Yesterday the colleague on her way to relieve me at the Rice Library Circulation Desk phoned fifteen minutes before she was due in to ask, “What the HELL is happening on the Rice campus? I can’t find parking anywhere!” Luckily she spotted somebody pulling out of a parking space and vultched that one.
I had no idea why the dearth of parking on campus. My student assistant volunteered there was a basketball game, but neither of us really thought a Rice basketball game would flood the campus with cars. Finally, after my colleague arrived, a library patron enlightened us. It was state high school football playoffs in the Rice Stadium.
My colleague took over running the Circulation Desk. I got off work and headed toward the Rice Village for Christmas shopping. Just as I cut across the stadium parking lot, the stadium erupted in blaring music and cheers. Wow. Rice’s own football games rarely generate that kind of vibe. The stadium disgorged thousands of people of whom about half were jazzed, the other half dejected. There were so many cars, pickup trucks and SUV’s trying to leave that I thanked my lucky stars to be on foot. I moved faster than the motorists.
Today the Houston Chronicle ran a photo from the big game on Page 1, no less. Turns out the Pearland (Texas) Oilers beat the Katy (Texas) Tigers 38-35 by a touchdown with 47 seconds left in the game. There was a crowd of 41,000+ in attendance. Like they say, high school football is big in Texas. Would that excellent education were as high a public priority as exciting football. But this is the state with the Board of Education that tried to put creationism into biology textbooks and take slavery out of texts teaching the Civil War.