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Barking Carnival Mixtape 2013: The Grimmical Brothers

These are the tales. The fairy tales. Oontz, oontz, oontz.

Wasn't Ron Prince Charming?
Wasn't Ron Prince Charming?
David Cannon

We played a team last week who was once coached by a Prince. And who is now coached by the Mauve Merlin. Whose hair is snow white. And so it is that I've had fairy tales on my mind.

Spent some time this week chewing cud on fairy tales. Didn't grind a lot on UT football because, well, UT football.

But I have been thinking about my Houston Rockets. And how I'm beginning to feel some real excitement about them for the first time in a very long time. Gonna plunk down some ducats on the League Pass this year. The tingly feelings are starting to re-emerge after a long, deep sleep.

So, fairy tales.

As dudes, I think it's fair to say that we often cast aspersions at the fairer sex and their fairy tales. Their Cinderellas, and their Sleeping Beauties, and their Carries on Sex and the City. We may snicker at their seemingly unending need for a happy ending (nooch). Their overindulgence in all the rrrrro-mance.

We gents often keep all that at arm's length and lift our cigars and our snifters of Scotch and think, "Women. Harumph."

Like lifeboats on the Titanic, fairy tales are the domain of women and children. Good thing we don't sink to that level of hootenanny.

(Record scratch)

Or do we?

Perhaps without being aware of it, we of the unfair sex clasp our fairy tales to our bosoms as tightly as the ball-gowns of fairy tale princesses clasp to the bosoms of fairy tale princesses.

We just couch those fairy tales in our imaginary sports narratives. And those narratives are as imaginary as the world in which Sarah Jessica Parker is the envy of every male Manhattanite's eye.

In our fairy tales, we dream of heroes rising up before us, slaying dragons or Trojans or Knicks.

Or resurrecting dormant college football franchises.

These are the parts of the fairy tale we crave.


Once Upon A Time...

There was an Immigrant from Nigeria who arrived at a college campus almost by mistake, driven away from the bright lights and foul smells of New York city by its cold weather. Brrrr.

After guidance from a wise man named Guy, The immigrant was chosen by the people of his adopted homeland to save them from years of misery. The Immigrant blasted off to a soaring start, overcoming even the powers of Magic.

But then The Immigrant was beset, not by wicked step-sisters or cruel masters, but by teammates vanishing in white powder, strange imaginary curses and incredibly questionable ball attire and slippers.

Searching deep within himself for the fortitude to succeed, The Immigrant turned a moral corner and re-dedicated himself to excellence.

Then the triumph. The Immigrant lifted his band of madmen, trolls, and dwarves on his back and carried them to the promised land, more glorious than even the most arresting white horse in all the kingdom.

And The Immigrant continued to slay all challengers. Again and again, defeating Couriers, Knights, Sea-Captains and Giants along the way. With dizzying, eye-dazzling, precedent-defying skill.

Finally prompting The Immigrant's Virgil, his mentor, his proud Father-figure to issue forth a proclamation to ring throughout Foreverland.


And scene.

Happy ending, right? Great story, Ma! Nighty night.

Only not. Our sports fairy tales don't end happily ever after. They go on through the complacency and the boredom and the program rot and the fan base in-fighting.

As sure as there's a trip up, there's a trip down. An unsettlingly easy sweep by the Sonics in '96. A desperate grasp at would-be title glommers-on named Barkley and Pippen. A slow, painful disintegration of moves and basketball brilliance. And finally, a heartbreaking decision by the franchise not to re-sign, a stubborned decision by The Immigrant not to resign, and a trading in of the cartoon Rocket-with-shark-teeth Dildo unis for the the cartoon Toronto Raptor unis.

And that's not fair-y tale.

The fairy tales we crave in sports are no more realistic or conveniently pre-packaged than those that take place in the enchanted forests of Disney or the soft-core getaway cabins of Kay Jewelry.

Terry Bradshaw's ending is no more realistically fairy tale than Carrie Bradshaw's. Sacks and the Steel City.

So, Mack Brown.

If I've ever seen a fairy tale ending in my life, it was when #10 was holding the crystal ball up to the Rose Bowl-lit confetti. The end. Go to sleep.

But Mack kept coaching. Vince went to the NFL. Things got better, things got worse.

It would've been really lovely if our Longhorn Fairy Tale had ended happily ever after, but that's not the world we live in. And that's not what we'll be witnessing/passively participating in over the next however many months or years it takes to cycle through the denouement, the fits and starts, the false hopes. Clint Eastwood. The End.

I'm not having a great deal of fun right now as a Longhorn fan. These semi-meaningless games and what feels like a wasted season. Watching players I admire like David Ash throwing pearls before swine. And we don't even play Arkansas this year.

I didn't have a lot of fun the last 16 or so years as a Rockets fan. But this is sports, this is life. And, as we wait for the ensuing chapters of our Longhorn Fairy Tale, it helps me to pull back and try to grasp the wide-angle view of the sports/fairy tale narrative. My Rockets are going to be good again. At least that's a story I'm telling myself.

And someday, my Longhorns will be, too.

In the meantime, I find myself wanting to pull a Rip Van Winkle. I'd sleep until next September if I could.

And this week's addition to the 2013 Barking Carnival Mixtape gets to the heart of some of what I'm feeling and maybe some of what Mack is feeling as we make our way through unhappily ever after.

And now, a Duet (of sorts) by Mack Brown & Young Williams:


Feeling my way through the darkness
Guided by a beating heart-----
One Heartbeat!
I can't tell where the journey will end-----I do. You'll be replaced.
But I know where to start-----Gonna fix it!


They tell me I'm too young to understand
They say I'm caught up in a dream-----Mackovic!
Well life will pass me by
if I don't open my eyes-----"Life" = this season.
Well that's fine by me-----Yaaaawn. Are we good again yet?

So wake me up when it's all over
When I'm wiser and I'm older
All this time I was finding myself
I didn't know I was lost


I tried carrying the weight of the world-----Jeff Madden!
But I only have two hands-----And that's fair.
Hope I get the chance
to travel the world-----
Spoiler alert: You will.
But I don't have any plans-----Other than to fix it!

Wish that I could stay forever this young-----Re-energized!
Not afraid to close my eyes-----Actually scared to death of it.
Life's a game made for everyone-----Participation ribbons.
And love is the prize-----One Heartbeat. 5 million clam$.

So wake me up when it's all over
When I'm wiser and I'm older
All this time I was finding myself
I didn't know I was lost

Didn't know I was lost
I didn't know I was lost
I didn't know I was lost
I didn't know

If you're keeping track at home, here are the season's BC 2013 Mixtape installments thus far:

Game 1. I'm Set -- Goodie Mob
Game 2. Pompeii -- Bastille
Game 3. Don't Know Why -- Ben Kweller
Game 4. Wake Me Up -- Avicii