It's a crisp autumn morning. Today on a field one-thousand miles away the unbeaten Texas Tech Red Raiders will battle the undefeated and much despised University of Texas Longhorns. The last time this game had such implications, I was but a young boy. My grandparents used to live a few blocks from Jones Stadium, home of the Red Raiders. As a child, I remember the Saturdays we would visit while there was a game taking place. From my PaPa's front porch, you could see the upper corner of the stands filled with fans in their red and black. You could hear the roar of the crowd, the sounds of the Going Band from Raiderland, and the announcer yelling, "touchdown Red Raiders!"
As I got older, my dad would take me to the football games. He would make cotton candy to sell in the concession stands. I would get to see much of the game, soak in the sights, the sounds, the smells of an autumn day on the gridiron. I even ventured to try to sell cotton candy in the stands just so I could go with him and see the games. I wasn't very good at it and my career didn't last a season. But, I still got to go. As I got older, the cotton candy stand was traded in for the souvenir stand. I watched my own table, sold pennants and rubber footballs emblazoned with the Double T, and made some money. Sometimes, my cousin and I would go down to the lockerroom to get autographs from players.
After enrolling for the fall of 1984, I became a student season ticket holder. Every game, win or lose spent yelling for the Red Raiders. Those were some great Saturday afternoons spent with my cousin G. and some of our friends.
I haven't been back to campus for a football game since November 1998 when I went back to see my Red Raiders beat those hated Longhorns 42-35 in the final minutes. Again, I went with G. The game was won in the final minutes. It was just like always. The sound of March Grandiose from the Going Band as they marched through campus. The "Go! Fight! Win!" before the fight song. The Masked Rider circling the stadium after another Red Raider touchdown. And after a sweet victory, The Matador Song.
And so, every Saturday, I fly the Red & Black flag at my house and think about the days of Red Raider football with my PaPa, my dad, and my cousin G.
Beat the hell outta Texas!!!