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Friday, September 2, 2011

Last Post before Kickoff

Photo courtesy of the Express News

Nine hundred eighty-nine days of anxious, sometimes painful waiting are about to end. At 1:00 pm on Saturday the first ever University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners football team will emerge from a dark tunnel at the Alamodome in front of a nearly sold out crowd. Years of preparation and planning, millions of dollars, and an unquantifiable amount of sweat and hard work have gone into building an FBS football program that San Antonio can, and should, be glad to call their own. Due to class, work, pep rally, etc. this will be my last post until after the game. As always, follow @CokerChronicles on twitter for constant updates this weekend.

For someone who has been around UTSA for awhile, this past month has been remarkable. Campus, and arguably San Antonio itself, has been revamped. I remember how shocked and disgusted I was when I stepped onto campus my freshmen year to find UTSA students wearing other colleges' garb, traveling to College Station and Austin to support a university that they never have, nor never will, attend, and failing to support an always competitive, sometimes brilliant, men's basketball team.

Enter UTSA football.

The past two weeks of school this year have been an absolute joy for me. Campus is a 30,000-deep sea of orange and blue, football talk dominates all conversation and small talk, and students are finally proud to declare themselves UTSA Roadrunners... without the "but I'll probably transfer to UT next year" suffix.

Without taking Saturday into account, my fondest UTSA football moment thus far has almost nothing to do with football. On November 11th, 2010, UTSA officially joined the Western Athletic Conference. UTSA will be the fastest school in NCAA history to transition from zero football to bowl-eligible football. The WAC will also provide increased opportunities and exposure for athletes in every sports program the University sponsors, while bringing the school and city into a national spotlight.

I will never forget the 30 minutes leading up to the WAC invitation acceptance press conference. I read on Facebook (while in class, great student I am) that UTSA would be holding a press conference in the upcoming minutes. I swiftly shoved all of my crap into my backpack and sped to find the room where the press conference was being held. I wasn't the only one. I ran into a couple of guys that I wasn't too fond of due to previous altercations. In a moment of euphoria, we put aside our petty differences and sprinted to find the press conference where we would shove our way into a room over-spilling with cheerleaders, athletes, band members, fans, boosters, administrators, and coaches-- all beaming with excitement.

This moment sums everything up for me. Football is so much more than a game. It has already provided educational opportunities to over 90 young men, while also leading to new opportunities for female student-athletes thanks to Title IX. Football gives us a higher identity; it makes us a part of something bigger than ourselves. And most importantly, it bands us together as human beings. Many say that football is a religion in the South. I wholeheartedly agree. Whether UTSA goes 0-50 the next four years or is "Still Undefeated" come bowl eligibility, the University has already been "saved" and Saturday will be our first Communion. Thank you all for reading/listening/following, and get ready for a full year of terrific content. Go Runners.



It is weird. My birthday is Saturday. My present is Hometown Football. While a good portion of the Site's followers so far are alums or students, I represent the City -- perhaps only in my head but it that is just as well. I remember when the Dome was built. I wanted to believe Red McCombs would bring us the Vikes. I wanted Tom Benson to bring us the Saints, both before and after Katrina. I wanted Paul Tagliabue and then Roger Goodell to let us have pro football. There were lots of excuses from those owners and politicians and commissioners. I was too young and too naive to know how this world worked.

In my adult-college-grad form I became a lot more patient. When UTSA announced they were fielding a squad I happily read the news from my Denton apartment while telling myself to be calm.

 Settle down. It is going to take about five to ten years to get it all up and running.


It is weird. It was fast tracked. It is here. We have our own team. You don’t need to hold a degree from UTSA . Just need some years put in the Alamo City or Countdown City or SA-Town.

I’m excited for you if you are an alum, though. I have lots of friends who went to UTSA and had to make do with only basketball. This isn’t New York. Texas doesn’t get down with any other sport like it does for football. I love me some basketball but it doesn’t get 55,000 people in one place quite the same way that football can. College football provides is a spectacle unlike any other collegiate sport and more personal than any pro outfit can muster. Your school football team is a super-connection to your college years.  I get decked out in green & white for my alma mater and blog and tweet and obsess. I am glad that my buddies get that experience.

San Antonio isn’t just Silver and Black. It is Orange and Blue.


Also ...

I really want to thank everyone for showing us some love. What started out as just a blog has turned into a whole lot of fun. Can't wait for Saturday.

Go Runners