Tag Archives: rant

Give Me a Break

12 Sep

BYU 41, Texas 7

Sept. 6, 2014 • DKR
 

Seriously? AGAIN?!

After last year’s shellacking, I had hoped our guys could turn the Cougars into mere kitty cats. Down 6-0 at the half, it looked like we could still get our sweet revenge. Then the third quarter happened.

I knew this would be a rough outing on the offensive side of the ball. With Ash out indefinitely, Espinosa out for the season, and two OTs gone for violating team rules, our line was comprised of a bunch of rooks. Our rushing yardage reflected that. Malcolm-with-an-L Brown and JGray fought to grind out the yards, but they never could get the big runs they’re known for. New starting QB Tyrone Swooooooopes added some highlights, but it seemed like the O never could find its gear.

What I didn’t know is that our new-and-improved D would struggle so. BYU QB Taysom Hill is a beast. Last year we made him look like a world-beater. This time around he wasn’t quite as other worldly, but he still gained 134 yards on us—and we’re talking 134 on the ground. Sheesh.

Yeah, it was pretty ugly. But even worse was the reaction of a certain “fan” who sits near us. Not only did he call for our new coach’s immediate removal, he threw in a comment that I interpreted as racist. Grrrrr. I tried to talk him down, but he was too frothy by the time he gave up on “this @#$)@%! junior high team” to listen. So here’s my open letter to the man in row 51:

Like I tried to tell you Saturday night, you’ve got to give Coach Strong time. This big ol’ ship of a football program can’t turn around overnight. You thought Mack was soft? You were sick of undisciplined players? Then get off Strong’s back and let the man work! We’re in the midst of a culture change here. If you’re not going to allow Coach more than two games to effect that change, who WOULD you want? We’d better have a stockpile of candidates if you’re planning to replace the head coach every other week. Good luck with that stockpile, by the way. Who would take a job that requires that kind of instant success?

Then there’s the matter of personnel. Strong is working with someone else’s recruits, so he has yet to bring in his own. Because of all the suspensions, we’ve lost a bunch of experienced players, too. You’re mad about that; you know, so am I. The difference? You’re mad that this coach won’t let a little pot-smoking slide. I’m mad that these kids weren’t willing to make the changes Coach demanded, that they chose their short-term satisfaction over their lifelong best interests.

Maybe it’s a good thing you’re so mad. Maybe you’ll watch the next home game from your couch where you can rant and rave all you want without some middle-aged woman glaring at you, rolling her eyes at your ridiculous comments. Your stay-at-home plan would work well for all of us in the stands, the ones who stuck around to support this tenacious group of young men who were still fighting through every play, long after the game’s outcome was decided and you had given up.

Yeah, you could say I’m firmly Team Strong. I like the direction he’s taking us. Yes, I hate losing, especially by such a wide margin, but just wait! It may get worse before it gets better, but it WILL get better.

Enough of that! Here are the photo highlights from the tailgate and game. (It’s never a good sign when you have more photos of Jetpack Guy than our D. But hey! JETPACK GUY! And this game was 100 percent drone-free.)

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.

Where have all the apostrophes gone?

28 Sep

This 2012 bye week has given me time to lament our dearly departed friend, the apostrophe.

Goodbye, apostrophes?

Um, NO.

Now I shouldn’t say the apostrophe is gone. In fact, it seems to show up incorrectly more than ever in plural words, as evidenced by many online examples such as this one at the Apostrophe Catastrophe blog.

But it certainly seems like apostrophes are in short supply, considering the number of times a left single quote mark is used instead.

It’s really quite simple. Apostrophes are used:

  1. to express possession (as in “Vince Young’s touchdown” or “Earl’s Heisman”) or
  2. to take the place of something that’s been deleted (e.g., in a contraction like “that’s” just a few words to the left or for years when you don’t need to know the century, like 05).

(“Grammar Girl” has several great episodes discussing apostrophes, by the way. You can find one of them here.)

Closest to my heart is the apostrophe used in our favorite phrase: HOOK ’EM. Our team’s rallying cry is short for “hook them,” and the apostrophe takes the place of the very un-Texan “th.” Easy, right?

Not so fast. Instead of having an apostrophe, famous for looking like a little 9, the phrase “hook ’em” is written repeatedly with a left single quotation mark. The left single quote, which looks like a little 6, typically is used at the beginning of a quote within another quote. An example: “The play known as ‘4th and 5’ may be my favorite of all time,” she said.

Programs like Word (and even the WordPress interface through which this blog is written) often assume the writer wants an opening single quote when he/she hits that apostrophe key before typing a word. That causes problems when typing contractions like tis or years like 63, 69, 70 and 05.

And it’s a big ol’ problem when “Hook ’Em Horns!” ends up in giant type—incorrectly—on DKR’s Godzillatron…

…or on the ribbon boards. (Et tu, Mickey D’s?)

Of course, it’s not just Texas products that feature these impostor apostrophes.

How ’bout we fix that!

Fortunately, some apparel makers get it right:

But for every T-shirt or coffee mug that has our rallying cry correctly punctuated, there are a dozen misfires,

and that’s a real shame. We are Texas! It’s true that what starts here changes the world, but do we really want our university to be part of this change, to eradicate the apostrophe while substituting its impostor?

It’s time we find our missing apostrophes and put them back in “hook ’em” where they belong. If we don’t, imagine what kind of world that would be.

On second thought, maybe we shouldn’t imagine that!

Join us next time as we debate the necessity of the apostrophe in “Horns” or the commas in “Hook ’em, Horns!” and “Go, Horns, go!” (Just kidding. I’ll stick to spelling Texas from here on out!)

Disclaimer: Although I teach English, I wouldn’t dare claim this post is error-free. In fact, it really bugs me that imposter is an alternate spelling of impostor. They both look wrong. ANYWAY, I’m not really a grammar nazi, but I am a tried-and-true Longhorn fan who will love my school til Gabriel blows his horn!