Six Inches

Thoughts from BL.

Bill Little commentary: The treasure chest

Saturday in Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium was a keepsake kind of day.

Oct. 19, 2008
Bill Little, Texas Media Relations

Somewhere, tucked away in a box of old keepsakes, is a faded orange ribbon.
It is about an inch wide and probably six inches long,

Oh. My. God. I think Bill's writing about his penis!

and it’s not even burnt orange, because the color of the day was a brighter hue. By now, the gold lettering is pretty faded, but you can still make it out: "Texas No. 1." The ribbon is a souvenir from college days,

Ah... college days. I remember them so well, and have many souvenirs. Mostly, those souvenirs are social diseases and liver damage.

from the season of 1961, when what may have been Darrell Royal’s best team ever made a strong run at UT’s first National Championship, only to have their hopes dashed late in the season.

It is important to remember that ribbon, not because Texas lost, but because of what it is – a treasure in a box of memories.

It is important to remember a ribbon that, because it's not yours and you probably weren't even alive when it was stashed in some unidentified 1960s-era college student's keepsakes box, you had no reason to know even existed.

But the reason you must remember this ribbon you've never heard before is not, as you might suspect, that Texas lost a football game in 1961. As sensible as that rationale might seem - after all, what sane individual can think back on past Texas football losses without bringing to mind various 6"x1" pieces of ribbon stashed around the house? -, it is not the correct reason. Surprisingly, you need to remember this ribbon for precisely the reason you were never aware of its existence in the first place: because it is a memoir hidden away in a shoebox of random crap collected by someone you don't know. This is the sort of guidance that Bill Little was hired to provide us.

And Saturday in Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium was a keepsake kind of day.

Bill is on the waiting list for the commemorative 2008 Texas-Mizzou Beanie Babies.

It wasn’t so much that Texas played a perfect first half of football, nor that the Longhorns validated their No. 1 national ranking. The day was about a feeling, a rare moment in rarified air, where the troubles and concerns of life are put aside for three and a half hours where we live life through our heroes on the gridiron.

Counterpoint, by Whitney Houston

This day was not about a "feeling" or a "rare moment in rarified air," as Bill Little would have you believe. Rather, I believe that the day was about one moment in time, when I was more than I thought I could be.

With all due respect, arguing that we put aside our "troubles and concerns of life" and "live[d] life through our heroes on the gridiron" this past Saturday is nothing more than defeatist nonsense. Instead of relying on others to assuage our concerns, the day was a time when all of my dreams were a heart beat away and the answers were all up to me. It was about one moment in time when I - not my vicarious heroes on the football field - was racing with destiny. And, in direct contrast to Mr. Little's position, I did this for more than a mere "three and a half hours." In fact, in that one moment of time I felt, I felt eternity.

The kids who waited hours after the game for Jordan Shipley’s autograph understood it, and as the popular wide receiver first turned to walk away, he was drawn to them, finishing off their night by taking the final few minutes of his before midnight came.

What? Is this a word puzzle or SAT question or something? "If Jordan Shipley finishes off the kids' night by taking the final few minutes of his, how much time is left in his night before midnight came?"

When Mack Brown and I were working on the original "One Heartbeat" book, we asked Red McCombs to give us some comments about sports in the book’s preface. McCombs related a speech he had made.

"Some years ago," Red recalled, "when I owned the San Antonio Spurs, I was speaking to 500 women at a conference in San Antonio.

Odds of a billionaire speaking in front of 500 women at a conference getting laid after a few margaritas on the River Walk? 99.9999598%

The subject of my speech did not relate directly to the Spurs, so I didn’t talk about them at all. During the question-and-answer session, one woman asked, ‘Doesn’t it bother you that a pro basketball team gets so much emphasis in this town when so many more important things are ignored?’

"’That’s a good question,’ McCombs said. ‘I didn’t plan on talking about the Spurs today, but since you brought it up, I will. Last night, the San Antonio Spurs played before 16,000 people in Hemisfair Arena, and a nationwide audience heard them on radio and saw them on television.

’Today, there are laborers and secretaries all over this town who don’t work for the team, but who are walking with a quicker step because our little ol’ San Antonio Spurs snapped a nine-game winning streak of the big-city Philadelphia 76ers last night. That’s why it is important. It gives them something to be proud about.’"

When he finished, one lady starting clapping, and soon the whole room was standing and cheering.

That's generally how applause works, Bill. But, thanks for the unnecessarily verbose description. Next time, try "When he finished, the crowd erupted in applause." See how I did that? I conveyed the same information encapsulated in your 16-word sentence in a mere 8 words. That's a 50% improvement in rhetorical efficiency. And my sentence was more effective, as well, because it didn't get bogged down in a dull play-by-play account of the applause. So, my sentence had effective efficiency, something you can appreciate.

That is what has happened with this Texas Longhorn football team, and that is why it is important to treasure the moment.

Wait. What "that" happened to the Longhorns? An old lady started clapping when they finished? I'm sure that probably happened, but is it relevant? I'm lost.

In 1961, we had no idea that a 6-0 loss to a TCU team with a 2-4-1 record would end the dream. When the dusty old box in the attic is opened, what comes back is not defeat, but the feeling of pride

Or the asthma.

– the date you had, the friends who shared – and the reason for the ribbon. This team, which has come in a surprise package, has given all of us a chance to ride their dream wagon.

Dream wagon???? Wow. I just - I just don't know what to say about that. Never mind that the entire last sentence above sounds vaguely dirty. But what in holy hell is a "dream wagon?" And why in the fuck would I want to ride it? One thing is for sure. One of you no-life losers has to print out T-shirts to memorialize Bill's latest bizarre turn of phrase. I'm thinking something like: "This 2008 Texas Longhorn Football Team: Ride the Dream Wagon."

One of the largest ABC Television audiences for an 11 a.m. game in history tuned in to see Texas beat Oklahoma last Saturday. A 6.1 household rating translates to almost 20 million people. The Longhorns’ success had brought back-to-back visits from ESPN’s GameDay, which has great viewership, and Saturday night’s "house party" was a perfect way to showcase the spectacularly remodeled stadium.

Kid N Play in the hizzy!

Obviously, all of that would have been really cool,

No. No, Bill. Don't do that. You're an old man. You use phrases like "ride the dream wagon." You watch Matlock. Please don't tell your readers what is and isn't "cool." That's not your area of expertise. What your area of expertise actually is remains a mystery. But, one thing is certain: tracking and reporting on pop culture trends is not your strong suit. So, please, don't use the word "cool" ever again.

including the record crowd of 98,383, but Colt McCoy and Brian Orakpo and the Longhorns also put on a clinic on how to play college football with intelligence, intensity and passion. The first half may well have been the best and most complete half of football ever played by a Texas team in the stadium.

I agree. The Texas football team has played at least three (arguably four) better halves of football in the swimming pool, maybe one or two in the men's room at St. Louis-Lambert Field airport, and arguably one better half of football in the International Space Station. But it has never, ever played a better half of football in the stadium.

Perhaps it is a cliché to talk about the "color and pageantry" of college football, but sure enough, there it was,

...hiding right behind the Surge...

Saturday night in Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. The loud crowd came,

Come, loud crowd, come.

The loud crowd sat.

Sit, loud crowd, sit.

See the loud crowd?

See the loud crowd sitting?

The loud crowd is loud.

Be loud, loud crowd. Be loud.

Be quiet now, loud crowd. Be quiet.

The loud croud is quiet now.

Now the loud crowd runs.

See the loud crowd running?

Run, loud crowd, run.

The loud crowd ran.

Goodbye, loud crowd! Goodbye!

stayed and cheered, and after the game Brown made a quick visit to the ESPN GameDay set for a live "SportsCenter" hit while McCoy was interviewed by ABC.
Fireworks fired into the almost-still night. Texas had answered those who wondered if there would be a hangover from the Oklahoma victory, or a collar-gulp at being ranked No. 1.

6" ribbon. Coming in a surprise package. Riding the dream wagon. "Collar-gulp."

This article makes uncomfortable. I need a shower.

Just as with the win over Oklahoma, the hardest part about the victory is that it must be put quickly away, because it is only the first game of a six-game stretch until the end of the regular season. Of the gauntlet of four consecutive ranked teams, it is the second. Now, Texas must prepare for two currently unbeaten teams – Oklahoma State in Austin and Texas Tech in Lubbock.

The Cowboys, who had upset Missouri in Columbia a week before the Texas game, come in with the pedigree of having played Texas as tough as any team in the conference over the last four seasons – even though the Longhorns have prevailed each time.
For the third straight week, ABC will air the game to a mostly national audience.

U-S-A! U-S-A!

And fans in DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium hope, to borrow the words from a country song, that "the road goes on forever, and the party never ends."

That, of course, remains to be seen. If you climb a mountain, you can keep your eyes on the peak, but you had better look at where you are stepping, lest you stumble. If you read a book, you’d best read a page at a time, and then go to the next page.

You pick the cliché, you pick the example, but however you cut it, this is about "one at a time." That is why it is important to remember that faded ribbon.

Once again, we see Bill changing the entire premise of his argument midway through an article. Earlier in the piece, he told us that we must remember the ribbon because it is (allegedly - we have no proof of this) a souvenir possessed by an unidentified person. Now we are told that the reason we have to remember the faded ribbon is because no matter what cliche or example we choose, the cliche/example is actually "about 'one at a time.'" This latter claim is almost certainly indefensible, but that's not the point. The point is this: Bill Little has no point. Ever. And if he has one, he'll change it so frequently over the course of a 500-word article, that it will become inscrutable to the point that it is effectively nonexistent.

In the midst of life, you can never foresee the future, nor can you live in the past. Memories, like keepsakes, can be stored in the chambers of the mind, to celebrate at another time.

Keepsakes can be stored in the "chambers of the mind?" Ah-hah! That's the problem. I think Bill Little has actually drilled holes into his brain, and stuffed them with old ribbons and other assorted knickknacks. No wonder he's so confused.

And in that sense, Saturday, and every Saturday this bunch gives us, is a keepsake kind of day.

And This Bunch said, Let there be Saturday; and there was Saturday.

And This Bunch saw the Saturday, that it was a keepsake kind of day, and This Bunch divided the Saturday from the Sunday that is a sleeping-off-a-hangover and doing-laundry kind of day.

And This Bunch named the Saturday and the Sunday "the weekend" and saw that it was good.

Amen.

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