Archive | November, 2012

Turkeys, Turnovers and Time for Change

23 Nov

TCU 20, Texas 13

Nov. 22, 2012 • DKR

Two times. Dos. Just twice in my lifetime TCU has beaten my Horns in football. I was there for both losses, and as bad as that 1992 game was, this one was worse. Recent ou games may have been more painful because of that rivalry’s intensity, but this one was off-the-charts frustrating.

I have never seen Texas so unprepared for a game. The defense struggled to slow down TCU’s rushing attack (no surprise there), but the Frogs had no trouble stopping our run. Our backfield is filthy with talent (see: J. Gray, Daje Johnson), but none of our guys managed to get into a rhythm. Our receivers dropped passes and ran wrong routes, and our QBs made some poor decisions under pressure. And the turnovers! Oh, the turnovers! TCU turned two of those turnovers into touchdowns. Thanks to those turnovers, our guys were behind all night, and in spite of a late TD drive led by Case McCoy, there was no Kansas-esque comeback this time.

Fortunately, that turkey of a game was not the day’s only turkey. In fact, at our tailgate, we feasted on FOUR fried turkeys and some ham! Everyone brought their family’s favorite dishes, and we chowed down in fine fashion. In honor of our fantastic Thanksgiving dinner, we spelled Texas with five of our foods: turkey, mashed potatoes, frog legs, stuffing and croissants.

It was perfect tailgating weather.

Of course, we had frog legs as an appetizer.

Steve takes a bite out of frog.

We even had a few guests from TCU try the frog legs!

Now that’s Texas hospitality. (I’m pretty sure the guy in the suit is the TCU version of PSY. Oppan Fort Worth style?)

We had our just desserts.

Carving time

We had more food than table space.

Our own Thanksgiving feast

Corn salad, broccoli-rice, pineapple casserole, cranberry relish, mashed potatoes, four different stuffings: DELISH.

Wow.

So many desserts, so little time.

During the off-season a few years ago, a tree appeared in the middle of our spot. By the first game, though, that tree was gone. So imagine our surprise when all this time later we discovered a tree smack dab in the middle of our spot! No worries: Now our tent home features a central “courtyard.” (No trees were harmed in the making of this tailgate.)

I don’t have many game pix this time; it’s hard to focus when you’re losing your ever-lovin’ mind after your QB throws for a 3-yard gain on 3rd and 7. In spite of the on-field ugliness, there were a few highlights:

LHB in the big T and the world’s largest Texas flag: Never gets old!

TCU band (under the direction of an old friend)

Senior Night

Here come the Horns!

Rare moment in the red zone

NOT a highlight: one of many incomplete passes.

Missed TCU field goal: Doesn’t look like we got a hand on it, but it was a miss all the same.

In honor of the 96th anniversary of UT having a longhorn mascot, Bevo XIV celebrated with a birthday haybale cake. He immediately pulled down a bale and started chowing down.

TCU Band halftime show

We are TEXAS.

The band plays on, and the steer keeps eating…

…and eating! Hook ’em, Bevo!

And so another home football season comes to a close. I’ll miss the time spent with our friends at the tailgate. I’ll miss the hoopla and fanfare, the songs and the cheers. I’ll miss the chance to really let loose with a good scream when we’re on defense. But I WON’T miss the frustration, the disappointment, the forehead-slapping WHY-WHY-WHY?! that comes with losing.

This is not the first time we’ve lost our last home game, but it is really tough to get used to this. Same goes for losing to TCU! So here’s the deal: How ’bout we don’t? Let’s NOT grow accustomed to losing to unranked teams, to seeing our team utterly unprepared to play, to watching our seniors lose their last game in DKR. Sure, we could be OK with mediocrity, find a way to accept that you win some, you lose some. But I don’t wanna.

Coach Brown has done wonders for our program. When I think of my days in the student section back in the late 1980s, I realize just how far we’ve come. We owe Mack tons, but you know what? We’ve PAID him tons. He’s earned plenty of respect. But that doesn’t mean he gets a free pass forever.

Like Coach Royal told him, “You’ve got to win all them damn games.”

Call us spoiled; call us “whiny.” Whatever. It’s a long time until our next game in DKR and even longer until we can avenge this loss. We want more. We want to win every damn game ’til Gabriel blows his horn.

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For ISU and DKR

10 Nov

Texas 33, Iowa State 7

Nov. 10, 2012 • DKR

First there were the “rib-I’s” on the grill. Then we had “Eye-owa State.” But this year, it was time to use ISU’s mascot to spell Texas!

What’s that? They’re the Cyclones? Maybe so, but this guy is their on-field mascot:

It’s a bird! With a maniacal grin! And teeth! If I were a crazy grinning cardinal with teeth who’s supposed to represent a weather phenomenon, I’d be pretty angry.

Voila! It’s ANGRY BIRDS!

For this early game, Ryan and I didn’t make it to our tailgate spot, so we spelled Texas at another fitting locale:

Beneath the giant star at the Bullock Texas State History Museum.

Speaking of stars and history, we lost a true Texas icon earlier in the week. Darrell K Royal IS Texas football. Not only did he guide the Horns to three national championships, but he did much to establish the traditions we enjoy today. After Texas jerseys had varied from brighter to darker oranges, it was DKR who decided once and for all that burnt orange would be OURS. Even our familiar Longhorn logo owes its design to Coach Royal. So on this special Saturday, when 100,000+ people would remember Coach in the stadium that bears his name, I felt compelled to spell this:

Yes, it’s silly and trivial, but my motives were sincere. So much of what I love about my Horns I owe to Coach Royal’s influence.

In the first quarter, Coach Mack Brown honored DKR by using Royal’s much-loved wishbone formation on our first offensive play.

Royal was famous for his many sayings, including this one: “I’ve always felt that three things can happen when you throw the football, and two of them are bad.” Well, our play callers decided to double our chances of success by calling a double pass on this opening play!

Here’s video a fan (with much better seats that ours) shot:

Later, the Longhorn Band presented its traditional Veterans Day recognition before honoring Royal in the halftime show:

(Another video I didn’t shoot! Thank you, aramarie1!)

The game was filled with tributes to our legendary coach. Another example: Before the LHB played “Wabash Cannonball” (as it does at the beginning of every fourth quarter), it was explained that DKR loved this song! That’s why the band started playing it all those years ago.

Of course, the greatest tribute was that big ol’ W.

Other highlights:

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The Buc Stops Here

3 Nov

Texas 31, Texas Tech 22

Nov. 3, 2012 • Lubbock

The Texas Tech tortilla tradition started back in the early ’90s, when I was but a fresh, young Texas Ex venturing out into the world. Some ESPN commentator had said there was nothing in Lubbock but Tech and a tortilla factory, so enterprising Red Raider fans took to tossing the flatbread-cum-Frisbees at their games.

I don’t know if Tech fans still throw them these days, but the connection remains. Year after year, I end up spelling Texas with tortillas. Gotta love a spelling medium that’s (a) cheap, (b) accessible and (c) easy to cut into letters!

Last year Katie and I took to the tortillas at our Austin tailgate in between sessions of a big marching band contest in San Antonio. This year, the Horns were in Lubbock, but I was back in SA for another band contest! On my way to Bexar County, I made my first visit to Buc-ee’s. And it wasn’t just any Buc-ee’s. This was the New Braunfels Buc-ee’s, the “world’s largest convenience store” that opened last March.

The beef jerky. The Beaver Nuggets. The 60 gas pumps. The palatial bathrooms. I’d heard all about it, so this was my chance to take it all in. How could I commemorate such an important occasion?

By spelling Texas there, of course!

Yep, those tortillas were placed between the two feet of Buc-ee himself.

Now that I’ve tasted the nuggets, I know what all the fuss is about. Pretty amazing, that Buc-ee’s. But you know what’s even more amazing?

Beating Tech. In Lubbock. THIS year.

While two of my football buddies were in Jones AT&T Stadium, I was in the Alamodome watching my kids march.

Since their prelim time was 2, I made a quick exit after their show to find a TV. I ended up at the Grand Hyatt just across I-37 from the stadium. It turned out to be the perfect place to watch the game.

Not only did I have a TV right in front of me, but I got to visit with some other football fans and eat lunch. (Well, I had good company once the sooner fans took a hike!) The Thai Chicken Quesadilla was delish, but the way our offense was clicking was even spicier. J Gray continues to shine, and a couple of TD passes from Ash (to Shipley and Davis) proved that the rumors of David’s demise were premature. After watching our D give up so many yards and points all season, it was mighty tasty to see our guys end the cycle of trading TD for TD. Once the Texas defense held Tech to field goals on two possessions, I was in. “I believe; help me with my unbelief.”

Around halftime I returned to the Alamodome to hear the prelim results. Once I found out our band placed second in its class and advanced to finals, I high-tailed it back to the bar to watch the rest of the game. The third quarter was rough for our Horns, but we pulled this one out relatively comfortably. The key possessions: With the Horns lead cut to 2, Ash hit “Magic Mike” Davis for a TD. Then our beleaguered defense managed to keep the Red Raiders out of the endzone even though they had 1st and goal! Once Carrington Byndom blocked the field goal attempt, we were in for the win.

That’s sweeter than a bag o’ Beaver Nuggets.

After the game ended and high-fives and handshakes had been shared, I was leaving the bar when I noticed its name: Bar Rojo. Ha! If I’d known the place was called the “Red Bar,” I probably would’ve been too superstitious to watch the game there!

No matter. By the time this game ended, that place had turned into Bar Naranjo.

P.S. – After the game I was back at the stadium for the marching contest finals. Our kids placed 10th out of 62 bands. What a great Saturday!