Ever since their inaugural season in 1893, the Texas Longhorns football program has had one of the nation's greatest fanbases. If you are currently wearing some burnt orange and itching to throw up your Horns, consider yourself part of the club.
Need some measure of how much the Longhorn faithful love their men in burnt orange? Look no further than the Longhorn Network, a cable channel dedicated solely to the coverage of everything Texas Longhorns.
But even before the introduction of the still-controversial Longhorn Network, Texas fans harbor an obsession for their team that would rival even the most crazed Manchester United diehard. They would miss their own wedding before a game, their children are born with a burnt orange spoon in their mouths and some are even known to hum "The Eyes of Texas" in their sleep.
Sure, they may be excessive at times, but "fan" is short for "fanatic" which is exactly what Longhorn fans are. And if you meet any of the following criteria, you too are a Longhorn for life.
Count actor Matthew McConaughey among the lifelong Longhorn faithful.
Some are born to be great musicians, others doctors. There are also those that are born Longhorn fans, an affliction that lingers for a lifetime.
These fans did not simply decide one day to pledge their loyalties to the Longhorns. Their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all went to Texas and have been diehards ever since. Chances are you will find a family dog named Bevo somewhere in the mix as well.
If you yourself are one of these fans, you have been wearing burnt orange and throwing up your Horns since before you could say "mama." You might have even determined who your friends are based on whether they were fellow 'Horns or not.
There is little certainty in today's world. But if you were born a Longhorn, you certainly have been and will be a one every day of your life.
There is one surefire way to spot a Longhorn from a mile away, and that is the presence of the trademark color of burnt orange. If this color is a fixture in your life in any manner, you are a no-doubter as a Longhorn fan.
T-shirts, dresses, hats, socks, cowboy boots, coffee mugs, baby clothes, ties and even dog leashes. You name it and Texas fans have it in burnt orange courtesy of The University Co-op.
No matter if they are at the game or simply representing where their loyalties lie, Longhorn fans can always be found clad in some burnt orange.
If you find yourself without some burnt orange, just throw up your Horns and say "Hook 'Em." Your fellow fans will know what you mean.
It may have taken a bit for fans to get used to head cheerleader Harley Clark's new hand signal back in 1955, but the "Hook 'Em Horns" sign is as indicative as any burnt orange outfit. Fans throw it up at games, in front of world wonders and anywhere else they feel the urge to show some school spirit.
Just be careful if you are in Europe, where some will be highly offended by your obscene gesture.
Every major fanbase in college football has its one shining knight. The one that could do no wrong in the eyes of fans and players alike.
For Texas fans this man is none other than late head coach and stadium namesake Darrell K Royal, one of the most quotable sports figures of all time. Thanks to Royal, Longhorn faithful can pass Royal's timeless wisdom on for generations with phrases such as "You dance with one who brung ya," and "Luck doesn't go around looking for a stumblebum."
Alabama has Bear Bryant. Michigan has Bo Schembechler. Texas has Darrell Royal, who lives on in Longhorn lore as the greatest coach and orator the program has ever seen.
Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium singing "The Eyes of Texas" before a game.
There is no doubting the striking resemblance between Texas' alma mater, "The Eyes of Texas," and the classic American folk song "I've Been Working on the Railroad." But do not tell a Texas fan that the latter came first without expecting "The Eyes of Texas" to stare some daggers into you.
Written in 1903 by John Sinclair, the song was intended to poke fun at university president Colonel Prather, who frequently used a similar phrase in speeches to encourage students to go forth and prosper. Prather took a liking to the song and it has since been sung at all major events, including football games.
However, the song has been a point of mockery by some because it is in fact set to the tune of "I've Been Working on the Railroad." Despite this, fans still proudly sing the song every time they are prompted by the Longhorn Marching Band.
But there is always the die hard that will swear that "The Eyes" came before "The Railroad." If you are one of these, you are most definitely a lifelong Longhorn fan.
Another undeniable trait of a Texas Longhorn fan is his or her unequivocal hatred of Texas A&M and the University of Oklahoma, even if the former is no longer on the foreseeable schedule.
The hatred of the Sooners is born of the Red River Rivalry, one of the college football's greatest. Since its formation in 1996, the winner of this contest has gone on to win the conference six times, making it one of the most crucial rivalry games in sports.
But where the Oklahoma rivalry carries as much respect as it does angst, the relationship with Texas A&M has become downright nasty now that the teams no longer play one another. The two teams now just compete for in-state recruits, but fans of both sides act as though they are competing for the last spot on Noah's Ark. In any event, it is not going anywhere so there is no harm in having fun with it.
Even if you hate both the Aggies and Sooners without some serious allegiance to the 'Horns, you might as well just consider yourself a fan. The enemy of your enemy is your friend and nothing infuriates an Aggie or a Sooner like a Longhorn win.
The final unmistakeable mark of Texas Longhorn fans is that they will stop whatever they are doing when Vince Young's comeback against USC comes up. No matter if is a replay, a highlight, a first-hand account or simply a picture, Texas fans' ears always perk up when the subject is "The Run."
With Texas down 12 following a Matt Leinart touchdown pass, the Longhorns looked dead in the water against two Heisman Trophy winners and only six minutes to play. Someone forgot to tell Young, who ran for two touchdowns, the latter coming being the go-ahead score on 4th-and-5 with under 30 seconds to play.
The play and the subsequent two-point conversion, also courtesy of Young, gave Texas its first national championship in 35 years. Young finished the game with 467 total yards and three rushing touchdowns in what has since been referred to as the greatest championship performance in college football history.
If you are a Longhorn fan, you simply cannot watch the above video without chills running through your body.