Sunday, October 12, 2014

Texas vs Oklahoma: Far More Than a Football Game

                                                         Photo Credit: AP Photo File

By: DaVaughn Lucas

This past weekend, I had the privilege and honor of seeing my fifth Texas/Oklahoma football game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas.

What makes the game so unique is that it is in the middle of one of the biggest state fairs in all of America— the Texas State Fair. For those who aren't aware, the Texas State Fair lasts for nearly one whole month in September-October and if you are a big fan of great food, great entertainment, auto shows and football, it is your complete delight.

During the days leading up to the game, you see many fans from both sides coming through the various buildings and if you talk to either fan base, they firmly believe that either their team will win the national championship or their coach should probably be fired. Every once in a while you hear the whole "that kid should be benched" or "they should be playing this guy," but many times, the kids are from either from Texas or Oklahoma and played at or against a fan's high school so they tend to not put a lot of blame on the student-athlete. The fair is located directly in the middle of both campuses along the Red River, thus having the name of the Red River Rivalry.

Be that as it may, this game was not going to decide any big championship aspirations, maybe some for Oklahoma, who has an outside shot of getting one of the four College Football Playoff spots. For the Texas Longhorns, however, the team is looking bleak at best and I am a firm believer that Charlie Strong, the head coach at Texas, will not make it past year two. But the fans forget about that for three-plus hours.

The game is about the fun at the fair. The type many young children around the United States grew up going to in their local municipalities. The Texas State Fair encompasses all that is good with America without the ills of hearing about the negative that is going on in the world today.

A massive ferris wheel. An enormous statue of Big Tex that stands high above the park as you walk in. Major music acts that come in to perform at the Texas State Fair which have included Jessica Simpson and Garth Brooks, among many others. Some of the greatest food that you will ever have, especially if you are willing to throw away your workout plan (and have your body pay for it later) with great items such as fried cheesesticks, fried oreos, chicken fried steak, chicken fried chicken, great burritos, Texas BBQ and other great foods– all from local Texas vendors.

Oh yeah, about that football game. The game was great, Oklahoma kept on rolling along and Texas continued to fall into a tailspin that has not been seen in the streets of Austin since the Southwest Conference days.

Is the Cotton Bowl an old building? Absolutely. It defintiely needs some big time upgrades.

But then again, it reminds me of what a stadium would look like in the Alamo. Concrete seats. Looks a lot like an amphitheater. Uncomfortable to sit in for long amounts of time. But I would tell all sports fans to take a visit.

However, against the typical sports fan's nature, the football game is secondary. The celebration of love, food and fun of Texas at the State Fair is what truly scores a touchdown in my book and is why when I have children, they will absolutely go down to the event.

Who knows, maybe Texas and Oklahoma will mean more on the field than off the field at that point.....