be in Michigan’s favor. Everything from Donald Trump to crying Michael Jordan to the poop emoji were waved around by students in attempts to distract the Wolverines. The Red Zone might have to look into some more distractions, considering the Wolverines made 10 straight free throws in the final minutes of the game.
The amount of calls from the refs were frustrating some fans so much that a group of us in the front row looked up the names of each of the refs so we could personally thank them for the wonderful job they were doing.
As fans filed out with the clock ticking down at the end of the game, a chorus of booing echoed through the arena as Michigan forward Duncan Robinson sank a three-pointer as the Wolverines were already up by 10 points.
The Huskers fell to the Wolverines 81-68. While fans may be disappointed in the loss, I’m sure there will still be some students lined up waiting to watch their Huskers take on the Maryland Terrapins next Wednesday, February 3rd. Personally, I have some unfinished business heckling Melo Trimble, so you’ll know where to find me.
Hayley Archer is a senior Broadcasting major at UNL. Follow her on Twitter at @Harchinator.