My great-grandfather, E.C. Hudson (Daddy C as he came to be known), was a diehard college football fanatic, the Texas Tech Red Raiders were his team du jour. Some of my earliest memories are derived from watching and learning about the college games on autumn Saturday afternoons at his humble home in Earth, Texas. When I got the chance to visit, which wasn't nearly as often as I would have liked since I lived 5 hours away, I vividly remember Daddy C sitting in his old, worn, Army green Lazy Boy calmly explaining what a certain play was, or why a certain player was signifigant in regards to the game -- to age myself, I was 6 when Barry Sanders won his Heisman at Oklahoma State, and Lord did Daddy C gush over his abilities, even though he played for a team for which Daddy C cared little. I remember hearing the stories about his son, my great-uncle Hal, who was a local football legend, and who had a productive college career as an H-back at Tech (obviously those were the pre-Spike Dykes/Mike Leach days). I remember smelling the peach cobbler simmering in the oven almost every time I visited. My great-grandmother Blanche (Mother B as everyone knew her) was a fantastic cook, as I'm sure just about anyone who lives in Earth would tell you. The sights and sounds of the Hudson home were completely calming and almost like heaven on earth for a young boy.
The reason I continue to root for Tech, even though I am in an area that is equally divided with Sooner and Longhorns fans, is because Texas Tech epitomizes the hard work, blue collar attitude of West Texans and Daddy C. My great-grandfather thrived through the Depression with his Ford dealership, he was as hard-working, God-fearing as they come, and I have come to model my own life from his successes in his. He was happily married for 56 years until his passing in 1989, and even though I was very young when he passed, he left an indelible mark at a time when I was the most impressionable.
As any true fan will tell you, when I see the Red and Black, or the Masked Rider, or when I meet someone who attended Tech or is a fan of Tech and give them the 'Guns Up', there are few things that make me happier. I used to think that, as I progressed in age, that it was kind of childish to get giddy over a sports team and a school that I never attended (for the record, I had a scholarship but declined to take care of my father during his last days and went to a local university), but I am constantly reminded that sports and entertainment are a way for people to have an escape from the doldrums of living. It is why that, even in a struggling economy, we continue to shell out hundreds of dollars to attend a single game. It gives us a chance to dissociate ourselves from the stresses our jobs, our mortgage payment, our nagging spouses, our annoying neighbors, our screaming and unruly kids, and to harken back to those days when there wasn't really a care in the world, a simpler time when nothing really mattered. A time, for me, back at the spacious old, creaking home in Earth, sitting on my Daddy C's lap, watching our beloved boys in Red and Black, going to battle once more.