A Love Letter to the University of Texas.
I would trade my entire sports watching life up to this point to have grown up in Texas, went to school in Austin and spend the rest of my adult life bleeding burnt orange.
This is saying quite a bit considering I grew up going to 49ers games in the 80's and 90's. I have been alive for four rings and my first memory of a football game is Super Bowl 23. I've been able to shake Jerry Rice's hand and have been to two NFC championships and one Super Bowl.
Considering all this winning you would think that I have been present for some serious loyalty and a plethora of die hard 49er fans. Well they are gone for the most part and what is left is a handful of hanger oners (myself included) dieing for some meaningful December football. In the 90's if you wanted some season tickets you would be put on a 40 year waiting list. Right now if you call the 49ers ticket office they will sell you as many as you want.
I was recently lucky enough to relocate to Texas from California and up until this weekend I had never experienced the glory that is UT sports. On Friday I decided to blow off work and attend the Houston College Baseball Classic. For three days every March six College Baseball teams play at Minute Maid Park the home of the Astros.
This year the teams included were Rice, Houston, Missouri, TCU, Texas Tech and Texas. The night cap on Friday was Rice vs UT, clearly these were the two best teams playing all weekend.
I showed up eight hours before the showcase game to watch two other games. To my surprise the small crowd was littered with orange shirts. Keep in mind these are exhibition games four hours away from Austin.
Throughout the day more and more UT fans trickled into the stadium ultimately culminated in 80 percent of the stadium dressed in burnt orange. Even then I wouldn't say I was all that impressed. Obviously a school of that size would have a lot of fans that relocated to the biggest city in Texas.
That was until after the national anthem, when Texas players and fans stood up, threw up the horns and sung the eyes of Texas. At first I couldn't believe that UT had a song that supersedes the National Anthem and one that the fans and players stood and sung with such a sense of pride that I got goose bumps. As a sports fan I have been waiting for this type of dedication my entire life.
Furthermore the fans applauded at sacrifice bunts and every pitcher that left the game was greeted by a standing ovation. After the game was over UT fans and players once again stood in a display of mutual respect and sang the eyes of Texas to each other.
I would love nothing more than to be a part of a sports nation this loyal, passionate and knowledgeable, but there is just no way you can simply switch over to something this special. In short I'm just not worthy.
I will simply have to continue watching the 49ers with my season tickets rooting my heart out with 10,000 other 49er fans until they win some playoff games. While millions of Texans live and die watching UT until their funeral where undoubtedly the eyes of Texas will be playing.
Thank you Texas for showing me what sports fans are capable of. You will be missed.
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