Now Playing: originally published 11 August 1993
I was looking through the online archives of The Daily Texan for the following story and lucked out finding it. I won't vouch for the fidelity of the text to what was actually published because I see that there are a lot of mistakes in other columns of mine archived at the site linked above. (And, so, I have fixed a few typographical errors.)
Nevertheless, the following column has particular relevance to recent word that the University of Texas and Oklahoma University are possibly looking into rotating their annual showdown between Norman and Austin ---leaving Dallas and the Texas State Fair out of it all together.
My opinion of this has not changed:
Last week, the Daily Texan reported that a group from Oklahoma wishes to change the venue for the annual football classic between the universities of Texas and Oklahoma. The so-called Sooner Chamber of Commerce is attempting to have the game played in Austin and Norman alternately. But let's have none of that.Yes, to answer your inevitable question, it is nauseating to read something you wrote in your early 20s. But I had been thinking about this column lately and wanted to share it with the class.
The reason this group wants to switch sites is so that the money spent in Dallas each year (estimated to be $15 million to $20 million) can be spent instead in each of our towns. But, to be frank, there's no way that that kind of revenue could be generated in Norman (and probably not here, either). Furthermore, I can think of entire countries with whom I would rather do battle over trade issues than the City of Dallas and its various chambers of commerce. If the proposed change were argued from a position of genuine viability, one might agree to it. But, Dallas ---with its hotel space, nightlife and familiarity with unruly mobs--- is the logical spot for such a big event. The "Battle on the Red River" is so firmly ensconced in Dallas that only a godless commie would try to move it. Not that we're talking about the removal of the papal seat from Rome to Avignon, but surely tradition holds some sway.
Our two universities have been meeting this way in Dallas since 1929. The fact that the Sooner Chamber of Commerce is in a recessionary mindset hardly justifies such a break with tradition. The curiously named director of the Chamber, Elmer "E.Z." Million, has suggested that "even if the Board of Regents doesn't support the proposition, the Legislature will mandate that the game go on a home-to-home basis." This sounds particularly meddlesome. If the controlling body of Oklahoma University wouldn't agree to the change, then what is Elmer up to? Surely he can find something else to take over the heads of OU's officials.
Part of what makes the "Texas-OU Weekend" so famous is that it inspires a pilgrimage of debauchery that draws the opposing schools and their fans into neutral territory: Dallas and the Cotton Bowl. It provides a chance for both schools to go on the road and have an inordinately good time. Indeed, for some, the game is just an excuse to get up to Dallas and be decadent. Besides, neither of our schools wants to be responsible for all the shenanigans and brouhahas that the other would inevitably engage in on our campuses. It is best that we leave that burden with the folks who know all about it.
Considering that Oklahoma has historically recruited such a disproportionate share of its athletes from this side of the border, it could at least show some gratitude by leaving well enough alone. By playing us each year in Dallas, Oklahoma is, in effect, paying homage to the wellspring of its talent.
Rather than throwing out a 64-year-old tradition, let's stand firm and insist that the game stay in Dallas. Maybe neither of our towns is benefiting from the dollars generated by the "Texas-OU Weekend" ---but that shouldn't be the deciding factor when it comes to sportsmanship and memories.