Last night was one of those spur of the moment outings. I wanted to see the Torchlight Parade which is a tradition before the UT/OU game at the Cotton Bowl. It's a way to cheer and see the band outside the football stadium. Emma had volleyball practice, so after picking her up at 8 (when the parade is scheduled to start) , and dropping her off at home, I grabbed the only willing child to run over to the drag.
Max and I pretty much figured we missed it all as we drove down the drag. We opened the windows to try to hear the band around somewhere. As I got onto campus, we saw a crowd of orange at the Littlefield fountain, and I noticed it was the football team milling around. Max was about to jump out of the car window, but I convinced him to stay put until we got parked. We ran back to the fountain, just as the team started their walk up to the tower and the cheering crowd.
I cursed myself for not bringing A) a camera! B)A piece of paper of any sort! C) A sharpie! or D) any article of burnt orange clothing for me or Max.
Having gotten there thirty minutes late, we seemed to be the only people walking alongside the team, everyone else was at the tower. I pointed out Mack Brown to Max and Max went to shake his hand. Mack was very kind and chatted with his loyal fan. Then Max started randomly high-fiving guys walking near him. Then I saw Colt McCoy and Max scurried over to shake his hand. Colt threw an arm around Max's shoulders, asked his name, told Max his shirt was cool (tie dye from the beach!) and was in general very chatty with my kid. Max bounced around to a few other guys. Then we were at the tower and the team ran up to the crowd. It was really cool.
At the rally, I let Max head off through the throng to stand by himself at the front of the pack. A long while later he came back to me. The rally was fun. The cheerleader who was leading us at first was not bright... top ten percent? I think not..... But things really got going when Mack Brown led the crowd, the band played, the fans cheered, and finally Mad Dog Madden, UT's strength coach got the team yelling and the crowd crazy.
As the players walked back through the crowd toward Littlefield fountain after the rally, Max and I mingled with all the young guys. They were hitting on girls, and we were so mad to have left camera and pen and paper at home. So many opportunities to get autographs. Max shook more hands, and some of the players saw him a couple of times and would shout "Max!". I guess that's the upside of wearing something other than burnt orange. Max said he would never wash his hand again after all the high fives.
Then I had the brainstorm of the night. The architecture school was just down the street, and I knew there were Sharpies inside. So we ran over. I hoisted Max up to a closed window and he yelled at the dreadlocked boy inside...Sharpie!... can I use your pen!... My mom was in architecture school! The guy opened the window and passed down an orange Sharpie and a big scrap of Cresent board. We ran back to the rally aftermath and Max got 13 autographs. It was mostly the freshmen and sophomore players who stuck around (picking up girls).
Max would walk up to some guys chatting up some cute girls, and I'd almost cringe that the players would crush him. He would ask for an autograph, then the girls would say..."oh! how cute" and then the players were glad to sign.
As we were leaving Max thought it was the best day or the second best day of his life.
And he is already planning next year.