In my recurring nightmare there are only a few seconds left in the Longhorns game against the Red Raiders and I’m standing on the sideline at Jones Stadium in Lubbock just a few feet away from the action as Graham Harrell’s ill-advised pass ricochets off the unwitting Texas Tech receiver floating like a feather into the air as Texas safety Blake Gideon runs up under it. Certainly nothing abnormal or Freudian about that right?
But that’s when it gets a little freaky and everything goes slow motion like when I’m dreaming about playing dodgeball against the Swedish Bikini Team. Sorry. Anyway, I look down at my cargo shorts and as luck would have it, my pockets are overflowing with little snack size Snickers bars, the very ones I pilfered from my 4-year-old son’s stash of Halloween candy after he went to bed but not before making his daddy swear not to touch his candy. (But I did it out of love.)
And then it hits me, what if I spread the caramel nougat all over the football to make it really sticky and harder to drop (now even Freud’s getting excited). The plan is “fool” proof and I’m really happy until I reach down into my pocket only to pull out a fist full of empty Snickers wrappers just as the ball cruelly passes through the upstart Freshman’s arms bouncing harmlessly off the turf and into Texas football history forever to be known as Gideon’s Bobble (trademark & web site pending).
Take heart Blake, compared to the guilt I feel knowing I disappointed Jenny Craig by eating sweets right before bed and even worse, did it by stealing candy from my impressionable son, dropping the football that probably would have punched Texas’ ticket to the BCS title game is nothing. Don’t sweat it, happens to the best of us and at least you didn’t wake up and have to explain to your wife why your face is covered in chocolate and your cargo shorts are around your ankles. Hey, don’t judge.
Let’s move on, quickly.
Like many Longhorns Fans I’m sure, I went to bed Saturday night incredulous of the 39-33 last second Tech win I’d just witnessed only to wake up feeling absolutely sick to my stomach on Sunday morning. And it wasn’t because I overindulged in Halloween candy. No need to try and sugarcoat it, that was a huge game, a very tough loss, and it only hurts worse knowing the Horns came within seconds of pulling off what seemed impossible only a few weeks ago: beating four Top 10 teams in a row.
But on a night when nothing went UT’s way in the first half, injuries sidelined several key players, and the players who were on the field played uncharacteristically to what we’d become accustomed to seeing in the previous 8 games, you simply have to grit your teeth on a Sugar Daddy and say it just wasn’t meant to be and move on. There is nothing the coaches, players, or we the fans can do to change the outcome and trying to explain it only breeds more heartache and contempt.
That being said, if that line of psycho-bullshit doesn’t make you feel any better, you’re welcome to pop a Percocet and try traversing my always therapeutic...
Ten Stages Of Grief (After A Longhorns Loss)
Shock – “Did we, um, did we just lose to a bunch of misfits coached by a drunk lawyer who thinks he’s a pirate? Yeah, I think we did. It feels like we’re in a McDonald’s Happy Meal commercial...only this time the Hamburglar is kicking Ronald’s ass and gobbles the Big Mack.”
Expression of Emotion - Trust me, I’m crying on the inside...the dusty, arid climate of the South Plains Xeriscape has left my tear ducts permanently incapacitated. If I don’t blink soon, I may die of water intoxication.
Depression – If Stephen Sondheim were a Longhorns fan...
Isn't it rich?
Isn't it queer,
Losing a game this late
In the year?
Send in the Classless Clowns –
There ought not to be Classless Clowns.
We’ll beat them next year.
Physical Symptoms of Distress – Overheard at the doctor’s office...
“What seems to be the problem, sir?”
“It’s my heart Doc, I think it’s broken.”
“Sounds serious. How would you feel about doing a comprehensive physical including a rectal probe?”
“I’d feel like I was pass rushing against the Red Raiders’ O-Line.”
Panic – “Granny, quick, push your Life Alert button...our ranking in the Coach’s Poll has fallen and we can’t get up.”
Guilt – “This is all my fault. I should have waited until the bye-week to wash my lucky underwear. But 9 games in a row is tough, you know. Plus, people were starting to ask questions and given the amount of soil contamination, the EPA was about to slap my ass (literally) with a bio-hazard injunction.”
Anger - (Channeling Clark Griswold) “Hey, if any of you are looking for any last minute gift ideas for me, I have one - I'd like Mike Leach right here, today, I want him brought from his cozy little office decorated in pirate shit and I want him brought right here with a big burnt orange bow wrapped around his head so I can look him right in his bloodshot eyes and tell him what a drunk, no good, rotten, pass happy, four flushing, low life, dirt eating, blood sucking, dog kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat ass, bug eyed, crooked nosed, worm headed, sack of monkey shit he is...Alleluia, Holly Shit. Where's the Tylenol?”
“That was your boss on the phone, he wants to know when you’re coming back to work.”
“As soon as Mr. Mack apologizes to me and all Longhorns fans for bad clock management.”
“Honey, I told you...Mr. Mack is a sock puppet. He’s not real.”
“I don’t care. Make it apologize anyway.”
“I can’t...remember, we lost Mr. Mack to Athlete’s Foot last summer.”
“Oh yeah, well what about Mr. Greg?”
“Donated to Good Will.”
“And the Major?”
“MIA at the laundromat.”
Hope - "Yes, I'd like to confirm my hotel reservation on South Beach, reserve my spot in the shirtless Glow Stick Congo Line at Agidor’s Rave Review, and go ahead and book me on one of those super savor flights to Miami for the week after New Years. Non-refundable, you betcha."
Acceptance - Believe it or not, Texas actually lost the “biggest game in Texas Tech history.” But life goes on and fortunately for us, there's still a legit shot at winning the Big XII Title and maybe even the National Title. But for right now, the only thing we can worry about is winning the...
Forgive me for not being overly concerned about Baylor. I’ve certainly noticed the improved play and the prowess of their outstanding first year QB, but if the Longhorns simply focus and play their game, they should win easily. What’s really bothering me right now is the first half of Texas Tech game. If you take all the pre-game hype and rankings out of the equation, that game looked and felt a lot like the game Texas played against A&M last year. A game they really had no business losing but did because they couldn’t overcome a first half deficit created largely because of a lack of focus. The heart the team showed in the second half comeback was admirable and while we can rest easier knowing the players are obviously more mature and the leadership is better this year, the complacency they demonstrated sure reeked of the 2007 team’s biggest weakness.
Hopefully Mack reincorporated the same boot camp mentality this week at practice that worked so well in the weeks leading up to the Holiday Bowl last December. Still, it shouldn’t take a loss like this to remind the team that they have to show up ready to play at every game if they expect to win. Injuries, bad officiating, tough breaks, and yes, even last second losses are all part of the game, but poor starts don’t have to be.
That all may sound disingenuous and heavy-handed considering this team just played four Top 10 teams in a row, but I hope they don’t think the final three games are going to be a walk in the park because they’re playing unranked opponents. Teams with nothing to lose can be the hardest to play this time of year because they play without hesitation, fear, or risk of regret.
That being said, I’m actually looking forward to Saturday. I expect to see a lot more of Fozzy and Malcolm Williams on offense thanks to their contributions in the second half of the Tech game and I think their fresh legs could be just the right infusion UT needs to finish the season strong. And from a personal standpoint, not only does the Baylor game give the fans a chance to put the Tech loss behind us, it also gives us a chance to remind the players how much we support them and appreciate the incredible ride they’ve taken us on thus far. Hopefully DKR will be rocking early because the TV Execs aren’t doing us any favors with the 11am kick-off time.
Damn, next thing you know I’ll be complaining about the weather. When did I get old? Thank goodness for the always immature...
Care Bears 10
The game kicks off at 11:00am (grin and Bear it) so expect the tailgate scene ("brew-ha-ha") to get going around 8am with Bloody Mary's (Brunch of Champions), maybe a few Screwdrivers (OJ and white Bronco sold separately), and as always, beer and breakfast tacos (Kegs & Eggs). Obviously with such an early start time (premature matriculation), it’s going to be important (write this down) for the crowd to be really pumped up (like Arnold Schwartzenpecker). As for the rest of you (Burnt Orange Nation) watching it at home (owner of a lonely BONer), you can find the game on Fox Sports (ESPNot),
“Actually had a good time (in Lubbock). It was probably better that you weren’t there though. I have a feeling you would have taken a swan dive off the top of the stadium afterward.”
“No, I would have been in shock and just tried to get out of there without getting my butt kicked. Then on the ride back to Dallas I would have cried like a baby, felt shamed, and then gone on a 3-state killing spree like Wyatt Earp...anybody wearing a red sash gets it.”
Longhorns!!! You tell the BCS we’re comin’ and hell’s comin’ with us.