Call off the search! I have returned!

Hello Longhorn fans! Did you forget about me? Probably. Let’s get re-introduced. I’m here to talk about sports with you, specifically football. What’s that you say? There were football-related happenings in the last forever months I failed to cover? Well, that’s just nonsense. The doctors tell me I blacked out around the time of the Kansas State game, regained consciousness shortly for the bowl game, but then I was gone again. Good thing my fainting couch was re-upholstered. I’m not saying anything happened to it during Thanksgiving, like getting shredded in a fit of pique during the TCU game. Nope, can’t prove it.

Whatever, my medication was adjusted and I’m fine now. FINE, I tell you!

What else did you say? Did I watch the mythical “national championship” game? I wasn’t aware there was one. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

So here we are, suffering from the effects of springing the stupid clock forward. Ugh! Who thought of that? According to the encyclopedia Wikipedia, it was some Kiwi named George Vernon Hudson in 1895. An avid entomologist, he wanted more time in the evenings to collect bugs. Folks, I am not making this up. At any rate, a pox on your house, Mr. Hudson.

And here we are, on the verge of spring, plants are pushing up out of the no-longer frozen earth, trees are budding. Also, the sound of bats is in the air. Not the kind you see streaming out from under the Congress Street bridge at sunset. Nope, aluminum on leather. The boys of summer are here, and until football ramps up again, I plan to sneak in some baseball talk. Because, let’s face it, football isn’t the only sport out there. Sure, it consumes us entirely from August through January of any given year. Then there are the down months when we turn to other forms of recreational entertainment that involve watching a physically fit group of people handle a ball and run up and down a playing surface. Basketball is one choice, although the rules are a mystery. I’m trying to learn, really I am. There are just SO MANY RULES. But it’s fun to watch and never dull.

Lately I’ve taken to watching rugby. I’d love to go see some college rugby live. The Ducks certainly have a rugby team. Unfortunately, the website is run by the student athletes (who may or may not be intoxicated, the jury is out). I can tell you what date the games are, but not what time. Nor can I locate the field. Does Riverfront Field really exist? Someone help a sister out here. Folks, seriously, rugby is AWESOME. These guys and gals are super tough–they play without pads, and are just as physical as football players. If the ball carrier falls down, THE PLAY ISN’T OVER! They just pass the ball off to someone else. There’s lots of passing and running and scrumming. I heartily advise that you check it out.

Then there’s baseball. One of the things I miss about Austin is a nice afternoon at Disch-Falk field watching the ‘Horns. We have PK Park here, where the Ducks play. It’s also a nice stadium, and the Ducks are nationally ranked. So get ready for some baseball posts. Conference play starts soon. But don’t tell my blog editor. It’s our secret. Shhhh.
But wait, you say, there’s football stuff yet to cover. And, you’re correct. I read in the paper somewhere that Texas won its bowl game against Oregon State. Who am I kidding; of course I watched it. We had the whole fam there–C came down, and my step-kids M and P were visiting, so we made a party out of it. By party I mean everyone ate too much and I had wine. Because, of course I did, that game stank. At one point in the third quarter, C yelled, “I’M OVER IT” and proceeded to get her things together to drive home (in a huff). Then something positive happened, and we didn’t stop watching, although by then I was also over it and wanted to go watch a British costume drama instead (WHAT, the BBC programs are great!). But we all watched, we watched until the bitter end when Texas inexplicably reached into the toilet and extracted a win. I’m still not sure what happened, because they were outplayed all over the place. Still, a bowl win for a Big 12 team is a win. Oh, I kept a tally, friends.

I tend to follow stats for the Big 12 (natch), Pac 12 (because I live here), and the SEC (I hate-follow them). Each of those conferences was pretty even in the number of bowls and number of wins. Here are some contests that stood out for me, aside from the rage-stroke-inducing UT vs OSU game.

  • Baylor over UCLA! Any time the collective of suntanned crybabies loses, I celebrate. Baylor is like a frenemy. I really, really like RGIII. He’s a class act (I know he’s in the NFL now but he lingers). And I love that the Bears absolutely took it to the Bruins to the tune of 49-26. Two teams with bear mascots. One survivor.
  • LSU lost to Clemson! A one-point, heartbreaking loss, 25-24. I giggled like Pazuzu had hold of me. It was glorious. Although I do like Les Miles and the Tigers in general, I also enjoy seeing the SEC lose.
  • Which brings me to my second favorite drubbing–Louisville over Florida! Suck on that, Gators. I’m not literally insulting alligators. They are dignified dinosaur-creatures who deserve better than being a sideshow for drunk hillbillies. The Cardinals spanked them, 33-23, and there was much rejoicing.
  • Now, you all know I’m a Big 12 girl above all else. If you’ve been reading my blog, you also know there’s no love lost between me and Kansas State. So when Oregon, my #2 team, beat the snot out of them, it was amaze-balls. 35-17! Heisman for Collin Klein? Sorry! A freshman just showed up to smash your dreams. The Ducks ended the season at #2 in the final polls. Even with Chip Kelly departing, we’ll continue to see good things from them.

Fast forward to February 6, national signing day. This is the day when college demi-gods pledge their allegiance to a particular university and agree to bring glory and honor to their football program in exchange for free tuition, room and board, and lots of tutoring. Show of hands–how many of you had classes with football players? I did. I had a Spanish class with Shannon Kelley, Texas backup QB and husband to Mary Lou Retton. Here’s my only solid memory of him, aside from the fact that physically he is a giant person: One day he wore ripped jeans to class. I don’t know, I guess it was a thing then? The professor asked him, in Spanish, why his pants were “broken.” He didn’t understand, and it was funny. He also misused the adjective “frequently” when talking about showering. In Spanish, he said, “Yo me ducho infrequentemente.” Which is not proper Spanish, but roughly means, “I shower infrequently.” I assume his hygiene improved. Moving on! Football players usually get mad support for classes because they miss so much.

So on signing day, way back when, student athletes just sent in their commitment letters, there was a little reporting on it, and the end. Now, it’s a giant freaking media spectacle with costumes and drama and everything. Will he sign? Won’t he sign? Will he commit? Will he decommit? Whose hat is Player X wearing? I learned something reading the reports around this event. Want to know what? It’s utterly corrupt. And that gave me a sad. There are players posing with wads of $100 bills (looking at you, Ole Miss). There are promises, under the table deals, cars, trips, benefits for families. I honestly found it depressing to have the curtain drawn back on this cash-fueled orgy. My innocence, it is gone.

Texas had its lowest recruiting year in recent memory. They nabbed some quality kids, but a very few of them. And those young men deserve their own post, so I will save that for next time.

So until then, Hook ’em Horns!

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