The holiday season is such an amazing time of year. I love the tradition that surrounds November and December and have a special love for holidays that celebrate tradition. This is why Thanksgiving holds such a special place in my heart. Once Halloween comes and goes, I begin counting down the days until Thanksgiving Thursday – the food, the family, the football…what’s not to love?
Every year, my family gets together and cooks the obligatory Thanksgiving feast, followed by a night watching the annual Texas vs. Texas A&M football game, a rivalry that has been going on for 118 years. The routine of this holiday is something that I await every year and this year should have been no different. However, this year was different. After 118 wonderful years playing our biggest rivals on Thanksgiving night and 22 years of me being thankful for my family and a wonderful football team, the Texas A&M Aggies broke tradition. Their decision to move conferences to the SEC meant that last night’s game would be the last time these two schools faced off as rivals. Unbelievable, but true nonetheless.
Thanksgiving day went per usual. My dad smoked a turkey, cooked some garlic and cheese mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts, stuffing and a delicious pumpkin cheesecake to top it all off. I ate more than I should have (intense workouts to come next week), but the delicious food was well worth the weight gained. As tradition dictates, a stomach full of Thanksgiving treats meant that it was time to get comfortable on the couch and prepare to cheer on my boys in burnt orange. But this year, knowing this was the last time my beloved Thanksgiving tradition would occur, I took my spot on the couch with a heavy heart. Texas football on Thanksgiving was all I knew and I couldn’t imagine how this tradition would ever be replaced. Even more, I was filled with nerves, praying for a victory today.
The Texas/Texas A&M rivalry has been a contentious one for years, each team taking home their fair share of Thanksgiving victories and therefore winning the bragging rights until the next year. But as the LAST GAME EVER, this year was different. The winner of this game would hold the bragging rights forever…we had to win. Although, with a less-than-stellar season, I was nervous for my Horns. And as the game rolled on with the Longhorns continuously trailing, my worst fears were coming true – I thought the Longhorns would lose their superiority over A&M forever. I felt sick – the unreasonable amounts of food I ate were not the cause.
As I tried to figure out a way to accept the impending loss, something happened. It was as if something clicked within the team – they finally realized that this was their last chance. We went from a 10 point deficit to taking a quick lead. And we held that lead…until the last few minutes of the game when A&M scored a last minute touchdown. With only 3 minutes left in the game, the Longhorns trailed by 2 points. It would take some serious effort to come out on top. With bated breath, I watched as our kicker, Justin Tucker, took the field to give it once last try – a beautiful punt straight between the goalposts! The Longhorns left the field with a 27-25 victory over the Aggies.
WE WON! Yet, I wasn’t sure how to feel. I was obviously elated over this victory – no one thought it would happen. But it hurt to know that we would never encounter our rivals again – never clench the title on Kyle Field – a century old tradition that is no more. What’s to come of the tradition I so looked forward to?
Of course, Thanksgiving will happen again next year. Old traditions will continue and new traditions will be made. Families will come together. Fans will celebrate. Love will be shared. Even so, I will always miss a tradition that ended before its time.
A&M, it’s been good. Thanks for the memories and thanks for going out in style. Last night’s game was one for the books. And as you make your way to the SEC, I will for the last time say goodbye to tradition and “And it’s goodbye to A&M“…