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Horns down, Guns up;
the stuff family fights are made of

11/06/08

I was born in January of 1965, and before the footprint ink had dried on my birth certificate, I was a University of Texas Longhorn fan.

As in “Hook ‘Em Horns.”

From the moment I could voluntarily control my own muscle movement, there are photos of me – at a very young age – giving the “Hook ‘em” sign.

The years that followed turned me into an apathetic Longhorn fan, but a fan nonetheless.
When my son, Tom, was 15 and starting to look at colleges, I felt certain that University of Texas would be his pick. So I took him to Austin to show him where he would be spending his first four years away from home. I showed him Sixth Street, Austin City Limits and other various points of interest.

I even bought him a “Texas” t-shirt in Hawk green to make the transition easier.
Things did not go according to my plan.

He didn’t care for the atmosphere in Austin.

I was seriously disturbed until he picked Lubbock, Texas as his new home.

Being a West Texas girl, it was an easy step for me to start loving Texas Tech football.

I was hooked when I went to my first college football game two years ago when the Raiders beat Baylor. I became a little maniacal last year when I was at the Tech-OU game. Which Tech won.

After Saturday’s defeat of (formerly) number one rated UT, my hands cramp when I try to hook’ em.

I bought Tom a crab hat at Mardi Gras last year in a nod to Tech’s Michael Crabtree. Then I found a tiny dog’s crab hat - complete with ear holes - to send for the massive miniature pincher-Chihuahua cross dog, “Moose” that lives with my son and his roommates.

I’m sure they both wear those little head covers with pride.

The weeks leading up to the massive Texas Tech-UT game this year confirmed that my family is still capable of a massive assault on one another’s senses.

Bets were made. Lines were drawn. Eyes were rolled. And Red Raider gear would be worn.
Saturday, I spent two hours watching ESPN’s Game Day, looking for Tom and his roommates Tyler Duggins and Justin Swenson whom I somehow missed. Sadly Moose was denied admission, even with his Crabtree hat on.

That evening, we met at my Mom’s for a meal of hot dogs, chili and stuffed jalapenos, followed by a generous helping of college football.

The atmosphere in the house was palpable. My brother Kevin and brother-in-law Steve were the only UT fans in attendance.

My Mom is normally a UT fan, unless they are playing Tech, then she is all about the Raiders.

My Mom was decked out in head-to-toe Tech wear, as was my daughter and niece.

My sister - Steve’s wife - was torn between her husband and the rest of the family and wore UT pants and a Texas Tech shirt.

I never said my family was normal, because we’re not.

With the UT fans (all two of them) in one living room, and the Raiders (God’s team) fans in the other (my sister sat on the fence), the game began and continued with insults hurled and enough smack talk to rival the Hatfields and McCoys.

UT gained a few yards, and my brother-in-law yelled, “That’s what I’m talkin’ about!” The next play Colt McCoy got sacked, and I yelled back “ That’s what you were talking about?”

During breaks I would glide through the living room, asking Kevin and Steve if they needed anything - like a touchdown, perhaps?

Several times during the evening I heard our family’s favorite term of endearment, “Shut up, I love you.”

And we meant every single word of it.

Of course, we all know how it ended ... Tech scoring to win the game in the final second.
Colt McCoy’s face was buried in a towel for much of the last minutes of the fourth quarter, followed by the same look I get on my face when I see my sister in the clashing colors of Texas Tech and University of Texas.

Kevin recovered by Wednesday morning after Barack Obama was elected as president. Steve swallowed his pride and wore a Red Raiders shirt when he came to the office to pay off his bet.

Wreck ‘em Tech.