Here in Texas, football is a way of life. I may have been to every Boston College home game over my four years studying there, but that doesn’t mean I’ve adopted that lifestyle – or come anywhere close. Honestly, I rarely paid attention to the game, and mostly socialized in the stands, with more of a focus on the before and after festivities. Hence our living in Texas for 17 months before getting to one of the University of Texas’ football games.
We live just 10 blocks from the Darrel K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium, and have spent many fall Saturdays watching seas of orange stream their way to and from the big event. We’ve even been to a tailgate, which is sometimes the highlight of the day. But we’d never actually set foot in this revered arena until yesterday.
The Longhorns faced off against the West Virginia Mountaineers at a kick-off time of 11am. Early for some (including most of the students, as you can see from their empty-ish section in the lower right of the above picture), but we’d been up and about for awhile. We – all 11 of us, near and dear family – were lucky enough to have a tailgate connection right across from the stadium, so we stopped by before heading into the game just in time to see the enormous flag displayed across half the field. Not the American flag, mind you, but the Texas one, of course. Texas pride runs strong throughout the state, and nowhere better demonstrates this sentiment than a home UT football game.
Under clear blue skies and 71-degree temperatures (which felt more like 91 in the sun), the game began, with UT down nearly from the start. We watched, perched on bleachers high, high above the field; the players looked like small figurines constantly chest bumping after every successful play. As little as I know about football, I tried to follow the game, although watching the ball was difficult at such a distance. And we roasted. We took off our shoes and socks to keep cool, and rubbed cubes of ice on our necks, but there was no escaping the blazing sun. Thank God for the slight breeze every once in awhile.
a slightly better view
By halftime, we were ready to make a move – anywhere. Which turned out to be back to the tailgate. We re-entered the stadium in the 4th quarter, and managed to slip into a spot in the student section, right next to the band. Totally blended in there 😉 No one seemed to mind us being there, at least – they were too focused on how close UT was to winning. And then the disappointment of not quite making it in those last few seconds. It’s amazing how an entire game can come down to so little time, when every pass is make-or-brake-it. UT broke it today – but it was still a good game. And a fun experience to cheer them on in a stadium that fits 100,000 people. As for me, I think I’ll forever be unsure of all the intricacies of football. But I’ll gladly cheer on my team either way.