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.

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.

Catching Up

lgindhead.jpgI guess I should have put one of these up after my last post.  “Semitough has reached the end of the broadcast day.” Younger readers accustomed to 24X7 television may not recognize a test pattern or understand that TV stations used to sign off for the night and there was nothing on overnight.

One of the perils of living in the Suburban Jungle is that one never knows when life events, kid activities, or simple ennui will overwhelm what precious little free time we have.

My deal over the past few weeks is a little bit of all three. First I got a new gig at work. Still finishing off the old one, but I was one of the lucky ones. Lots of good folk are moving on. Between The Princess and her senior activities, everything is “the last time I’ll ever….” and the Budman and his sports activities it has been hectic. Throw in a little traditional Semitough Holiday Funk ™ and there you go. No blogging. So now to catch up here is the last few weeks in a nutshell.

regionchamps.jpg

The local gridders continued their romp through the 5A playoffs winning their Regional Final and qualifying to play in the State Semifinal. Unfortunately the boys fell short this past Saturday night on the very same Texas Stadium field where their playoff quest began. Plano’s unprecedented eighth Texas state football championship will have to wait for next year. Much of Plano was at the game and all who were there agreed, these guys left it all on the field. They were battered and hurting but gave it their all, losing by a field goal in double overtime. Good job Wildcats! I’d tell you what classless clowns the Trinity Trojans, their student body and their fans are with their longtime (dating back to 2005) sacred haka dance ritual, but if I told you all what a bunch of whimpy posers they are that would sound like sour grapes so I won’t. I won’t even go into how rude and immature their students were during the Star Spangled Banner or how after that show of disrespect they got all bent because the Plano band played the fight song during their special rite. No, that could definitely be construed as sour grapes so I won’t even go there. Even telling that one Samoan dude to get a haircut might be misunderstood so I won’t even say that. Seriously. My lips are sealed.

Speaking of football…..the Aggies are playing Penn State in the Alamo Bowl down in lovely San Antonio. Guess who has 4 tickets and a reservation at the Hyatt Riverwalk. Go on. Guess. Pictures will definitely follow, maybe even video.

Speaking of Aggies, admission application has been submitted. The Princess is one step closer. Now the big step, getting admitted.

Speaking of submitted, this blog’s Northern correspondent has submitted photos that will absolutely go viral once posted. I’m negotiating with his agent, Mr. Nimbus, for exclusive North American publication rights so stay tuned for something never before seen or attempted at least as far as you know.

Speaking of staying tuned, we have reached the end of Semitough’s broadcast day. Tune in for more “Bloggin’ the Burbs” tomorrow. Or whenever I get around to it.