My love for Texas started with my Dad. Some of my earliest memories include watching Longhorn football games every weekend while my Dad taught me the rules of the game. For decades, we've gotten together nearly every Saturday during football season. When we were apart, we would chat by phone during and after. I doubt many fathers and daughters have bonded more than we have over Horns football, basketball and baseball.
Suddenly, everything in our family has changed. My dad was recently diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma. For the uninitiated, that's aggressive brain cancer. He just turned 70. He was a healthy, active guy who spent much of his free time with my two boys.
Now, after brain surgery to remove the tumor, he's undergoing 6 weeks of daily radiation and chemo. In just a few weeks, his strength has lessened greatly.
So what, you might ask, does this have to do with LHN? Read on.
Like everyone else, I've been incredibly frustrated by the lack of LHN options for the vast majority of the Burnt Orange Nation. But now, I have an even bigger reason for despising the network and its total failure to make any inroads with satellite or cable providers in my area.
Every year, my dad and I go to a football game and a couple of basketball games. We take along my husband (also a Horn), my brother and my eldest son. This was to be the first year for my youngest son to come along as well.
Unfortunately, thanks to some balance problems from the brain surgery and some overall weakness from the treatment, Dad can't handle going to a packed stadium this year. The stairs, the jostling crowd and the up-and-down would be far too much for him.
Missing these games may seem like a minor detail. But in a family where we find the clock suddenly ticking, and one of my best friends and favorite people in the world has limited time, taking away this important family ritual is incredibly painful for us all. It's much like erasing a birthday or Christmas morning with the kids. Sounds silly, but we've come to love these little trips to see our favorite teams play.
The next best thing? Watching the games together on TV. OK, yes, the LHN is only ruining two games for us. But that's two games too many. This is my dad's weekly diversion. It's our ritual together. Old hobbies and long-term interests are what keep us going in this horrible medical situation. And damn it, I want my Longhorn football games with my Dad.
Then basketball season will do the same freaking thing. How many games will we lose together?
Maybe I'm being overly dramatic. I feel dramatic. The last 6 weeks have been some of the most painful and difficult of my life. I dread future football seasons without my dad. He has been such an integral part of my love for the University and for sports.
When I was a student, Dad came to the Thanksgiving games with me and stood in the student section. I came home for the SMU game every year, no matter how bad the Mustangs were. Once we sat, practically alone, in pouring rain watching the Horns play the ponies at the Cotton Bowl. We froze together watching Texas take on Ole Miss in the Cotton Bowl. We suffered through the horrendous losses to Baylor in both football and basketball last year (it horrifies me that these will be the last games he likely sees in person). We complained about Greg Davis together - for years. We have a running family contest every season to see who can predict the scores for the football games, and the winner holds on to a Longhorns snowglobe for the year.
This sucks. It really, really sucks. And LHN just adds frustration to an already intolerable situation.
Which is why I now despise LHN. I understand the long-term potential. I know why this could be great for the University over time. But right now? I don't freakin' care.
I just want to watch the games with my Dad.