“Now is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But perhaps it is the end of the beginning.”
— Churchill, 1942, after Montgomery defeated Rommel at El Alamein
Let’s play a game called “Which is the Most Annoying?” In the spirit of participation trophies and bolstering Little Johnny’s self-esteem, there are no right or wrong answers – there’s just the answer that’s best for you. Afterward, we’ll have a half-and-half pumpkin latte and talk about our feelings. Ready?
Please rank, in order from mild irritant to full-blown fingernails on a chalkboard, which of the following is most annoying to you:
1. Governor Good Hair’s early exit from the Republican presidential race, which deprived us of months of hilarious gaffs, non-sequiturs, gross factual misstatements, and entertaining political blunders, like getting into a pissing contest with Donald Trump. As my Uncle Elgin once advised me when considering the potential settlement of a lawsuit, “Never get into a puking contest with a buzzard.” Perry, you should have challenged the Donald to a “hair-off” instead; you might have had a snowball’s chance in College Station of winning.
2. Local Fox affiliate troll Scott Fisher, who, six times a year, looks intently into a cloudless sky and assures us in what is meant to be a booming, authoritative voice there will be no rain during the Horns’ home games. The Longhorn Nation with a weather app on EVERY SINGLE CELL PHONE IN THE ENTIRE DAMN STADIUM gratefully thanks you for your courageous and gutsy calls, Captain Obvious. If the illegals really are over here taking all the American jobs, why the hell can’t Pedro from Matamoros replace this butt-munch?
3. The faux hip-hop DJ shill with the straight-rimmed hat and one glove featured prominently on Godzillatron multiple times Saturday night. Nothing gives you street cred like being the bagman for a huge, multi-national conglomerate. Sample quote: “Yo! Yo! Yo, bitches! Don’t be hidin’ yo dead presidents in yo crib! Drop a dime with the Original Gangsta – Edward D. Jones!”
4. The staccato, herky-jerky sound of the DKR stadium sound system, which remarkably mimicked a skipping CD player, except only dinosaurs like me remember actually remember CD players (or the sound they make when they skip), which in and of itself is annoying.
5. A young, learning curve defense filled with potential future All-Conference hitters who, for the time being, can’t get freaking Rice off the field on 3rd down. Yeah, THAT Rice. The Owls. Yeah, I know.
Go ahead. Take your time. I’ll wait.
While we’re waiting, the topic of discussion is: You miss Jet Pack Guy yet? Discuss amongst yourselves.
The Burnt Orange Faithful desperately needed three things from Charlie Strong’s team this week, in no particular order: 1) a win, 2) some sign of improvement and 3) a reason – ANY reason – for the Horn faithful to hope. I believe Coach delivered on all three, but the degree and quality of the delivery is certainly open to debate.
1) We won. The Horns beat a competent, but not good team; we didn’t dominate; we certainly didn’t make it look pretty. But in the end, a win is a win is a win. In the land of blind beggars, a one-eyed man is the chooser.
2) We improved, but part of it was the level of competition. It’s one thing to be the best musician in the Rolling Stones (it’s Keith, by the way), but not much to write home about to be the best douchebag in Maroon 5. Improved areas from last week: special teams, offensive line, pass defense, QB play, running the ball (mostly Heard, but, still) and play-calling.
3) Hope. Yeah, that’s the tricky one, isn’t it? Hope is an addictive, disorienting narcotic. We are by nature a delusional, self-important and entitled fan base. We hyperventilate and spit in disgust over the bad, and chest-bump and randomly high-five strangers over the good.
Personally, I still think we’re on the outside looking in for a potential bowl invitation. Our remaining schedule is hard, and our margin for error is small. The burnt orange Kool-Aid goes down easily on a hot September day, but we’re just not a good team right now – on any level. If we beat Cal this week, then I’ll reverse the sentiments in this paragraph. That’s a big “if.”
Here’s your sliver of hope: no offensive turnovers for the second straight week, five forced turnovers, a defensive score, a special teams score and, most significantly, a new Offensive Coordinator.
If Charlie Strong actually learned something this week after a season+plus one game on the job, then we have at long last reached the end of the beginning.
A 1986 graduate of the University of Texas, Jeff Conner has held many jobs in his life: husband, brother, uncle, son, oil field roustabout, short-order cook, sandblaster, irrigation pipe mover, musician, retail assistant manager, attorney-at-law, public school teacher, preacher, cartoonist and writer. While he does have a hot, young wife, Conner is neither as clever nor as good-looking as he believes himself to be. Jeff currently warps fragile and vulnerable young minds while teaching 8th grade math and Pre-AP algebra in Taylor, Texas, home of the Fighting Ducks. Conner’s regularly submitted commentary appears in InsideTexas.com and Inside Texas Magazine. The opinions presented do not necessarily reflect the views of the Inside Texas editorial staff.