It's no secret that I was fortunate enough to go to the BCS National Championship to watch the Texas Longhorns play. I was so excited.
When I decided where to go to college, I deliberately selected a school with lots of different people, activities, and views. I picked a school that offered more than just academics, a real community of people with the added bonus of sports. Of course, the scholarship didn't hurt either! Saturday games were one of my favorite parts of school. I loved walking down Guadalupe before a game and seeing the windows painted for the game. I loved seeing the crowd dressed in orange, the cheering, the chanting, the camaraderie. I miss game day. I miss walking from the house with the friends to see the game. My husband and I attended our share of TX v OU games in Dallas before the kids came (when tickets got super hard to find and super expensive!). However, I haven't been to a Texas football game in years. So, I jumped at the opportunity to attend the biggest game of the year.
The game embodied all of the best parts of game day that I have sorely lacked: fight songs on the plane, seeing a sea of orange, feeling at home in boots and Longhorn gear. The good type of mob mentality, where everyone speaks your language: stats on past games, QB completion percentages, past victories, the "Hook 'Em" sign everywhere. It gave me the chills. I loved every single second of it. And, of course the tailgating! Yes, I look tired, not only is watching football hard work, but I also was traveling all day and we walked about 5 miles to get to and from the game!!
As we walked to our seats, the team walked to their tunnel right under us. We saw everyone, Mack Brown even flashed us the "Hook 'Em" sign. (My phone was in my purse, so I couldn't get a picture of it- AUGH.) It was awesome, This was going to be great!
Once we made it to our seats, the excitement was palpable. All our hopes and dreams. We all felt robbed last year, and vindicated this year to have gone 13-0 and we DESERVED to be there. The game started with a bang! (That's smoke from fireworks).
Awesome, we are leading...oh wait. NO, It can't be!! Colt is injured? Out after 5 plays? Are you kidding? A collective gasp of dread could be heard. (A sigh of relief I'm sure from the 'Bama fans)
But then, our team really came together and started playing well. We were all pleasantly surprised. We were actually amazed. Even though Garrett Gilbert was an excellent high school player, he's taken so few snaps this season, it was difficult to get a feel for what he'd do. It was no Colt and Jordan. In fact, we all saw Vince Young and Major Applewhite and wondered if we could somehow get them in uniform for a few plays.
Halftime approaches...Bama scores again. This is not going well. We do win the battle of the bands. While our band's costumes look like Howdy Doody, our band plays better. Even though they had like 40 baton twirlers, our one twirler had 3 flaming batons! It was kind of awesome. So, win on that one.
Then, the third quarter, and we start doing really well. No scores for Bama. We're holding them really well. Ingram is not looking that impressive. In fact, we move within 3- it's 21 to 24 with only 3 minutes left. Oh my God, we can do this! We can win, even without our star starting quarterback. Totally doable.
3 minutes left. Oh no, interception. Oh well...ouch. Another score. It's over now. But, I'm not depressed. I know why. Everyone doubted us (again). Every sports analyst picked Alabama and predicted that they'd run over us. They didn't. Yes, they won. I'll never say they didn't. BUT, they would not have won if Colt was in. No way. No how. In fact, I think we would have beat them by significantly more than 10 points. Although I remain unimpressed by Greg Davis, our defensive strategy was impressive. Mack was the better coach. The team played like a team. I think they were a little rushed; trying to make thins happen. But, they really came together. I'm proud to be a Longhorn. 13-1 is nothing to be ashamed of. I'm proud of my school, I'm proud of my team, I'm proud of the fans. I'm proud to have seen the class and grace under pressure. College football at its best and finest and I was glad to be a part of it.
*Next story- Why going to the game earned me the title "Worst Mother of the Year."