The Joy of Spring
It has been said that in Texas there are two seasons for sports: fall football and spring practice. I know of no other state that makes such a big deal out of what is little more than a few weeks of teaching, honing skills, and evaluating talent, culminating in an intrasquad game that doesn’t come close to resembling the real thing. And yet the fans go nuts for it. UT’s Orange-White game, to which admission is free, drew some 41,200 spectators last spring—most of them hoping that Vince Young might have a last-minute change of heart about entering the NFL draft—and was televised on Fox Sports Network Southwest. Leave it to the Aggies, though, to make an even bigger deal of their Maroon-White game, which coincides with a parents’ weekend. Last spring, game day began at the stroke of twelve with the venerable Aggie tradition of midnight yell practice. The next morning, Aggie players and coaches attended an autograph session. Athletic director Bill Byrne followed with a “State of the Aggies” address. A major campus thoroughfare was closed off to become the Aggie Fan Zone, with food, live music, and games for kids. An Aggie Moms Boutique offered Aggie gifts and crafts throughout the weekend. Lunch was barbecue (also known as “Bevo Burn”). At last came the game, for which Aggies gladly shelled out $5 per adult ticket. You know what? The Aggies won.