November 23, 2011

One Final Longhorn/Aggie Showdown

It was first played in 1894. It's been played every year since 1915. It's been played a total of 117 times. It's been a Thanksgiving tradition and and a central component to my favorite holiday for my entire life. The 2011 meeting of Texas and Texas A&M will be the 118th and the final. At least for a while.

The game has a deep and rich history. It's given rise to name of the Longhorn mascot, verses to the A&M fight song (which apparently will be replaced with others when they move the SEC), many traditions, a deep seeded school rivalry, and an even deeper seeded camaraderie and kinship in the face of horrific tragedy.

Chalk it up to greed, over-inflated egos, hurt feelings, or whatever cause you want to put behind it. The fact that one of the most historic, long standing, and exciting rivalries is coming to an end is a travesty. No one is blameless and all should be held accountable for letting this happen. Thanksgivings will never be the same for me. UT playing Texas Tech is not something you really plan your dinner around. Nor is, I'm assuming, whatever SEC team is going to be slugging it out with A&M. Not even the mythical, red herring, never-going-to-happen-but-we'll-keep-talking-about-it-to-placate-you UT vs. Notre Dame matchup generates the type of excitement that watching the Longhorns and Aggies does. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see burnt orange in South Bend and the golden-domers here ever other year. I'd just want to see that in addition to gathering around a television with my family, all decked out in burnt orange, in a food coma, swigging a beer and watching the Longhorns stomp the Aggies.

These games and the traditions behind them are what make college football great. They are one of the things that makes bearable the fact we have to watch a biased "beauty contest" to crown a national champion rather than the play-off that everyone except those making money from the bowl games wants to see. These games are the type of unscripted drama that makes sports so much fun. And it's all going away. Just sad and really unbelievable. I don't think it will fully sink in until a year from now when this game, for the first time, will not be part of our Thanksgiving holiday.

So this year, we'll enjoy all of our family being together, eat too much of an outstanding meal, get in a quick nap, crack open a cold beer, and gather around to sing "Texas Fight" and cheer on the Longhorns over the Aggies one last time. Thanks for the memories. This is a void that won't be filled for a long time, if at all. Oh, about the Longhorns stomping the Aggies. Realistically, the chances of that happening this year are not that great. But that's why they play the games. Hey, it's a rivalry. You can and should expect anything to happen in a rivalry game. Except perhaps being able to fathom it actually coming to an end. Hook 'Em!

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