Lincoln (KMOV) -- The Nebraska vs. Missouri football game was a completely new experience for me. I've been to games as a student before, but today I wasn't just an ordinary student. I was a student with a Media-Press pass.
"Never cheer in the press box. You're there to work," warned by my co-worker, after I told him that my first press box experience would be this Saturday.
After learning of the professional atmosphere, I traded in my Husker t-shirt and tennis shoes for a collared shirt and high heels and my pre-game tailgating turned into pre-game interviews. It wasn't long before I realized that this would be quite the experience.
Instead of waiting in line amidst hundreds of belligerent fans, I slipped in through the media entrance and didn't have to wait at all. Instead of climbing flights of stairs to find a nosebleed seat, I stepped onto an elevator and rode to floor 6. Instead of trying to catch a flying hot dog from the stands, I was offered a buffet-style dinner.
As I made my way into the press box area, I searched for my name on the kiosk of assigned media seating.
There it read: Seat 23. Stephani Ruiz, KMOV-TV.
As I plugged in my laptop and plopped down on the cushioned chair, I took a look at the elevated view through the press box windows. I could see the waving arms of cheering fans, the synchronized movements of the marching band, and, of course, all 100 yards of the football field.
In the press box, no one stands on their bleacher blocking my view, and the announcer isn't muted by the screaming student section. When I think of a room filled with over 100 sports journalists, I imagine a noisy, action-packed environment, but that wasn't at all what I found to be true.
Cheers and yells are almost non-existent in a room full of tapping keyboards, as most were busy transferring information to their respective affiliates. As the game neared its end and Nebraska lost its 30-year winning streak to Missouri in a blowout game, the stadium slowly emptied.
But, the press box remained full of fans. Not necessarily Nebraska or Missouri fans, but fans filled with college football spirit and a love for the game. As I packed up my things and got back on the elevator, I realized that the next time I'm cheering on my Nebraska team, it will be amongst all the little people I watched from above tonight.
Stephani Ruiz is a J-student from Nebraska