As 2008 comes to a somber and unsatisfied end, I thought this would be a good time to reflect and remind ourselves that no matter what happens on and off the football field, in the media, or in life...
Damn It Still Feels Good To Be A Longhorn
In 2005, Texas fans lived the dream of a National Title. In 2008, we unwittingly bared witnessed to the dream’s requiem.
From the modest beginnings of a season which held relatively limited expectations to the October ascension to #1 at the expense of the incumbent Sooners to the season ending retribution against an Aggie team that thwarted the Longhorns’ BCS claims the previous two years (with all due respect to the 2005 campaign), the 2008 Texas Football Season has been the most rewarding of my lifetime.
While the 2007 season was mired by a myriad of off-the-field distractions – one in which Longhorns fans looked on in abject embarrassment as a plethora of players made appearances on the police blotter and the play on the field mirrored the disarray in the locker room – the 12 games in 2008 have been nothing short of a redemptive 12-step restoration of Longhorn pride.
Unfortunately, every day since this resurrecting season ended on Thanksgiving has been an irrevocable nightmare with no end. And the mighty Texas fan base has been reduced to a mélange of masochistic voyeurs watching helplessly as its team’s destiny was derailed by a series of unfortunate circumstances orchestrated by a myopic crew of superficial subjugates.
After the results from the second-to-last BCS beauty contest were announced – one in which the margin separating an invitation to make history and a prison sentence in obscurity was a mere fraction of a point – the ESPN punditry and and NCAA bureaucrats wept for the exiled Longhorns while exchanging congratulatory glances through eyes blurred by crocodile tears for a multi-billion dollar deal that would ensure the status quo of the very same system responsible for the travesty inflicted upon a Texas Team whose only crime was losing late in a style unbefitting of the time. The court of public opinion would eventually rule against the opportunistic Sooners but it would be to no avail as the will of the people is only as strong as their sympathy-driven resolve, and no constituent outside Austin weeps for the resource-rich Longhorns for long if at all.
In response to the unpopular outcome, Mack Brown stated through gritted teeth in defeated defiance, “It is what it is. We don’t like it, we don’t agree with it or think it’s fair, but, like anything else, we’ll handle it and move forward.” Since hearing that statement four weeks ago, I’ve found it to be less and less appeasing by the day. I wake up every morning with the knowledge that the only thing preventing the Longhorns from realizing the dream of another title shot is a miscarriage of justice and it is eating me alive.
But I’m tired of screaming at the wind waiting for an answer to silence the injustices that won’t let me sleep. I’m tired of losing all perspective on what’s truly important and having my priorities placed so far out of whack I don’t recognize my reflection. And most of all, I’m tired of hating myself for all the time I’ve wasted lamenting a truly trivial pursuit when I could have been smiling in the face of adversity knowing that I’d already won what no amount of votes or politicking could ever take away - come hell or high water, I’m a God Damn Texas Longhorn.
So what do you do when you’ve done enough, but enough just won’t do?
Where do you go for justice when time and again justice proves it rewards the fortunate and chic at the expense of the truly deserving?
And who do you turn to to restore your faith in a system that can’t be reconciled, only tolerated for what it is and accepted for what it is not?
The answer is you don’t.
You just thank God you’re alive and repeat until the pain subsides, “damn it still feels good to be a Longhorn.”
Let the bureaucracy sit idle on their stacks of greenbacks and perpetuate their mythological narratives via an all too complicit media that cares not for the truth, only a story they can sell. Let the irony of their folly be lost amongst their archives as we find solace in the knowledge that there will be another day, another game, and another season to live another dream. And while they may control our destiny from time to time, they will never control the indefatigable heartbeat of the Burnt Orange Nation.
After all, We’re Texas, and damn it still feels good to be a Longhorn.
Happy New Year!