This is something I've being thinking about for awhile now. Obviously, I've read everyone's thoughts about what the team's motto should be (still a fan of "Leave No Doubt") and read the excellent write-up by PB on how "We Are Texas" relates to the football program's storied history. However, it wasn't until a friend's comment that I began to think of it in a different perspective.
I have a friend who graduated from Purdue and around this time of year we begin to debate the merits of our respective teams and conferences. I bring up our celebrated QB and he responds with a laugh, "Oh yes, Cowboy Colt McCoy begins the cattle drive to the National Championship." This gets the wheels turning in my mind. Now, my family is originally from California, but my dad was in the army so we moved around quite a bit. Nevertheless, I've always considered myself a Californian and still do. My friend's comment sparked the remembrance of my dad telling me in 7th grade that he was going to be stationed at Fort Bliss (El Paso) in the great state of Texas. My ignorant reply at the time was "Oh great, now I'm gonna be surrounded by a bunch of cowboys." Before you all start to crucify me, I've since changed my views of Texas and Texans in general (except Aggies). But it does make a little sense. The gut reaction when given word association with "Texas" is to think of such historical events and scenes such as the Alamo, the old Chisolm Trail and cowboys.
My point is that an association with the old Texan cowboy stereotype is not entirely a bad thing. Why not? Because of what the cowboy stands for. Texas state history tells us cowboy life was hard. That's a given. Surviving a life out in the Texas elements requires ruggedness, adaptability, resilience. It requires both physical and mental toughness. These are all fantastic qualities to have, qualities you pray your team has every year. So a simple phrase like "We Are Texas" harkens back to the men who helped make this state the way it is. We are Texans. We are the heirs to this great state. We share the same characteristics and hope to honor the past and forge a new legacy.
However, the best part is that so many of our players have proven their mental and physical toughness:
Colt: He is the leader, the quintessential small-town Texan. By himself, he IS Texas. He proves himself every week.
Shipley: Gutting through so many injuries to become one of the best WRs ever here.
Collins: Without him hurrying to the line at the Fiesta Bowl despite being hurt, we may not win that game.
Muckelroy: More injuries and missed time on the field. Now he's a proven Big XII linebacker.
Gideon: We've all heard the stories about his back injuries in high school. And we all know that he deserved better than he got from all our fans about the drop. It's safe to say he's rebounded nicely.
Bailey: There's a price for free Gatorade. It's called a snowy day in Lincoln and the game on the line. (Yes, I know he's a back-up now, but still, you all remember how you felt watching him line up for that kick.)
There are others, but I can't recall them off the top of my head. Hopefully, you all get the point. With the exceptions of Irby, Johnson, Alexander and Houston (maybe more), all our players are Texans. Maybe Mack meant it to be a reminder to them, to think that we are the flagship university of one of the best states in the nations with a history of fight and perserverence (Hell, the Alamo taught us that Texans never, ever give up).
Ironically, the OU game helps my skewed perspective. No Gresham and then Bradford goes down. With the talent they have on that team (particularly on defense), they should have rallied to Jones and won that game handily. Instead they crumbled and laid an egg. Their entire team lacked the mental toughness to win that game. Why? Who knows? Probably because once they cross the Red River to play for OU, they cease to be Texan. I like to think so. By the way, another fun similarity to 2005: OU loses its first game to a Mountain West team. I like where this year is headed.
Well, that's all I've got. Sorry if the post is rambling and lacks flow. I tend to never be as eloquent or concise on paper (or computer) as I seem in my head when the thoughts first appear. Maybe one day I'll be half as good a writer as PB or GoBR. One can hope. Anyway, I welcome discussion. Go. And Hook 'em Horns! We're going to rock Laramie!