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California Dreamin'

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I wrote this after the Rose Bowl in '06.

Thirty six years. It’s been 36 years since Texas had won a national championship in football. That might be acceptable if you’re the William & Mary Cairn Terriers, but we’re the University of By God Texas. It’s our birthright.

You’re raised on football in Texas. My childhood dream was to play quarterback for UT and then the Dallas Cowboys. I wasn’t alone. Little boys want to be quarterbacks. Little girls want to be cheerleaders. Eating disorders and crazy moms come with the territory.

Everyone goes to the high school games on Friday, the college games on Saturday and you watch the Cowboys play on Sundays (nobody watches the Texans). Our Methodist preacher knew that he had to end his sermon by noon. When will the Baptists start honoring this 11th Commandment?

So I had no choice but to go to Pasadena as I had gone to Columbus, Dallas and Houston. The football gods compelled me. Why else would anyone go to Dallas and Houston?

The atmosphere outside the Rose Bowl was electric. And Austin weird. Jews for Jesus were there as were the hippies with their sign imploring the government to bring our soldiers home from Iraq so that they can work on making hemp products. My favorite had to be the guy with the giant sign that read “ALL THAT MATTERS YOU ARE ALL HEADED FOR HELL.” Clearly a Calvinist.

And the chicks. Texas women always look their best, and this was no exception. Young and old alike decided that not only are we going to win the national championship, we’re going to look damn good doing it.

We finally get herded into the stadium. Crowd looks to be about 60/40 in favor of the good guys. Longhorn fans might be quiet in DKR, but on the road we. are. loud. We also drink. The concessions ran out of cups in the 3rd quarter.

Fast forward to the 4th quarter. USC just scores to go ahead 38-26 with 6:42. Two of our players lay on the field injured. We’re done for.

Oh yeah, we have Vince.

Michael Jordan with a football. Best player I’ve ever seen. Vince leads us to another TD, either running it or throwing it on every play.

We’ll win if we can stop USC. You can hear a pin drop as the referees bring out the chains to measure after USC’s 4th and 2 play. We stop USC. You can feel the air sucked out of the USC fans. We know we’re going to win.

Vince moves us down the field with ease, but the drive stalls. Fourth and five from the 8 yard line. The entire season comes down to one play. Vince takes the snap, looks around but can’t find anyone open. Like that’s a problem. The DE turns his shoulder and that’s enough to lose containment.

Vince walks in the corner of the endzone. The young cheered, and the old wept.

We finally regroup at In-N-Out Burger around 1am. The place is filled with Longhorns when in walks some USC chick. Up until now all the USC fans had been cool. SC chick has peroxide blonde hair, orange skin and a stripper pole in her immediate future. She is not gracious in defeat.

She starts yelling ‘Texas sucks’ and how we’re all a bunch of inbreds. Inbreds? We’re from Texas. We’re not allowed to have sex with ANYONE. The Texas fans start singing the Eyes of Texas as loud as we can drowning out SC girl in the process. We win again.

Whataburger is still better.