By late 1988, the Dallas Cowboys were no longer America’s Team—or if they were, America didn’t seem to care. The once high-flying franchise had suffered three consecutive losing years, including a humiliating 3-13 run during the season that had just ended. The days of Roger Staubach, Drew Pearson, and regular visits to the Super Bowl were long gone.
Last August, on the first day of classes for the fall 2011 semester at the University of Texas at Austin, I stood on a pebbled apron of the UT Tower in a patch of shade and took in a timeless scene. A parade of youth passed before me, their backs bent to accommodate the weight of their packs. Guys in baseball caps and baggy shorts sailed a Frisbee across a parched lawn beneath a flagpole. Girls with ponytails and jogging shorts screamed with delight when they spotted a familiar face.
A coach from Georgia is lurking outside the Kimball High School gym in Dallas. Inside, Justin Manning, a defensive tackle who stands six feet two inches tall and weighs 275 pounds, looks beat. It’s not his social studies final. No, the kid’s vacant eyes are a sign of the burden—or, you might say, the privilege—of being a highly coveted high school football player. This year, Manning’s school has become a pilgrimage site for college coaches with a story to sell.
Last week, VICE magazine published a long feature about Sweetwater's self-proclaimed "World's Largest Rattlesnake Roundup" written by Canadian author Ryan Knighton, who is not only afraid of snakes but is also blind. "I’ll be goddamned!” one of his cohorts marvels when he realizes the blind journalist signed himself up for a snake hunt. “You the bravest son-bitch I ever met!"
Many people know that Lawrence v. Texas was a landmark 2003 Supreme Court case that declared the state's anti-sodomy law unconstitutional, but what about the story behind the case? Flagrant Conduct, a new book by University of Minnesota Law School professor Dale Carpenter, pulls back the curtain and tells the story of John Geddes Lawrence and Tyron Garner, the men at the center of the case.
At the beginning of what was to be an unsparing summer in more ways than one, two middle-aged men prepared for their June wedding. The year was 2009. Months earlier, they had sent out invitations, and they’d scheduled a wedding announcement in the newspaper. Now they put on tuxedos and walked down the aisle in front of friends and family inside the sculpture garden of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, with works by Alexander Calder and Henri Matisse looking on.
Four years after a brush with a live power line seared off his face, Dallas Wiens received a new one from an anonymous donor, becoming the first person in America to receive a full face transplant.
Every year I read a story that just kills me—partly because it’s so good but mostly because I didn’t get to write it. “Blindsided: The Jerry Joseph Basketball Scandal,” by Michael Mooney, which ran in the July issue of GQ, was one of those stories. It’s the tale of a 22-year-old man who pretended to be a fifteen-year-old teenager, all to play basketball for Permian High School in Odessa, Texas.
When Garden and Gun writer Guy Martin first met San Antonio architects Richard Lake and Ted Flato some years ago, Lake suggested they all sit outside.
"Let’s have drinks on the porch so that you can see that we live our creed,” Lake said, referring to Lake/Flato's love of the breezy, screened, and shaded spaces that have been part of Texas since before the days of air conditioning. As Martin writes: