This week, Bill minds his p's and q's, dots every i, and crosses every d.
Bill Little commentary: The meddle of the metal - Ricky gets a statue
Well this is off to a good start! Why wait until the body of the article to screw up something simple, right? Time is money. Might as well get down to business right in the title.
It would be folly to speak of Ricky Williams only in terms of yards and records and trophies. Ricky is more than that.
Should we talk about Ricky in terms of water? Because, according to SCIENCE he is over 80% water. (Fun Fact: you are too!)
April 6, 2012
Bill Little, Texas Media Relations
The sun-splashed day
When is it not a sun-splashed day in Bill's world?
...capped a perfect weekend for Texas football. It was April 1, but there were no tricks. It was as if God were smiling on all things Longhorn - smiling most of all on the area in the southwest corner of the stadium.
God is fickle. He either tricks you or smiles on all things Longhorn. There is no gray area. It's all burnt orange from the cockpit of the Dreamwagon.
The Spring Game would be a moment for the future, featuring the Longhorns of 2012. The football letterman's weekend reunion had been a tribute to the past. But the bronze statue of Ricky Williams was a monument to a dream.
I don't know about you, but I both understand and appreciate the relevance of those distinctions.
And in the dedication ceremony and the video presentation, it was as if time stood still. In 1995, Ricky Williams had come from California - another of a long line of Texas running backs who proved early he could be good.
This is only partly accurate. Roosevelt Leaks thought he had proved Ricky could be good, but it turns out that there was a subtle algebraic error in his proof. And Chris Gilbert's famous "proof" that Ricky Williams could be good was really more of a persuasive argument than a rigorous syllogism.
...Nobody knew how good, except maybe Ricky himself.
Dreams are funny that way.
Hey - have you ever had that dream where nobody knew how good Ricky Williams would be, except maybe Ricky Williams? Me too!
...First, you have to believe
Fuck you, Bill! I ain't gotta do shit!
...- even if you are the only one who does. Then, you have to act to make the dream come true.
Stop bossing me, Bill!
...And on a December night in 1998, Ricky Williams had done just that. It was the eve of the presentation of the nation's most coveted football honor.
Oh! I love that holiday!
In my family, we celebrate the eve of the presentation of the nation's most coveted football honor with a ham dinner, a white elephant gift exchange, and a prayer to St. Guadalupe Hernandez-Fernandez-Guerrero, the patron saint of awkward sentences and overuse of prepositional phrases.
...As he waited in anticipation for the night he had dreamed of, quietly to himself, almost as a kid giddy with a smile, he said, "I'm going to win the Heisman Trophy tomorrow."
Rare is the moment, and rarer still the person, who can live his dream.
Wait a minute. I have to disagree with you there, Bill. Now, I'm don't claim to be a renowned expert in science, neurology, or a little thing professors call "making some goddamned sense when you write words on paper." But I do feel confident saying this: a moment that can live its dream is waaaaaay rarer than a person who can live his dream. You see, moments can't live their dreams because, well, moments can't dream. And moments don't live, either.
...In a lot of ways, it seems only yesterday
For your convenience, here is a comprehensive list of all of the ways in which something can seem only yesterday:
1. The thing in question can be perceived to have occurred the day prior to the current day.
...that an assistant coach brought a young recruit into our sports information office and asked me to talk with him about what we did for all-star candidates. "'This kid," he said, "wants to win the Heisman Trophy."
Right, and I want to be president.
...How many times they dream...and never come close. But I did talk with him, and I told him the Heisman Trophy should be won on the field
So, I guess we have Bill Little and his obvious, trite words of advice to thank for Ricky Williams being awesome. Thanks, Bill!
...and that if he came to Texas and did his job, we would do our job. It is great when things work like they are supposed to, and with good fortune and a lot of hard work from John Bianco, the assistant athletics director for media relations, and the media relations office; Ricky Williams did what he came to do. With the guidance of Mack Brown, former offensive coordinator Greg Davis and then running backs coach Bruce Chambers, he became the lynchpin of Brown's first team at Texas. Together, they set a standard which few have equaled in college football.
But it would be folly to speak of Ricky Williams and all that he did only in terms of yards and records and trophies. Ricky was more than that.
Ricky was raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens.
Brown paper packages tied up with strings.
Ricky was so many of Bill's favorite things!
He was a young man who cared and dared to be different
Sally Brown's cookies and fake Bigfoot footprints.
Sun-splash-ed mornings and dreamwagon wings.
Ricky was so many of Bill's favorite things!
...not to set an example, but because that's just how it was. He didn't start out to teach us a lesson that it is okay to look a little different, but that was the message we learned.
He return for his senior season just to win a trophy or set a record...he did it because enjoyed moments like those in New York, where he could share that award with his teammates, and where he could be a kid himself...for all the kids that he loves. And it left a message to countless kids because of it.
TOPIC HEADFAKE! Ha-ha! Didn't see that kid shit comin', didja sucka? Well let me run you through a replay, real slow like so you understand how seriously you just got schooled by the master.
First, Bill lulled you into a false sense of security with a vague reference to the Heisman. He got you thinking that you were prepared for what's coming next. You were like "okay, he's going to talk about winning the Heisman. I'm ready for that." Then you blinked. And the next thing you knew WHOOSH! Bill had flown right past you and was rattling off some unconnected gibberish about unspecified kids somehow learning something from someone.
Boom goes the dynamite.
And, no, I am not responsible for the two glaring typographical errors in the first sentence of that quote. That was the fine work of Bill Little, professional writer, and the crack team of editors at mackbrown-texasfootball.com.
He came back because he wanted his team to win...not because he wanted to win himself, but because he wanted to be a part of success.
At the ceremony dedicating Ricky's statue, which was created beautifully by former UT professor David Deming,
Sure, the final product looks like absolute kangaroo shit. But boy howdy was the creative process beautiful!
...Mack Brown remembered the moments with Ricky. Benefactor Joe Jamail kidded Ricky about his sometimes quirky style, teammate Wane McGarity remembered the camaraderie of that 1998 team, and broadcasting legend Brent Musburger celebrated a highlights video which included his famous call of Ricky's NCAA record setting run.
Brent Musburger "celebrated" a highlights video? Is this a fucking Madlib? Are we just using random verbs now? Okay, fair enough. In that case, I'm about 10 seconds from orangutanging a strongly-worded letter to whatever lazy shit-for-brains editor entreated this article to be emulsified.
A crowd bordering on 50,000 stood and cheered as Ricky walked into the stadium where his number has been retired, into the arena where it all had happened - a special place where memories hang like portraits in the hallways of the mind.
Welcome to Bill Little's Wonderland, where buildings store memories and brains have hallways where you can hang framed paintings.
Ricky's journey - his odyssey of life - since he left Texas has been well-chronicled. His is a travel plan not drawn up by your typical Mapquest of life.
To be fair, my travel plan was not drawn up by Mapquest of life, either. I strongly suspect the reason for that is that Mapquest of life doesn't exist.
...Ricky has marched to his own drumbeat at times. But the truth is, he has always searched for meaning, and for truth, aided by a brilliant mind and a gentle spirit.
Casper the friendly ghost?
At the moment, he is officially retired from the NFL (after gaining 10,000 yards and earning All-Pro honors). He plans to return to Texas and finish his undergraduate degree. The current thrust of his efforts to help kids is with his foundation, "Ricky's Kids," which helps youngsters in need of after-school supervision.
What a coincidence! I also have a foundation. It's called "FKT's Kids." Through my foundation, I supervise youngsters I may or may not have fathered while my common-law wife is out earning tips for rubbing her mustachioed musk box on a trucker's wobbling fupa.
The inscription at the base of his statue reads:
"Heisman, blah, blah. Dreadlocks, yadda, yadda. Unicorns and lollipops and dreams, etc., etc."
(Skipping a bit...)
When I was working on the book "What It Means To Be A Longhorn," I asked Ricky what that meant to him, and he said this:
"What does the fact that you're working on a book mean to me? Hmmm. I guess it means a bunch of suckers will hand over $19.95 for an unreadable pile of sappy drivel."
"It's like a family that can never be separated, never be broken up, and something that never, ever can be taken away from you...."
In the southwest corner of the stadium grounds there now stands a monument to Ricky Williams - a time traveler who redefined the work "unique" as he passed our way.
And so, in conclusion, Ricky Williams is a time traveler. The end.