Saturday, January 1, 2011
A Proud TCU Horned Frog
Wow. Wow. Wow. Words TRULY cannot describe how I'm feeling this evening, but I'll try and do my best.
I realize now that I really never understood the true meaning of school pride until quite recently.
I grew up watching and cheering for both LSU and Mississippi State - so I always loved their colors and their school songs, their campuses and their football teams. Then, after signing with TCU in 2005 I wore my obligatory purple and white to all swim practices in college, and partook in all our sporting events always representing and cheering on the Horned Frogs. Then, I walked across the stage to receive my diploma on May 9, 2009 and it all changed...
I especially noticed my new found pride when decorating my office at the Houston West Chamber. TCU swimming collage on the shelf, TCU alumni sticker and TCU mug for the pens/pencils on my desk - and this Christmas even a TCU Santa Claus! I made my name in my email signature purple and found myself fielding calls and emails solely based upon encouraging my team - nothing at all work related! I became somewhat (as I coined it last night) the TCU Ambassador to West Houston! :)
I noticed with the implosion of one half of Amon Carter Stadium that as the pillars fell, I found a lump in my throat... I thought about the historical value of the stadium - both recent history and history of long ago. I thought about the ghosts of past TCU teams - as well as my own memories of running and jumping up the steps and bleachers during my time at school.
However, my pride really came to fruition the past month or so in the time leading up to the Rose Bowl. Those of you who know me understand that while I am incredibly passionate about sports, I generally like to maintain my calm, sweet demeanor and not try and stir up any trouble. Oops, that is until you disrespect my team - and therefore, disrespect me - because at TCU, you see, we MAKE IT PERSONAL.
I found myself wanting to literally spit blood out of MY eyes at certain individuals land-blasting TCU as pretenders who would be steamrolled on the big stage. I tried to keep my mouth shut (most of the time), but felt my blood boiling - knowing that those knocking our talent probably hadn't witnessed us play one single series of downs. I had faith and just waited for our players to hit the field today. I tried taking a lesson out of Gary Patterson's book on not worrying about what we cannot control and making our point out on the field.
Throughout the several hours of the game today - I paced, I screamed, I clapped, I closed my eyes, I plugged my ears, I fist pumped, I fist bumped then, when it was all said and done - I cried... The incredible emotions and pride flowing through my body just could not be contained. We had done it. We had climbed the mountain and proved that we belong. We no longer were the "little guys" - we were the 2011 Rose Bowl Champions.
Our coaches displayed poise and restraint (Patterson even halted the Gatorade bath until the clock had expired!), yet demanded and orchestrated 60 minutes of perfection. Our incredible quarterback commanded the game with a calm control and even quoted scripture in his post-game interview. It was just the classiest and most respectful display I'd ever seen.
Facebook was flooded with an incredible mass of cheers and pride for the Frogs and my phone flashed like a strobe light with those wishing the Frogs congratulations. People wanting to name their first child Tank (after our magnificent linebacker, Tank Carder), to others crying happy tears too to those continuing to poke fun at Gordon Gee for his riduclous mid-season/Non-AQ threatening comments! (PS - Hey Gordon, can you refresh me as to the Big 10's record today in bowl games?)
At the end of the day, we were the "Little Engine That Could." We thought we could, then we knew we could - then we DID. The TCU Nation painted Pasadena purple today - the first day of what is sure to be an incredible 2011. I tell you that I NOW know the meaning of school pride and I couldn't be more PROUD to be a graduate of Texas Christian University.