Goodbye Old Friend

...so God can look down and watch His team play.

It all came tumbling down today. Just like Jerry said it would. I tried hard to be bitter, but the new stadium is just so awesome.

But that doesn’t make watching Texas Stadium reduced to rubble any easier. I avoided watching all day. And even when I thought I had it down and was ready to watch, it took my breath away.

It’s hard to describe why an old sports venue evokes such emotion. Guess it doesn’t have to be old, I felt the same way about Reunion Arena when it returned to dust. But I guess it has to do with decades of recollections.

From high school in the 70’s when the stadium was brand new, going to watch the Cowboys play the Vikings. My friend’s girlfriend was part of the halftime show and we had a double date set up for after. We sat at the very top of the end zone.

To watching my number two son play a little league football game there when he was about 9 or 10. The Princess was just a baby but even she seemed fascinated by the place and watching her Bubba play ball there.

To the many high school playoff games there, Westlake winning a state championship, Plano winning and losing hard fought playoff games. And probably the most famous (locally) high school game of all – 1994’s Tyler John Tyler vs. Plano East. East’s improbable comeback and the even more improbable result.

So many memories. Too many to chronicle.

Farewell Texas Stadium. You’ll live forever in our hearts and on Youtube.

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T’was The Season

tree-in-trash

The Christmas season is over.

And now so is football season. This was reported to me via text message earlier today. It was confirmed seconds ago via news reportage of the final score of the Philadelphia v. Dallas NFL tackle football game.

The text message was short and to the point. Eloquent in it’s minimalist approach. And in what is a departure for the sender, a complete sentence. It read thusly:

Fuck the Cowboys.

Indeed. Romo is still the backup QB who fumbled the snap on the winning field goal against Seattle a few years back. TO is still the egotistical “I love me some TO” loudmouth WR he was when the Eagles cut him loose. Wade Phillips is still the unaccomplished offspring of a great football coach.

That’s all they ever will be. I knew that coming into the season. But I get sucked in every year. I see the silver helmets and I forget this is not the same team. Not the team of Landry & Schramm, but the team of Jones, Switzer, Campo, Gailey et.al. DeMarcus Ware will never be another Harvey Martin, hell not even a Steve Martin.

I say I’m done. But I’ll probably get sucked in again. I always do. I love the Cowboys. But tonight, and until next season…..Fuck the Cowboys.

The Sun Also Rises

sunset_txstadiumThe sun set on another great season of Wildcat football tonight with a heartbreaking last minute loss to Trinity, 35-42.

I was all set to blog about the classlessness of Trinity for booing our band as they played the school song during the pregame show, but after watching 48 minutes of hard hitting, gut wrenching football. After watching our kids leave it all on the field in what will become an instant classic high school football game. And after watching the Trinity kids huddling around Plano’s Mr. Superman, Rex Burkhead after the game, it all seemed a little petty. I did not film the Trinity Haka dance, which Esposa now calls the “Phelgm Dance” due to lack of equipment (left the camera in the car.) But it’s probably best. It’s their tradition. It’s what they do. So be it.

I snapped this picture with my cell phone as the last rays of the setting sun filtered through the hole in the roof at Texas Stadium. Today will mark my last visit there. The Cowboys will have a few more games, but soon enough the seats will be ripped out and carted away for sale as souvenirs. I’m sure other fixtures will be as well. The shell that is left will be demolished to make room for other development. And from the dust of what is left something new will emerge.

Many of the Plano football stalwarts will be graduating this year, the players that have made the past few seasons so exciting. But next year will bring new stars and out of the dust of this season, something new will emerge.

Great season Cats. See you next fall.

Comida Deluxe

Now that's some fine eatin' right there
Now that is some fine eatin' right there

Comida Deluxe is actually the name of the combination plate I had for dinner last night at the new Plano Chuy’s (of Austin fame). Two cheese enchiladas, flautas, beef taco and queso tostada with rice & refries.

But to call this simply nachos is to understate the awesomeness that is the $8 “Super Bowl Nachos” served at Texas Stadium. Chips, cheese, chili, pico de gallo all topped with a healthy pile of smokin’ hot jalapenos.

Note the paw in the background. Wildcats 42, Panthers 15. We live to play another week although the next game will likely be versus the overheated and overhyped Trinity Trojans. Number one in the nation and stars of their own Gatorade commercial (Can you pay the toll?). Meh. I have committed to my northern readers to at least attempt to catch the Trojan Haka dance and publish here. We’ll see.

Oddest thing at the game. The opposing team’s mascot was the panther. As far as I know a member of the cat family. Which would come nowhere near explaining why at different points during the game their band broke into the Florida State Seminole chant type music and the fans did the Tomahawk Chop. Strange indeed.

Best overheard quote: (Note this is a high school team playing in an NFL stadium) “Hey, they don’t have a big TV to show the replays on like we have at home.”

Playoff Bound

hole-in-the-roofHeading out to Texas Stadium tonight for what could possibly be the last time. The Wildcats will take on the Panthers of Duncanville in a first round bidistrict game.

Texas Stadium is a favorite spot for local high school playoff action. I remember my first game at Texas Stadium, a Cowboys-Vikings preseason game in 1974. It was all shiny and new with it’s classy I.M. Pei design and distinctive hole in the roof.

The stadium hasn’t aged well. Changes made to make it more profitable and more “big league” (aka more luxury boxes) have altered the design and made it a different experience.

Calling this stadium venerable is a bit of a stretch, but it has been the scene of some great football over the years. I’m hoping the Wildcats go deep enough into the playoffs that we get several more visits over the coming weeks. But if it’s not to be I will treat tonight as my last opportunity and will savor the cool fall air, reminisce about every name in the Ring of Honor, and have an order of those amazing stadium nachos, each as if it were my last. And I will say farewell to a place that has been a part of my childhood, adolescence, and adult life.

The City of Irving will demolish Texas Stadium after this season. But not before ass raider Jerry Jones rips out the seats and fixtures to sell them as souvenirs and hauls the Pokes off to Tarrant County. A sad ending for the house built by the likes of Tex Schramm, Tom Landry, Roger Staubach and others. But then JJ has never been one for any Cowboy tradition that didn’t line his pockets.

Farewell Texas Stadium. Job well done.

Obligatory Opening Weekend Football Post

Ok ok.

Thermometer readings aside, fall is officially here? How so you may ask. Because there was a football game this Friday night that’s how so. Near 90 degrees at kickoff, but fall football nonetheless.

Local high schoolers opened up on Friday night with our hometown Wildcats lining up against the Cardinals of Irving MacArthur.

Cats won going away, 33-17. But as usual here in the home of high school football and higher expectations, the football game was only half the experience.

Esposa and myownself found our way up to the General Admission section, yes there are reserved seats here for high school football games but all the good ones go to the season ticket holders. We had the distinct “pleasure” of sitting in front of what had to be the most obnoxious guy to ever purchase a ticket for a high school sporting event. With the footballers a little rusty from the long hot summer and making a few mistakes, the gentleman I came to call “Eeyore” started muttering “Oh come on!” after minor execution errors. This escalated into full blown “Are you kidding me?!” and ended with the stink eye I shot him after he exclaimed “How incompetent are you?!” at a kid who dropped a pass. He was quiet after that until halftime when we left to seek a less confrontational venue to take in the rest of the game. I’m not one of those “Well at least you did your best” kind of guys but I do tend to cut 16-17 year old kids a little slack if they don’t execute every play like the Dallas Cowboys. What a maroon.

Speaking of professional football, the Arkansas State University Red Wolves (nee Indians) certainly played in a league of their own against the Aggies at Kyle Field on Saturday night. We made the trip down to visit with The Princess and attend the home opener. The F-15 flyover (video not available because the camera operator is an idiot) was the highlight of the night as the visitors from the Sun Belt Conference outscored the Aggies in the first game of the Mike Sherman era. Hope it doesn’t turn out to be the Mike Sherman “error”.

I think I can speak for the other 78,866 Aggie faithful, some pictured at right, when I say….

Tank full of gas for the MegaSUV?: $85

Tickets to the home opener?: $135

New fan t-shirts and caps for the family?: $128

Watching your new multimillion dollar former NFL coach and your team looking like Ned in the First Reader against a middling school from a middling conference coached by guys who were high school assistants last year with a color-animal mascot lose their first home opener since the Reagan administration and then facing a two mile walk to the car and a 4 hour drive home?: Priceless.

But I’m not bitter.

Friday Night Playoffs….Or not

When playoff time rolls around you have to throw out the schedule. Friday night matches can become Saturday night, afternoon, or even morning games. Matter of fact previous Friday Night *ights contestant and #2 team in Texas, Allen Eagles, turned up with an 11 am game on Saturday and took a big fall, losing to 5-5 Rowlett.

txstadium.jpgWhen playoff time hits, coaches call their next opponent and work out a neutral site for the playoff matchup. Sometimes it’s halfway between two towns. Some coaches are gamblers and will flip a coin and play at home if they win or the other team’s home stadium if they lose. Needless to say there is a scramble to get one of the better stadiums in the area for playoff games. In Dallas that means one thing….Texas Stadium. Home of the NFL Dallas Cowboys. They start them early and run games every three hours, shuttling fans in and out. The venerable (and soon to be obsolescent) stadium holds ~65,000 folks and there are usually anywhere between 15 & 25 thousand in at any one time. It’s a treat for the kids, if a bit of a hassle for the adults. From a fan perspective it’s a bargain. You can buy one ticket and watch all you care to watch, assuming you have the cashish to live of $5.50 sodas and $8.50 nachos all day.

vsyellowjackets.jpgBut enough back story, to the game. Plano drew 6-4 Rockwall as their Bidistrict opponent. Rockwall was advertised as better than their record and did not disappoint. A prolific offense and smothering defense sent #9 Plano to the halftime locker room down 13-28. Whatever the Plano coaching staff did/said at halftime worked with the Cats scoring twice and making a two point conversion to Rockwall’s single TD head into the fourth quarter down only 35-28. Then it got wild.

Plano scored, 35 all. The teams traded punches for awhile then the Cats scored again, 42-35 lead with about 3 minutes left. Rockwall, stifled most of the second half, kicks into gear and moves the ball smartly down the field finally coming up with first and goal from the five after a long pass play that looked like a sure TD until the receiver pulled up with what looked like a pulled hammy around the 15 yard line. Three unsuccessful attempts later, fourth and goal – same five needed. Wildcats intercept in the end zone and (unwisely) run the ball out to around the fifteen. Celebrations ensue. Much yelling and high fiving to be had. But wait. Is that some laundry on the field? Oh snap! Defensive holding call against the Wildcats. Half the distance, automatic first down.

Here’s where the Cats impressed. It would have been very easy to roll over, lose faith, come down off that adrenalin high. The officials who had been slow as Christmas all night long were all of a sudden johnny on the spot and ready to play. Wildcats rush back on to the field, hurriedly lining up. The Rockwall QB quickly snaps the ball and runs a play action to the post. Intercepted again. This time smartly falling down, Plano ball at the 20 and a couple of kneels later it looked like this:

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Next week’s opponent, the Skeeters of Mesquite at the self same Texas Stadium. The Skeeters are 7-4 with one of those four being an early season 13-33 pounding at the hands of our hometown gridcrew. We’ll be there for the 11 am game with a tub of brunch nachos and a souvenir cup full of Diet Pepsi. Go Wildcats!