The first touchdown during a football game at Memorial Stadium invokes the image of red balloons rising into the air as the chanting “Go Big Red” fills the stadium. Like all traditions, the balloon release had a start and a story behind it.
On Friday, Oct. 4 at 12:15 p.m., author Deb Kleve White will give a lecture titled “History of School Spirit and Louise Pound,” in Morrill Hall to answer questions behind many of Nebraska’s traditions and discuss Louise Pound’s legacy. The lecture is part of the Nebraska Lectures: Chancellor’s Distinguished Speaker Series, according to the Nebraska Lectures website.
White has spent the past four years compiling her Husker specific research into her book, “The Spirit of Nebraska.” She said her lecture will discuss how her research revealed information that may not be common knowledge to Husker fans.
“I kept finding all this information that I didn’t know and my friends didn’t know, and I wanted to share this with Husker fans,” White said.
White said the balloon release tradition initially started in 1910, when the female student section would release scarlet and cream colored balloons into the air after every touchdown.
“Back then they used to separate out the male section and the female section, and they would try to outdo each other,” White said.
This tradition would later grow into the stadium-wide event of releasing red balloons after the first touchdown at every home Husker game.
White said she also plans to discuss Pound’s impact on the history of women at UNL. White plans to interview a hologram of Pound during the event that will answer her questions with real quotes spoken by Pound.
“There’s going to be a fun demonstration at the end of the lecture,” White said. “I’ve been working with engineering students on campus and they’ve created the hologram of Louise Pound.”
White said she will be going over the achievements Pound made during her life and how they affected the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s campus.
“I think she [Pound] was pretty amazing, because she was against the tide,” White said. “She had to fight her way to get opportunities for women.”
White said lecture attendees can expect to interact with the hologram of Lousie Pound and learn something new about UNL traditions.
“There’s a lot of information over the last 15 years of researching UNL, sports and the [Husker] Spirit Squad and I’ve come across a lot of information that Husker fans may not know about game day traditions,” White said.