Yes. I am talking about Texas Longhorn Football.
Perhaps you, too, are sitting in a pit of despair after your hopes of college football glory took a punch to the gut in the first week of the season?
Or perhaps you are someone who realizes that football is just a game and that you are a spouse and a parent and a citizen in a country that needs you to focus on other things, so you shake these games off and don't think about your team until the next week?
(Oh. That's an option?)
It's taken me a few days to process what happened on Saturday in South Bend, Indiana when my Horns lost by a score of 38-3 in a debacle that really seemed more like 3,800 - 3. For those of you who aren't quite as obsessed with your college football team as I am, you will have a hard time understanding this, but there is a part of me that thinks I could have done more. Yes, I could have done more.
I know there are sports journalists, commentators and alumni all over the country analyzing what went wrong with the quarterback decisions or the play calls or the (lack of) defense or what have you. But, here's the thing I had to remind myself: In a world full of pain and suffering, I can only control what I can control. And I best get to it and quick.
I couldn't get in the locker room with Charlie Strong and the boys and tell them which plays to run or how to read the Notre Dame offense more effectively. When I screamed at the top of my lungs from the family room of my Virginia home, "WHO, IN THE NAME OF VINCE YOUNG, WERE YOU THROWING THAT BALL TO, SON???" or "THIS IS TACKLE FOOTBALL, BOYS. TACKLE.FOOTBALL." Well, that clearly got us no where.
When I woke up Sunday morning, I had only two choices.
1. I could helplessly look at the rest of a very long season ahead of me that appears to be a dark tunnel of emotional distress.
2. I could pull myself up by my (cowboy) boot straps and take a good, long look in the mirror and see what responsibility I might have had in the defeat.
After much reflection, I have decided I made some critical errors on Saturday. And I think it is always important when one is feeling helpless to make a plan. Therefore, I have devised a strategy for Week 2 of the 2015 College Football season which I will share with you, fellow whackjob fans out there. Although, for obvious reasons, we will use the Texas Longhorns as our example, this plan can be applied to all schools and therefore, by all whackjobs.
I'm looking at you Nittany Lions, Cornhuskers and Hokies.
(Please keep your seats, Buckeyes, Aggies and Rebels because you never know, friends. You just don't.)
This is a plan which involves three basic categories that I think are firmly in my wheelhouse: Clothing, Food and Jesus.
First, let's talk about Game Day Attire. Now whether you are watching at home or sitting in the stands, you have a responsibility, Fans. This was me before the game started. I had crazy hope in my eyes and faith in my burnt orange heart. I had pulled out a t-shirt specifically for this day.
The problem here is that although my Texas "home" shirt is adorable and obviously makes me very happy, it's too generic for Game Day. For the love of Mack Brown, what was I thinking? I needed some burnt orange on my person. Some where. Any where. This was a complete lack of foresight on my part. Put on the colors of your people no matter where you are watching the game.
Here's an example of just a regular ol' Texas t-shirt, a la our MVP Longhorn Fan, Matthew McConaughey. Easy peasy and perfectly acceptable. I really kind of hate beer so at this point, that is optional. But I'm open to a t-shirt/Miller Lite combo if we need to add that component later in the season.
Now if you are physically at the game, you have a heightened responsibility in your attire. You must be mindful - especially you, ladies, who I know might want to be more fashion forward than a t-shirt. That's fine. Here are some options.
This from Nordstrom is really cute. I, first saw it on BigMama's Fashion Friday blog. She's an Aggie and is likely quite ecstatic this week. I try hard not to like her, but I can't help it. This happens with lots of Aggies in my life. They can be downright delightful and it's confusing.
This cute burnt orange top from LonghornFashions.com is perfectly acceptable.
On the other hand, here are some missteps in Game Day Fashion. Please, be aware.
Darlin', listen. I know you love our Longhorns and you must be from Texas because traditionally our people are fans of sequins. But first of all, stop with the sequins. You just can't. Secondly, when that sun hits that dress it is going to cause a burst of light the likes of which will very likely cause our wide receivers to have some mild to moderate seizure activity. Please, be responsible. No sequins of any sort or kind, 'kay?
Girls, I know you are excited when you find a top/shorts combo in your school colors. But we need to use some common sense. I don't need my quarterback looking up in the stands and wondering why you are dressed like Ellie Mae from the Beverly Hillbillies and your shorts are on backwards. If he contemplates your outfit too long he is going get himself sacked. Please be a blessing, not a burden.
On Saturday, I went to the grocery store and got some game day food for my two big boys and me. (Biggest boy and littlest one were away at a baseball tournament) To properly support our team from our family rooms, we must treat game time as a celebration of our schools by providing the appetizers of our people. I made a critical error here. I must explain that this summer I consumed my weight and possibly all three of my children's weights in junk food and carbohydrates. Last week, I finally got back on the wagon and was doing well with spinach, fish, chicken, asparagus and whatnot. I wanted Game Day food, but I wanted to be sure I didn't partake too much. Therefore, I bought this:
Oh, the shame and regret. No offense to the Tostitos people because my boys will empty a jar of this in minutes, but this stuff tastes like plastic, y'all. I should have made the real deal. For you, maybe it's jambalaya or cheesesteaks or barbecue, but for me it's queso - made with organic Velveeta, Rotel and jalapenos. I'm heartily sorry for these my misdoings. Next week, in honor of El Arroyo's Best Queso in all the land (West 5th Street, Austin, Texas. You're welcome) I will not scrimp on providing the food of my people for my people by buying a cheap imitation in a jar. I'm sorry, 'Horns. It won't happen again.
I realized as we watched the Notre Dame game that those Fighting Irish have Jesus on their side. Literally, in the end zone. Look:
I think our players might have forgotten the most critical fact of their lives last week. It's something we all struggle with at times.
Did you just forget, Longhorns? Jesus is in your end zone, too. No matter where you're playing, Jesus is in ALL THE END ZONES IN ALL THE WORLD. He loves you just as much as the other guy.
Hey, Jonathan Gray, RUN TO JESUS, SON.
He's there. He's waiting. He loves all the football players and non-football players and all the football fans and non-football fans in all the land! People, JESUS IS ALWAYS IN YOUR END ZONE. Win or lose, you have to play like you know that in the deepest part of your heart. Don't forget that this week.
Ok, we have a few days left until Game Two, so let's just review.
1. Be mindful of your game day attire. At home, wear the colors of your people. At the game, be responsible, ladies. The boys need to focus.
2. Prepare the food of your people. Don't mess around with imitations. If you need some jalapeno peppers and a block of cheese product, by God, buy some and then run a few extra miles the next day. Diet, be gone.
3. Jesus is in EVERYONE's end zone. You just gotta get to Him.
And PS. I miss you so much, Colt McCoy. Just so darn much.
We have a plan now, so carry on, Fans. Hook Em Horns. Amen and Hallelujah.