If you follow college football in Texas at all, you know there are plenty of nasty stereotypes associated with every school. Texas A&M is a cult. Everyone at Texas Tech has an STD. Nobody at Houston got accepted anywhere else. And the Longhorn fanbase (both the actual alumni and the sizable "T-shirt fan" demographic) is uniformly comprised of snooty tea-sippers who quietly sit on their hands at games, and think they're too good for everybody else.
Now all but the most crazed among us, in a moment of honesty, can probably acknowledge that every one of these stereotypes falls somewhere between "exaggerated" and "wholly untrue".
But articles like this one by Longhorn alumnus Bryan Curtis for ESPN's Grantland, are definitely not helping.
Curtis pens (Is it still pens if it's on the Internet?) an article titled, "How to Attend a College Football Road Game". Seems like a fairly presumptuous premise to suggest that there's only one correct method, but we'll give him the benefit of the doubt for now, just to watch him abuse it as we delve further.
Now, for the sake of realizing just how absurd this article is, let's start at the end. Curtis finishes with a cogent point that if you want to attend a road game, you should attend a true road game, not a neutral site affair, saying "you lose the 'pilgrim in an unholy land' feeling you get from a true college road trip. It ought to be scary." On this, Curtis and I agree. Ready to see how he invalidated his last, best point with the previous five? Of course you are.
First rule: "Drive anonymously." Curtis advises against making a roadtrip in a car covered in decals supporting the visiting (your) team. Not only is this logistically problematic (who is a big enough fan to make a roadtrip to watch your team, but drives a car that doesn't at least have one of those classy, chrome logos on the back?), it takes plenty of the fun out of the trip. I'll never forget driving into Stillwater to watch Houston beat 5th-ranked Oklahoma State, rolling down our windows to shout at/hold up Cougar paws at any and all UH or OSU-marked cars that we passed. The Cougar fans all smiled and reciprocated, while the OSU fans mostly also got a laugh, and put up their own hand sign back at us. It got everybody pumped up for the game. It was great. But if you share Curtis' fear that the heathen masses of the opposing school might slash your tires or key your car during the game, go ahead and drive incognito.
Second rule: "Sit with your own kind." There's nothing necessarily wrong with doing this. I've enjoyed UH away games, sitting everywhere from the UH visitor's section to the Texas A&M baseball student section, and both provided different, enjoyable experiences. I'm not saying there's only one right answer here. I am questioning why Curtis feels you can't "cheer loudly" while sitting next to opposing fans, however. Because that's absurd.
Third rule: "Feel free to wear neutral colors." If I even need to explain to you why this is stupid, you and I probably don't have much in common.
Curtis goes on to say that you shouldn't talk trash, and you should make sure to have good directions to and from the game so you don't end up with frat guys "glaring" at you.
To recap, a Longhorn fan feels that the authentic, "scary" road trip involves disowning your school in your vehicle and wardrobe choices, and essentially avoiding making eye contact with anybody from the other school. If this was satire written by someone in College Station, it would be brilliant.