It's OU-Texas week. When I was an undergrad at the University of E.K. Gaylord, I never really bought into the hype surrounding OU-Texas week. I covered the game three years and went down without going to the game another. But my redshirt senior year was different. I felt I needed to experience OU-Texas as a fan just once. However, I also only had $100 to my name.
Screw it, we're going.
The same was true for my roommate, Canada. The reason we called him Canada is a story in and of itself. He isn't from Canada, he's from Ohio. The public school system in Oklahoma isn't very good, one thing led to another and now he's "Canada".
So Canada and I decided to head down to Dallas the Thursday before OU-Texas without tickets or a place to stay and only $200 collectively to our names. We were able to leave Thursday because OU gives its students the Friday before OU-Texas off so they can go down to Dallas early and get in the proper frame of mind before the game.
We got to Dallas at around 11 p.m. and went to my favorite Dallas bar, The Flying Saucer in Addison. The Saucer was always a Thursday tradition for the group of us that went down to OU-Texas every year. Because it was my redshirt year and Canada was a year younger than me, we were the only two from the usual group in Dallas this year. The alumni of the group were slackers and didn't make the trip.
We closed down the Saucer and blew about $25 each of our bankroll. Now, to find a place to sleep at 2 a.m. on Thursday in Dallas. Fortunately for us, the Canuck knew a girl who had a thing for him who lived near Addison. We were both too hammered to drive, so we called her for a ride.
Even though she had work at 6 a.m. the next day, she drove to The Saucer, picked us up and drove us back to her place. We found out later it wasn't her place, but some house she was housesitting. In order to get out of spending the next three hours in the guest room with her, Canada and I had to share the master bedroom of these people's house.
She took the Canuck to get my car on her way to work, he came back to the house and we had the run of the place for the day. We drank their coffee, ate their food, used their thankfully heated pool and waited for other friends who were getting into town that night.
Friday night's alright for fighting
The Friday of OU-Texas is a rite of passage for students of both universities. The place to be is the West End, where copious amounts of drinking, yelling and brawling always take place. Police in riot gear and on horses are prevalent, but most of those in the West End are oblivious to them.
The police let everything go: public intox, minor in possession, even the occasional public urination ... as long as you don't get into a fight. If you get into a fight, you're history.
(Quick side story. A few years prior a friend of mine got into a fight the night before OU-Texas. He gets put into detox, along with a cell full of OU and Texas fans. They aren't going to let any of them out for 12 hours, which in my friend's case is 1 p.m. Too bad the game's at 11 a.m. He's resigned to the fact that he'll be missing this year's game.
Until the next morning when a guy in a red Armani suit wearing a red cowboy had strolled into the jail. He asked all OU fans to step to the front of the cell. He announced he was paying all of their bails, filed all of them into his stretch limo, gave them booze and a ride to the game.)
So we get to the West End at 10 p.m., get over-served at a bar and wander out into the street, which is wall-to-wall people. There's yelling, there's shoving and eventually fighting.
At this point I've lost Canada, who ran into another girl who was into him and took him back to her boyfriend's hotel room to presumably play Parcheesi and Scrabble. I run into my buddy Gabe who was in town from the Left Coast and had a table at another bar. This was clutch because Gabe chose a real major at OU and therefore makes a lot more money than I do. So when he's hammered he usually picks up my tab.
Now in the proper frame of mind, we re-entered the street where all hell had broken loose. There's cops in riot gear trying to break up a fight between two people who weren't students or fans of either school. A lot of older people will go to the West End on Friday just to watch the spectacle, but it isn't very often that they end up joining the fray.
They finally reach who they perceive to be the instigator and taze him in the groin. His reaction to being tazered in the groin spooks the police horse, which tramples him. We decided that was a sign we should leave the West End. Now, I have to find a place to stay for the night.
Gabe's hotel is a no-go. It requires wrist bands to get in and it will be impossible to get Canada and I into the hotel. So I call up my buddy Ed, who is staying in a hotel on the north side of town. We can stay there, for free. Victory. But, it's a 20 minute drive and I need to be there soon since its late, which means I have to find Canada.
Using a cell phone on the West End on Friday is an exercise in futility. I can't get a signal out, so I start walking in the general vicinity of where I think Canada went. Sure enough, I find him and the girl and neither of them are anywhere near sober. Both are stumbling and falling over, but we somehow carry the girl to the car and head to Ed's hotel.
When we got there, Ed was mad that there was more than just the two of us, meaning we'd have to cram 11 people into this hotel room instead of 10. However, both Canada and I brought air mattresses, so all was forgiven. Somehow, Canada and the girl fit onto one twin sized air mattress and I take the other. I made sure to sleep no where near those two.
I would title this section "Saturday in Fair Park" but I fucking hate Chicago.
This was the first time I'd been to Dallas for OU-Texas for a game that wasn't at 11 a.m. That, thankfully, allowed us to sleep in until 10, because if you aren't on the road by 11, you aren't going to get to the game until right at kick or later. Traffic is that bad.
I dropped the girl off at one of her friend's hotel and me and the Canuck headed to Fair Park, where the Cotton Bowl is located. I hate going to OU-Texas. I absolutely hate it and Fair Park is why. It's in a bad area of Dallas, there's not enough parking and you have to park on somebody's lawn. Then you have to walk through the bad area of Dallas to the gate to the fair.
If you have an OU-Texas ticket, you get into the fair for free. If you don't, like me, you have to pay the outrageous price of admission to the fair. And once you enter, you have to pay the outrageous coupon (or as Ron White says, coopin) prices to buy outrageously coopin priced beer.
Most OU and Texas fans want the game to stay at the Cotton Bowl because they love the idea of the old building with one toilet per 10,000 fans, cramped concourses and dumpy seating to continue to host one of the more important football games of the season.
Me? I say move it to Jerry World as soon as humanly possible.
They also love the idea of the fair, the Super Midway, the funnel cakes and the rides.
Well, I'm a former carny. I hate fair food, fair games and fair rides.
Get the game to Jerry World as soon as possible and I will be a lot happier playing cornhole, grilling and tailgating under a tent in a huge parking lot than I ever would be at the Texas State Fair. Big Tex can go fuck himself.
But that's getting off the story. Canada and I now had just enough money for gas to get home. Canada already has a ticket because he ponied up for season tickets before the season started. Me? I went to 10 college football games that year, one of which was in the state of Oklahoma. I had to find a ticket.
I knew I was going to have to wait until after kickoff to afford a ticket. So I found my dad, took the rest of his coupons off his hands and waited in the air conditioned beer tent until the time was right.
I know I can sit with my dad once I get into the stadium so it doesn't matter where the ticket is. With seven minutes to go in the first quarter, I got into the OU-Texas game for $10.
After the game, an OU loss, we hung around the fair for a few hours to wait for traffic to die down. I still had a good amount of coupons from my dad, so I used those entertainment until it was time to go. Entertainment, of course, meant futile efforts to win stuffed animals by knocking down milk jugs with a softball. This was followed immediately by futile efforts to catapult a rubber frog onto a flimsy lilly pad in a tank of water.
Last temptation of Canada
Once back in the car, we realized quickly that it was on its last leg. We noticed on the ride down that something was wrong with my car, but it was painfully obvious on the way north on I-35. There was a weird, mold-like smell coming out of the A/C and something just wasn't right. I originally blamed Canada for the smell, saying he had left a wet towel in the car.
We stopped at Humperdink's in Addison, which was the tradition after the OU-Texas game for a final beer and dinner. When we got back to the parking lot, we found the car wouldn't start.
We got the car jumped and started back north. We knew we couldn't afford to turn the car off, so we filled it up with the car running at a Race Trac in Denton. Canada then went in to get coffee to make sure we made it back to Norman.
He returned to the car with fantastic news. In the five minutes he was inside, he met two girls and one of the girl's moms. They were OU students/fans who wanted to take us to a nearby bar and then have us spend the night at the mom's house.
Now we had a dilemma. If we went with the girls, we might never get back to Norman because of the car. After about a 30 second pause, we realized we had enough adventure for one weekend and went back to Norman with $10 in each of our pockets.
The next day I found out the head gaskets on my car were shot and I needed a new battery. The smell? Well, that was the result of coolant leaking onto the engine, evaporating and then coming through the vents into the car.
We should have asphyxiated and died.
This year I won't be going to OU-Texas. For years, I cursed the Cotton Bowl, Fair Park, 11 a.m. kickoffs and vowed, "that's it, I'm never coming back, this is the last time," only to return the next season. Finally, last year I broke the streak. Despite living in Dallas, I skipped OU-Texas and drove to Clemson to see the Hokies.
Some friends, including Canada, had the run of my apartment while I was gone. I returned from South Carolina to find all my food eaten and all my beer imbibed. I expected nothing less.
That's one reason I'm not going. I no longer feel the need to go back every year. Another reason is financial. Although I've proved I can do OU-Texas for cheap, I've got a flight to Boston coming up for the Oct. 18 game, a drive to Tallahassee the following week and drives to Blacksburg for games Nov. 6 and 29. I think I'll save my money for those trips.
But the main reason I'm not going to OU-Texas this is simple. How in the hell could I possibly top the year the Canuck and I did it for $90?