Nov 25, 2009 - Nov 30, 2009

UST 4.0 Texas Football Plus

The Ultimate Ultimate Sports Trip. Intensity Over the Top.

1553 Miles. 8 games in 6 days, 2 Rounds of Golf, 1 Casino, Beignets and BBQ

This trip might never be topped for pure intensity. Texas vs. Texas A&M, Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State, Saints and Pats on Monday Night Football, Texas High School football playoffs, two rounds of BBQ within an hour, Whataburger, Avila tacos, beignets, two rounds of golf (was supposed to be three) and that’s only half the trip!

Nov 25 2009: Dallas, TX. American Airlines Center. Blues vs. Stars. Stars lose 4 – 3 in a Shootout.

Brett Hull Night. His number was raised to the rafters. We had no idea. Just happened to luck into it. Stars fans were solid and, while it’s a universal Texas fight song, it was still fun to hear Deep in the Heart of Texas at a hockey game. “The Stars at Night…Are Big and Bright… Clap, Clap, Clap, Clap…Deep in the Heart of Texas!” Pee Wee Herman had the best version. Nah, to borrow from Triumph the Insult Comic Dog – “I kid, I kid.”

Nov 26 2009: The Colony, TX. The Tribute Golf Club. Scotland’s Finest in Texas. Top 100 Public Course.

Snuck in some pre-Thanksgiving golf. Shot gun start with some other hard core types. The course was a collection of the best holes from St. Andrews, Troon and Carnoustie.

Nov 26 2009: College Station, TX. Kyle Field. Texas vs. Texas A&M. Aggies lose 27 – 17.

Probably the second best game for atmosphere in UST history. Topped only by a game a little further down this itinerary. Part of it was the opponent, their #1 rival the Texas Longhorns on their way to the National Championship Game. Part of it was the fact that it was our first experience with college football in Texas. Part of it was the tradition, the fight songs and the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band. Plus, the Aggies made a push late in the game to make it close to amp up the energy. Next time we’ll have to show up a day early for Midnight Yell Practice.

Nov 27 2009: Austin, TX. Barton Creek Resort. Fazio Canyons Golf Course. Top 50 Public Course.

Early tee time after getting into Austin at about 3AM. It’s all a part of the program. Sometimes these less well known, but highly ranked courses fail to live up to the expectations (No course would buy their ranking would they? No, no), but this one totally lived up to its ranking and expectations. Considering that we had about three hours of sleep, the scores were somewhat, slightly ok.

Nov 27 2009: Lockhart, TX. Kreuz Market AND Black’s BBQ. UST on the Mat Due To Meat Sweats.

Made a quick run south of Austin to Lockhart to experience some of the best BBQ in Texas. At Kreuz Market we thought we were ordering small amounts to keep some room for Black’s , but we were wrong. Even though we were full to the brim with sausage, brisket and beans we decided to suck it up and go to Black’s as well. Kreuz has been around for over 100 years. Black’s has been around since 1932. Lots of tradition and rivalry between the various BBQ restaurants in Lockhart. Have to give Kreuz’s the slight victory on taste. How did we pack back the Black’s 30 mins after downing what felt like 10 lbs of Kreuz’s? Don’t know, but the ride back to Austin was not the most comfortable. It’s tough to drive with the meat sweats!

Nov 27 2009: Dallas, TX. Ford Stadium – SMU. Texas High School Football Playoffs. Arlington Bowie vs. Southlake Carroll. Arlington Bowie wins 45 – 21.

First high school football game for UST. Traditional powerhouse Southlake Carroll versus upstart Arlington Bowie. The game filled at least two thirds of SMU’s Ford Stadium. There was an obvious rich vs. poor, black vs. white breakdown between the schools fans. Arlington Bowie wasn’t supposed to win the game, but they dominated Southlake Carroll, especially on defence.

Nov 28 2009: Norman, OK. Memorial Stadium. Oklahoma State vs. Oklahoma. Sooners win 27 – 0.

Unfortunately, this game ended up being a bit of a letdown. Great in-state rival match up, but Oklahoma State basically rolled over. They didn’t mount a serious drive the whole game. Oklahoma State was ranked #12 at the time, with big bowl game possibilities, but Dez Bryant was out because he talked to Deion Sanders and quarterback Zac Robinson was injured throughout the game. Plus, Sam Bradford wasn’t playing for Oklahoma due to injury, so it wasn’t the A-Team and the crowd (all 86,000 of them) responded accordingly. Still a worthwhile event, it just didn’t live up to all the intense possibilities leading up to the game.

Nov 28 2009: Fort Worth, TX. Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. Texas Christian vs. Louisiana Tech. Horned Frogs lose 68 – 63.

A nice bit of relaxation after a tonne of driving in the previous 24 hours. TCU’s football team had beaten New Mexico earlier in the day to complete an undefeated regular season, so we were hoping there would be a little overflow enthusiasm into the basketball team’s game. That didn’t happen though, which was probably for the better. The building was only about 1/3 full on a total capacity of 7,000, but it still had a great vibe. The building and court are both totally round, with a high domed ceiling. We chilled out for a couple hours, then continued the drive to Houston.

Nov 29 2009: Houston, TX. Reliant Stadium. Colts vs. Texans. Texans lose 35 – 27.

It’s been said before, but it’s very true that the Houston Texans are a boring team. They have no identity. And this shows up in the fans. The Texans were driving late, in a close game that they could have won, against one of their biggest rivals and the fans couldn’t be bothered to stand and cheer regardless of the situation. It was the quietest NFL game that UST has ever attended. It was like the loss was a foregone conclusion in the third quarter. Fred S got lost on the way out. Took the train and ran to Rice University, but still missed most of the first half of the following game….

Nov 29 2009: Houston, TX. Tudor Fieldhouse. Texas vs. Rice. Rice Owls lose 77 – 59.

Unexpected great event. They say Tudor Fieldhouse seats 5,000, but it felt a lot smaller. Texas was ranked #2 in the country at the time and the game was on CBS. The combination of big team and small venue made it a little more intense. The Rice student section was small but vocal. They were all over Dexter Pittman (Texas’ center) for looking like a guy in a Subway commercial. Every time he came to the line they’d chant “Five…Five…Five Dollar Foot Long”. Nice. Rice made a run in the third quarter to make it tight but couldn’t hold the momentum. Texas didn’t look like the #2 team in the country, and it caught up with them later in the season.

Nov 29 2009: Lake Charles, LA. L’Auberge du Lac Casino Resort. UST vs L’Auberge. UST loses $800.

Screw us! First group loss in UST history. Although we did enjoy the self serve beverages, so there’s always that.

Nov 30 2009: New Orleans, LA. The Superdome. Patriots vs. Saints. Saints win 38 – 17.

Regular season game of the year. Monday Night Football. The Saints coming out party. The Superdome was absolutely rocking. The Ying Yang Twins song “Stand Up And Get Crunk” was played every time the Saints scored and it seemed like every person in the Superdome was dancing along. Crazy people dressed up in everything from a black and gold Boba Fett to a massive black and gold whistle. In spite of the threatening fans shouting down some blue hairs in our section for ratting on some rowdy behaviour to the cops, this might have been the best game of all the Ultimate Sports Trip’s to date. The fans could not have been happier. Not only were they beating the mighty Patriots on Monday Night Football, they were totally dominating them. Don’t want to assume too much, but I’m guessing there was a large cathartic reaction to all the recent trials the city has been through, that was sparked by a dominating win, by the team they love, on national television. Great experience.

Other Highlights:

Started the trip at a fantastic Mexican hole in the wall called Avila. Brands and Truba claim their tacos were the GOAT. Sounds suspect.

Fit in our first trip to Whataburger between golfing at The Tribute in North Dallas and our drive to College Station for the Texas vs. Texas A&M game. Great burgers. These things are everywhere in Texas. Travelling the freeways from town to town you can see why Texas is the fattest state in the Union. It’s unreal.

Not really an official event, but we did stop into Baton Rouge on the way to New Orleans to check out LSU and Death Valley. Need to go back for a game.

We have ended two UST’s in New Orleans and both times our rounds of golf have been cancelled because of rain. We can’t get any luck. First TPC Louisiana was washed out by a hurricane on UST 3.0 and on this trip morning rain showers washed out our round at Gray Plantation. We are small fry’s compared to what’s happened in the region, but it’s still unfortunate.

The beignets at Café Du Monde in New Orleans are as unique and tasty an experience you can have travelling with tight time constraints. The food, the buskers singing, the employees sleeping in the corner – New Orleans in a nutshell?