Will You Be My Valentine?

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Valentine’s Day is a time for sharing, a time for opening up, a time for telling those in your life just how much they mean to you. Me, I’m one of the lucky ones—I have a family I’m close to and a girlfriend whom I care deeply about. And while I should probably be filling out their cards and figuring out what to say to them, I wanted to take this opportunity to express my feelings to my first true love:

The Texas Longhorns.

As a young, bright-eyed boy growing up in the Lone Star state, the Longhorns hooked me early, and they haven’t let me go since. They’ve always been there, never venturing too far from my heart. They’ve carried me through the good times and bad, and they’ve been the source of some of the most memorable moments I’ve ever experienced.

Despite all of that, I too often take them for granted. Granted, they’ve been awfully hard to love as of late, but that’s nothing but a short-sighted excuse. Like many, I get beaten down and worn out by the everyday stresses—by work, by fears, by the constant pressure to decide what to have for dinner each night—and I’m too tired or too lazy or just too damn entitled to stop, take a breath, and tell them how I really feel.

Well, that stops today. They deserve better. This is a two-way street, after all, and given these tumultuous times, with our worlds feeling as frightening as ever, the moment has come to make things right. Sitting here at this tipping point, staring out into an unknown future filled with uncertainty and doubt, we need each other now more than ever…

 

To my beloved Longhorns,

I love the way you look. Your uniforms, that is. The burnt orange tops set against the white pants. The all-white “Storm Trooper” getup. The burnished helmets with the perfectly centered Bevo on each side and the stadium lights gleaming off of it. It gets me every time. So don’t ever feel like you need to change. Today’s trends say otherwise, but there’s no reason for any plastic surgery, excessive metallicizing, or snow camouflaging—you’re perfect just the way you are.

I love it when you sing to me. I probably shouldn’t admit to this, and I’ll need my brother-the-rabbi to smooth things over with the powers-that-be after doing so, but few things I’ve ever heard in synagogue—or anywhere else for that matter—have ever moved me as much as the “Eyes of Texas.”

I love how you’ve connected me to my family, specifically my grandfather and my cousin, Andrew. A proud alumnus and the right hand man to former coach Fred Akers, my grandfather was the one who set us up (okay, so it was more like an arranged marriage). And because of his devotion—to both his family and the team—my childhood was spent attending practices, playing catch in stadiums, and venturing into post-game locker rooms, where I got an (unfortunately) up-close view of what exactly was and was not covered by a jock strap. And Andrew was right there with me through all of it, a love for the Longhorns being simultaneously branded on each of our DNA.

I love how you’ve kept me connected to them. I’m way up here in Washington, D.C., and they’re way down there in Texas, but there’s always that common bond that helps minimize that distance, even if it’s only in my mind. And when I’m living and dying with whatever’s going on with the program, I know Andrew’s going through the exact same thing.

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