Silliman on Sports
by Stan Silliman
2016 BORDER WAR, REALLY
Oct. 15, 2016
Albert, I can’t tell you how excited I am to once again have the opportunity to watch the Oklahoma Sooners play their old longtime rival, the Texas Longhorns. My friend, Dave, and I plan to be at their first game since October, 2012 just prior to the 2013 Texas secession from the Union. Of all the states flapping their lips about leaving the United States, only Texas went through with it and it wasn’t without a lot of hard feelings, a fair amount of gunshot and a complete upheaval of the sports world as we knew it. The Dear Wife doesn’t plan to go saying she’s a little scared from all the unrest that transpired since the split. I tell her that despite what she’s heard, the state she was born in is not the third world country some make it out to be. I told her “The Ten Gallon Rebellion” and the “Taco Revolt” was like so 2014.
This game will again be played in Dallas, at El Arena Algodon as all the previous games were, but this time the logistics of getting to the game will be a hassle. As is any trip to Texas (or Tejas, as it now called) what with the passports, the border guards, the giant fence and then transferring your money into tesos and centasos.
That’s not the biggest hassle but you know this, Albert, it’s the brushing up on our Spanish and reading all the signs. This has been the situation since last year when the Hispanic majority pushed legislation making Spanish the official language of Texas (aka Tejas). That wouldn’t have been so bad except they also rammed through legislation making futbal’ the official sport of Texas. More than a few shots fired over that law, I’ve been told. We’re attending a good old fashioned American football game, not the kind played with a soccer ball.
The secession didn’t bother the pro teams all that much. Most of them continued to participate in their respective leagues, although the Cowboys became the Hombres. But for the colleges, it was an entire different matter. The NCAA voted to ban all the Texas teams from their old conferences so the Tejans went together to form a Southwest Conference. I felt sorriest for Texas A & M, who appeared ready to dominate the S.E.C. with “Johnny Football” coming back and all the great recruits they had signed. When the S.E.C. refused to recognize their membership, Johnny Manziel asked to transfer to a United States college but was shot and wounded by a disgruntled Aggie. He wasn’t killed, thank goodness, but his football career was shot (no pun intended… oh, Albert, I can’t lie to you. Yes, I did intend.)
Some people say Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, of all the U.S. schools, were hurt the worse from not being able to recruit in Texas like they once were. We’ve studied the question, and determined that although it was a hassle for recruiters to travel as freely as before, enough players and families moved up to the states during the free move period in 2013 to possibly offset the recruiting drag. Almost all the military families moved out of Texas after the federal government shut down the bases. Some border states received a 15-20% bump in population. This is what prompted the government to erect the fence, way too many Texans trying to migrate into the U.S.
We plan to enjoy some Tex-Mex, maybe barbeque Bevo. It is funny Texas still uses Bevo as a mascot while staging bullfights during game halftimes. All the more reason we’re happy this game is not in Austin. We understand their field bullfight ruts has resulted in a few turned ankles. Wish us luck.