Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fiesta in a Bowl

In Christmas cards that my brother and I received a few weeks ago, we found slips of paper detailing the highlights of our plans to attend the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona on January 5, 2009 to watch the Texas Longhorns and the Ohio State Buckeyes duke it out.

Of course, if you'll recall, I chose to attend Texas A&M University while my parents are proud Texas Exes and my brother is a student at UT. I knew what I was doing- I love A&M, would not have traded my college experience for anything, and have taken responsibility for the full implications of that as a member of my family over the past five years. I would liken it to marrying someone that your family respects but is clueless as to why you love them so much. This also means that I am duped into attending UT games and events under the guise of spending time with my family.

"We are all going to Austin for your brother's fraternity Parents Weekend and the UT/Oklahoma State game, you're coming right?"

"Saturday is the Texas/OU game and we're going to dinner afterward, you'll be around right?"

"You can go to an A&M game- they play UT on Thanksgiving!"

"We're going to Phoenix for the Fiesta Bowl- it's a family trip."

After the crazy wedding weekend, I was ready to relax and participate in the antithesis of weddings, which is coincidentally enough watching college football. BH, KH and my aunt and uncle also had tickets to the game, so the eight of us boarded the plane Sunday morning and headed West. We stopped first in Tucson to see our grandparents, and they picked us up and took us to their house for a few hours.

We got back on the plane and were in Phoenix 25 minutes later, then settled into our hotel rooms (KH and I didn't have to share with the boys for Round Two of the trip) and all met downstairs at BLT Steak for dinner. A party of eight on a Sunday night, we had the restaurant to ourselves. As the Dads scanned the wine list, the wait staff brought over bread, and a dip that was introduced as chicken liver pate. I didn't know how I felt about trying pate at a restaurant that had a picture of a cow's anatomy drawn on a chalkboard for all to see. I've tried some odd things in my day, but the kids end of the table and namely KH, who is a vegetarian, were looking for pats of butter. We When-in-Rome'd it and it was actually not bad. I wouldn't eat it with the same fervor as say, French onion dip with Ruffles, but I tried it nonetheless.

They ordered bottles of wine, a few appetizers and salads and it was one of those meals that goes on for hours without a lull in conversation or anyone worrying about the time or where to next. Possibly carnivore in a past life, I enjoyed my perfectly medium filet. We even went hiking on Monday morning, which seemed like a very Beaver Cleaver aspiration made by eight people who had been drinking non-Cleaver-approved bottles of wine the night before. But we actually went.

Feeling the need to draw the line somewhere, I flat out refused to wear burnt orange to the game. I am a lady of principles. We even got to see my Dad's youngest brother and his family, and I was baffled at how much his sons, my cousins who are 12 and 17, look like my brother. If you watched the game, you know that the first half was an uneventful series of field goals, but the second half came down to the wire. UT was behind with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter, and in my evil mind I weighed the pros and cons of them losing. Pros- they're a little self-righteous and . Cons- the damper it would put on our fun trip and the testing of my sanity in a plane with all of them on the way home. 

They won in the end, 24-21, but they didn't cover the eight point spread as predicted. It was a small victory that made me a little bit happy. Almost as happy as I was when my friend AR, who lives in Scottsdale, came to pick me up at midnight and take me to In-N-Out for burgers.

Good week.

"College football is a sport that bears the same relation to education that bullfighting does to agriculture."
-Elbert Hubbard


Megan said...

I am jealous you got to go! That was a great game!

I totally understand how you feel whole family went to different schools in TX, my mom to Baylor, and each of my uncles to A&M and UT! It's amazing my family talks to each other at all during college football season.

Errant Gosling said...

A whirlwind week you've had. Any rest on the horizon?