football fans

The Land of The Herd

When I arrived on to the campus of North Dakota State last August, I was aware of what a great atmosphere sporting events on campus were.

So much so that I missed a chance to get a ticket to the first home football game. I thought all the tickets were gone by 8:30 a.m. when I woke up. They weren’t and I didn’t bother to check. I was wrong, and I am not making that mistake again.

That meant that the first time I got into the Fargodome, it was against the University of North Dakota. Talk about a rivalry.

I will always remember the energy that was in the building before kickoff and during the first half as the Bison trampled all over the field.

It was three weeks later, when Northern Iowa came to spoil homecoming, that I learned what it means to be a Bison.

The Bison were on the ropes most of the game, and when the Panthers put in quarterback Aaron Bailey and implemented a large scale read-option attack, it looked grim.

And then Carson Wentz fumbled, with the Bison trailing by four and time winding down.

The crowd came to life. The noise coming not only from the students, but everywhere in the stadium. One look around, everyone was on their feet screaming and yelling.

It worked, as UNI would be forced to attempt a field goal to make it a seven point game. The noise only increased. Once the ball was in the air, one could hear the sounds of the crowd collectively holding their breath, followed by the exhalation of the miss.

For the next two minutes and change,  there was a pattern of craziness and silence. In the huddle and pre-snap, you could here a pin drop, and then ear drums burst with every yard gained.

When Wentz hit Zach Vraa to put the Bison in the red zone, the whole place lost it. Then the discipline of the crowd showed, as the excitement was contained for one more huddle.

A magical moment came next. Wentz threw one up for Darrius Shephard, who came down with the ball in the corner of the end zone.

Everyone was jumping up and down, and once again we had to hold excitement in check for the point after. Once that went through, the craziness continued until the final whistle.

I look back at this game and see exactly what it means to be part of the Herd, not only for football, but for all sports. Everyone gets invested in the game, and we rally behind our team even when their backs are against the wall.

The thundering fans are a huge reason that the football, softball, baseball, soccer and men’s basketball teams combined have only lost six games in Fargo in 2015-16.

Fans help push the athletes to play harder and get into the heads of opponents.

They do everything, from yelling when opponents are taking threes for basketball to cheering for every shot on goal at a soccer game.

So welcome to Fargo, home of the Herd. Make sure you bring your voice to the game, and make sure you leave without it.

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