Like most Longhorns fans, I am unabashedly enthralled with college football and unapologetic about my marginal interest in every other sport UT plays (during the fall) regardless of ranking or prowess on the national stage. It's not that I don't bleed Burnt Orange and support Texas' unwavering pursuit of all-around excellence in intercollegiate athletics (hell, I send a check to Deloss every January to prove it...so he won't take away my seat options for football anyway), it's just that I realized long ago that all my happiness pretty much depends on how the Horns do on the gridiron. Sad, yes, pathetic, probably, but let's be honest, if you had the choice between beating OU in football or beating them in every other sport UT competes in against the Sooners, which would you pick? (No need to have a poll about it, I know I'm right in my heart.)
Okay, fantastic, now that we've gotten that established, guess whose drunk ass was at Jerry World on Saturday buying $8 Miller Lites while Rick Barnes' immortals took down one of college basketball's powder blue bloods. That's right, this guy. Hey, I may be a hypocrite and you can sum up my knowledge of b-ball with the phrase, "well, it's not football," but it doesn't mean I'm going to pass up a chance to remind a passionate UNC fan base - that actually cares about basketball the way I care about football- that "We're still Texas and you're still not."
For those of you who did not have a chance to experience in person the joy and majesty of UT's 103-90 win over college b-ball royalty, here are few untrained observations from the game...
- Watching a basketball game in Jerry World is like watching a 27" TV in a hospital waiting area from across the room - you can tell when a team scores, but you're rarely sure which player made the shot; you can hear the lady ten rows behind you talking about her recent mole removal in Hi-Def, but you can barely make out when the ref blows his whistle; and every time there's a timeout on the floor, you reach for a remote control that's not there.
- Jerry's mega jumbotron does help make you feel like you're standing by the ocean until you realize you just faced down rush hour style traffic, paid $100 for a ticket and another $30 for parking, and walked two miles to the stadium to watch a basketball game on TV.
- Between the Big XII Championship and this game, my Jerry World concession credit card receipts grand total is $117 and all I remember getting was a bottle of water and an industrial sized tub of popcorn (which makes the disgruntled fan inside me want to yell, "hey, Jerry, the price is wrong, bitch," as several stadium popo drag me to some undisclosed location in the vast recesses of Jerry World for redoctrination.) Seriously, it's worse than movie theater food prices and you don't even get butter. $14 for a margarita? You can get a tie and nice piece of ass for that kind of coin. And I tried. But no such luck at Jerry's Buy N Large Death Star.
- There were a lot more UNC fans than I thought there would be, but I don't think most of them were actually from North Carolina...cheapened it for me even at Jerry's prices. I know this because there were a ton of cars in the parking lot with UNC paraphernalia and Texas plates and they weren't rentals and neither were the cars. And the UNC fans sitting near me were all from parts close by which leads me to believe that the Tar Heels are like the Dallas Cowboys of college basketball...they've been popular for so long, they have fans in every port and a good marketing department. Michael Jordan might have had something to do with it too. Maybe.
- Near the end of the first half, neither fan base had uttered nary a peep. Nobody was standing up or really cheering hard - it was like we were all in church awaiting a sign from the Lord. And then we got one in the form of a blocked lay up attempt. I think it was Damion James who offered up a weak underhanded floater that a wet behind the ears UNC player stupidly swatted into the 3rd row like a hanging curve ball - giving the ball right back to Texas - instead of gathering it in and taking possession. Regardless, all the UNC fans stood up with their arms stretched out, turning around acting a fool like they'd just shown us all what "real basketball" was all about. Well, yeah, that went over like Matt Hill Free Throw. You could just read the expressions on every Longhorn fans' face thinking to themselves, "oh, hell no...you didn't just come into my home away from home, make a pass at my wife, kick my dog, and poke fun of my kid." But this unnecessary display of bravado did serve one good purpose...
- Not one minute later, UT's Dexter Pitman stuffed a dunk attempt near the rim and pretty much sent a Tar Heel flying into the 3rd row. And all of sudden, the Texas fans - who were well liquored up by this point - ignited like a burning cigarette butt tossed onto a gasoline slick. After that, it was on like Donkey Kong, and every Texas bucket from that point forth was responded to with thunderous applause and a not so sportsmanlike, "suck it, Tar Heels."
- Truth be told, both fan bases were actually pretty respectful towards one another and the second half didn't really offer up many Eddie Murphy in Coming To America "yes, yes, in the face" moments...even when UNC cut the lead to 4, I think most fans realized it was still December, March Madness was a long ways off, and the outcome of this game probably wouldn't effect much in the grand scheme of things other than maybe some tournament seeding considerations.
Additional observations, only shorter and less observant...
- Either UNC Coach Roy Williams broke his arm and was wearing a sling or he was shoplifting a turkey...couldn't tell from my vantage point in the Ionosphere. Plus, the dork sitting near me who brought night vision binoculars wouldn't share them because he was worried about the Swine Flu and he was too busy ogling...
- UT's hot as hell Pom Squad was not only stationed on the same end of the court as UNC's bench, but also in the same corner...coincidence, I think not. It's hard to hide your excitement, even in MC Hammer gym shorts.
- Word to those of you who like to get drunk and loud at games...no doubt this new service where you can text stadium police to narc on unruly fans is going to become more and more commonplace. Despite all my tales of drunken debauchery, I don't think any fan has the right to ruin another fan's opportunity to enjoy a game. But the three guys I saw escorted out of the stands during the second half weren't really doing anything wrong other than standing and cheering loudly...yeah, at a big time basketball game of all places.
- The most ironic thing about the situation above was the guys were being served by the beer man when the stadium guard asked them to come with him. Apparently, Last Call is when Jerry runs out of beer to sell...heck, you could buy mixed drinks in some of the bars there. How's that possible at an NCAA event? Must have been Tulane rules.
- Powder Blue is nice if you're expecting a baby boy or want to put your chi on mellow, but Burnt Orange is still the best color in all of collegiate sports. This is not up for debate.
- This just in, Alabama football players voted to walk to Pasadena rather than take the NCAA travel money allotted to them for individual airplane tickets...according to the Bama S.I.D., the seniors wanted to demonstrate their team unity and take a stand against Global Warming. One player added, "if I should die along the way, I'm giving my eyes to Stevie Wonder."
- Congrats to the Texas Women's Volleyball team on a great year, gallant effort against Penn State in the title match...Bill Byrne from A&M also sent his congratulations and condolences, but didn't pass up the chance to remind us that the Aggies recently won National Titles in Women's Badminton and Men's Dressage as well as taking first prize in the agricultural academic quiz bowl competition, "Who's Been Sheeping In My Bed?"
Last word on the UT Men's Basketball Team, "dude, these guys are f*ckin' good." And to think, all these years living and dying with every bounce of the ball, my loyalty to and unconditional love of Longhorn basketball is finally being rewarded. Who's #34 again? I think he'd make a good 3-tech on the D-Line.
Props to the Stop'n Pops,