Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02)
According to Darrel Royal, there are only two sports in Texas – football and spring football. In coffee shops, barber shops and even in the beauty salons all across Texas, the talk is all the same – how’s the team gonna be this year? It’s that time of year, a time that folks in Texas and across the South prepare for all year long. Football in Texas is its own religion, where even your preacher cuts the sermon short on Sundays to get you home in time to watch the game. Nowhere else on earth will you find a culture so wrapped up in football like we are in Texas.
Proud Texans naturally believe everything is bigger and better in Texas – because it is. And like most fathers, I am a proud dad. My son Kurt started playing football when he was 8-years-old and I have watched him play every game from Humble pee-wee football until he took the field wearing the purple and white of our alma mater, Abilene Christian University.
From the beginning, Kurt played quarterback. Quarterback is one of those positions that’s tough on parents – it’s all the fame or all the blame. Every time I saw him take the field, I saw that same little 8-year-old boy full of determination. It was that very determination that led to him walking on at ACU and earning a spot as a safety and becoming an Academic All Conference player. With this new position, came a new prayer for the Poe family. The word “interception” took on a whole new meaning for us.
I was a judge during that time and I would head out on Friday nights after court and drive all night to towns such as Abilene, Kingsville, Canyon, Wichita Falls, Commerce, Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Ada, Oklahoma to get there for Saturday’s game. There is nothing more fun than being in a stadium on that first crisp fall weekend and see your team, and your son, take the field to thousands chanting: W-I-L-D-C-A-T-S, purple, white, purple, white, fight, fight, fight!
Texas football is that of legend and legacy. It has spawned books, movies and TV series. A look into a way of life that is so unique, so Texan. It’s the Junction Boys, the Tyler Rose, the last minute touchdown run by Texas Longhorn Vince Young in the Rose Bowl for the National Championship – I was there by the way with my son, Kurt. What a game. What a memory.
Yes, Texans love their football – right down to the names they choose for their children to the cars they buy. I am sure there is some big executive up in Detroit wondering why they have to send so many maroon cars and pick-ups to Texas? We may not have too many fall weddings, but I am willing to bet that you have been to a wedding where the new Mr. and Mrs. took off down the aisle to the “Eyes of Texas” or got a big “Whoop!” after the preacher declared them husband and wife.
Now I am not one to say that we don’t love our Texans and Cowboys. A smile still comes across my face when I think of the Astrodome and those Luv Ya Blue days. But, professional football today just doesn’t have that same thrill and excitement anymore. Sure, maybe up North it does since they don’t have high school stadiums that hold 15,000 people, field turf, jumbotrons and the caliber of coaches and players we have in Texas.
But it’s not just the facilities, what makes the game so special is the atmosphere of it all. It’s the band, the drill team, the cheerleaders, the mom’s selling t-shirts, the school clubs hanging banners – the whole atmosphere is what makes the game great. The entire community comes together, people from all walks of life get together every weekend and share in the tears and the cheers and root their team to victory.
So this weekend, grab the family, put on your school colors and head to the game. Grab some hot dogs and a coke and take part in one of Texas’ finest traditions. You will see some of those folks that you went to high school with and some of the same old guys sitting in the same seats they were in 20-30 years ago. I wish all the players, the coaches, the trainers, the cheerleaders, the drill team and all those people that volunteer their time to support our kids the very best of luck. Know that you are all part of something special, a Texas religion – Texas Football.
And that’s just the way it is.