Friday, November 24, 2006

Getting Dumped On

It had been about 20 years since I last attended a college football game in person. There was a time, back during my high school and college years that my father had contacts with season tickets to Baylor and A&M games and we attended at least one game a season for several years. I was a UT fan in the late 1960s, when they had that wonderful combo of Wooster, Bertleson and Phillips. Later on, when I got to college, I switched to rooting for Baylor, since that was the closest kindred school to Mary Hardin-Baylor.

But I always had a soft spot for UT and would root for them, except when they were up against Baylor. And I still have a soft spot for UT, so when I was offered a chance to attend the UT/A&M Thanksgiving game this year I grabbed it.

I had forgotten how much different it is to sit in the stands, as opposed to watching on TV. (Though now you can watch it on TV at the same time, what with the huge video display that offers instant replays. And ads. Those I could do without.)

We were only a few rows up from the UT bench, in a stadium that was almost entirely orange.

The enthusiasm of the fans was worth the trip. From the time the players entered the stadium in a cloud of smoke, the cheering squads, the band and the fans were in constant motion and in loud support of the team. The Aggies made the scoreboard first, but the Horns came back with their own touchdown and led 7-6 for quite awhile. The mood of all concerned was fairly upbeat at the half.

The Aggie Band was in perfect form, as usual.

The UT Band is always the best part of the game for me.

And the crowd went wild. Particularly when a touchdown on UT's part was called back for some infraction that I did not understand and that really ticked off the die-hard Horns around me. From then on, the game went the wrong way for the Horns. With long times of possession by the Aggies, and during which they scored the winning touchdown, time just ran out for the Horns. But they kept trying and the fans kept their enthusiasm up to the end. Sadly, in the last 25 seconds of the game, the Horns' quarterback was injured and was transported off the field and to the hospital for evaluation. A troubling end to a difficult game.

I can only hope that my attending the game was not a jinx. Back during those days when our family travelled regularly to Waco or Bryan for games, it seemed like I always supported the wrong team. (Not that fans of Baylor weren't used to losing during those days, but it was still a disappointment to never see them win.) I even stopped watching UT in bowl games on TV, because they only won when I didn't watch them. I had hoped that the jinx was broken last year when I took a chance and watched the Horns win the National Championship. Let's hope today was a fluke, because I rediscovered today how much more enjoyable a game is in person and I don't intend to wait another 20 years to see another one.

Last, but not least, the perfect end to a day when your team loses. I decided to stop at a Sonic on the way out of town and pick up a Route 44 diet Coke with lime. (Love the things.) I wait for 10 minutes, pay my $2, and head out MLK toward Webberville. After I manuvered the traffic signal, I lifted my glass for the first swallow and discovered that the car hop had somehow managed to puncture the glass as she handed it to me and it had been leaking for several minutes. I had diet Coke pouring into my lap, the cup holder in my console was full, and I was in traffic that gave no opportunity to pull over and deal with the gushing, sticky fluid. Forty-four ounces of the stuff. I used my jacket to attempt to sop up the mess, but since the jacket is somewhat waterproofed that didn't help too much. I finally hit a stop light and dumped what was left out the window. Never even got to taste it.

I still had a good time today.


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