I’ve been in Austin for about a month and a half now and some progress has been made as far as acclamation is concerned. Though I wish I could take all of the credit for these recent revelations, I have to admit that if it wasn’t for the couple of locals I wrangled up to show me a thing or two, I still wouldn’t know what a honey butter chicken biscuit was. I now know the difference between Mopac and I-35. I know that when you order a Lonestar tallboy you also order lime wedges to squeeze into it. And I know now, with the utmost of certainty, that football is king.
So, naturally, when I got invited to see the Texas Longhorns play on Thanksgiving Day at Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium with all of this new wisdom abounding, I lastly knew that my answer would simply have to be “yes”.
So there I was sitting in my Uber (because Uber is my new favorite thing), quietly enjoying the selection of music that had been chosen for me by my driver (specifically The Thong Song by Sisqo), when I looked out my window and noticed that I was suddenly afloat a sea of burnt orange and white. The streets were flooded with burnt orange tents full of people in burnt orange shirts, burnt orange trucks that have been modified to meet all of your barbecuing needs, and I may have even caught a glimpse of a dyed burnt orange pet or two, but I can’t be sure.
I arrived at my destination, Scholz Garten, feeling underdressed and ill informed. Once inside, I promptly ordered my Lonestar with lime and posted up against the nearest wall to watch the orange crowd buzz. This famed spot, which is located half a mile south of the football stadium on San Jacinto Boulevard, is always packed during the Longhorn games and their huge outdoor patio is covered for shade with community style picnic tables providing plenty of seating, which was a bonus due to the less than favorable weather. The seasoned old timers mixed and mingled with the college kids and families were present in abundance, as well, proving that Scholz’s is appropriate for any and all demographics.
About half way through my 24 ounce beer, I had finally gathered the courage to say the thing that had been festering deep down inside of me since the beginning of this entire debacle. I leaned in close to my new comrades, tapped their shoulders, and asked in a hushed tone, “Is this a bad time to mention that I absolutely hate the color burnt orange?”
They simply looked at me with scornful eyes and replied, coldly, “Yes it is.”
After another beer, or two, we headed over to the stadium on foot. We made quick work of the ten minute walk as the misting rain picked up and died down, back and forth, playing with the crowd’s emotions. As we approached the massive building, I could see the fans in the highest level of seating peaking over the edge of the towering cement wall. I could hear cheering and a sudden burst of fireworks signaled the beginning of the game, illuminating the night sky.
Even with the massive crowd bearing down on the stadium in droves, there were no lines to be seen. The traffic flowed smoothly and the acts of finding our seats, and more beers, were accomplished with relative ease, stopping only once to ask a friendly attendant if he could point us in the right direction. Our seats were about twenty rows up from one of the end zones.
While I’m sure that there was other food around the stadium, I only had eyes for the massive Torchy’s Tacos stand that resided in one of the side lobbies, which I proudly ordered nachos from at one point in the night. I was so enthralled with my cheesy prize that I somehow managed to return to a seat that was not my own. Here, I sat and enjoyed my snack thoroughly, lost in blissful ignorance, until my friends came to retrieve me and informed me of my blunder.
As the game got under way, so did the rain, but this only served to heighten the college football experience and make the game more exciting as the players slipped and slid on the turf. The well-seasoned veterans were prepared with their color coordinated ponchos, the amateurs had altered garbage bags at the ready, and then there was me. I sat soaking in my hooded jean jacket, cheering and screaming with the best of them while involuntarily flinching at the boom of every single shot that was fired from Smoky the Cannon during each score, kick off, and end of quarter. I learned a famous cheer complete with the “hook ‘em” horns hand signal. I made acquaintances with the other fans in my immediate vicinity and listened intently as they shared passionate observations about the progression of the game and interesting tidbits about the best and the worst players.
In between quarters, there was touching tribute made in the name of Bevo, the longhorn steer with, you guessed it, burnt orange coloring who served as the Longhorn’s mascot and who is recently deceased. As the memorial went on, there were vigorous whispers of rumors that the cow had been fed so many hormones and drugs in its lifetime that he was deemed unfit for consumption, or inedible, upon his passing. I have not been able to confirm whether or not this vicious rumor is true, but it did make for some juicy gossip.
Rest in peace, Bevo. You’re the man.
Though it was unfortunate that the Texas Longhorns could not pull out the win for my first game as a spectator, losing to Texas Tech’s Red Raiders by three points with a final score of 48 to 45, I felt really lucky to be there. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to be a part of such a historic tradition. The game was action packed and there was never a dull moment. The Longhorns fought their hardest until the bitter, rainy, burnt orange end.