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In Frost-ball or frostbite, the best defense is a good offense

November 16, 2018

Is there a thermal underwear shirt that says “Frostbite Advisory”?

Because maybe there should be.

For Nebraska football fans, it’s going to be another cold day at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. The game-time forecast is calling for subfreezing temperatures with blustery gusts that will send the wind chill into the teens.

Husker fans who prefer to be true blue rather than to actually turn blue should take a cue from Nebraskans who spend a lot of time outdoors in all kinds of weather. The hunters and farmers, the ranchers and winter anglers, the longtime football fans, they know what to do. But you don’t have to be as well-supplied as a hunter who’s used to dressing for long hours in a deer stand to be around to cheer the Huskers on toward the chill of victory without the agony of frozen feet.

Take Jerry Kane, for example. The Nebraska Game and Parks news manager dressed for the well-chilled Nebraska-Illinois game last weekend like he dresses to go ice fishing. He stayed warm, even with the wind blowing in his face.

“I’m no expert, I can’t tell anyone else how to dress, but I can tell you what I wore last week,” Kane said.

Here it is, from the inside out. Base layer (AKA thermal underwear pants and long-sleeved shirt). Light, loose, quick-drying fishing pants. Fleece-lined hoodie. Thick thermal socks. Insulated boots. Insulated bib overalls. Insulated work jacket. Neck gaiter. Stocking cap. Heavy ski gloves.

He tucked the neck gaiter into his hoodie and under his stocking cap.

“If you can keep the wind from blowing down your neck, that really helps,” Kane said.

He took along disposable hand warmers just in case. He made a halftime adjustment and put a warmer in the palm of each glove, to ward off the bit of chill invading his gloves.

Only his feet began to feel cold by late in the game.

“It’s better to overdress than underdress,” Kane said. “You pay a price if you underdress. If you overdress you can just unzip something or take something off.”

The World-Herald’s Mike’l Severe asked Twitter-sphere Thursday about how to keep warm at cold Husker games.

@BigAlPal23 replied thus: “base layer: long underwear, under armor compression long sleeve, knee high ski socks. Mid layer: husker t-shirt or long sleeve husker shirt, husker sweatshirt, regular pants, thick wool socks. Outer layer: insulated bib overalls, insulated boots, insulated coat (preferably wind proof or wind resistant). Also wear a gaiter/balaclava and stocking hat on top of that. Glove liners and insulated gloves over those. Whew I guess that’s a lot of clothes.”

Buffalo Seven Heaven @Cole_Duncan had this warm fuzzy blast from winters past: “Back in the 90’s me and my grandpa went to every game together. East Balcony seats. I remember a Oklahoma game that was really cold and very windy. We had all the hunting gear on and face mask and Gramps decided we needed extra wind break. So he punched a hole in a couple 30 gallon trash bags (clean ones of course). Stuck our heads through the hole and tightened the bottoms around our legs. It actually worked very well. Gramps is a smart man.”

Takeaways: In coach speak, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Wear layers. If you have high tech sports gear or real Cornhusker country outdoor sports or work-wear, wear it. But your threads don’t have to be high-tech fabric with fancy-pants logos to make a difference.

“We’re talking about cold weather in Nebraska, so most people are going to have stuff around the house that will work,” said Phil Rooney, a spokesman for the Douglas County Health Department.

His department advises: “Dress in layers. Loose fitting clothing is better than tight fitting clothing (that constricts blood flow). Make a special effort to protect your ears, your face, your hands and feet. Wear waterproof boots if you’ve got them.”

Rooney suggested insulated socks or two pair, unless they make the boots too tight.

“And you want to watch your alcohol consumption if you’re going to be outdoors for a long time,” he added.

And don’t be embarrassed to bring blankets. Some people watching from the comfort of their living rooms last week observed that the smaller the crowd got, the higher the percentage of fans with blankets grew.

Under Memorial Stadium policy, “Attendees ... may bring blankets into the stadium by carrying them over a shoulder or arm.” Once inside, you can huddle under your blankets or sit on them. You can have your bleacher butt and keep your rump roasty too.

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