Austin Home of the Longhorns
25.02.2012 - 25.02.2012 18 °C
I knew that this was a great Football team and I knew that Sid and Bitsy were keen supporters so we had our picture taken with “Bevo’ the Longhorn bull which is the mascot and I learned that at every home match they have a real live huge Longhorn bull on site as the team mascot. I had my picture taken with Sid in front of a picture of the ground on play day and so I was well on the way to achieving the status of a ‘Longhorn’.
I was to learn that a true Longhorn was someone who was or had been a student of University of Texas and that all the sporting teams were part of the Longhorn tradition. However nothing could have prepared me for entry into the ‘Longhorn shop’.
Sid told me later that my face showed stunned amazement as we walked in because there was everything that you could ever want there with a Longhorn logo on it. Some of the pictures will tell a very small part of the Longhorn brand but here I was in a store with three floors dedicated to Longhorn merchandise and all the books that the students would need for their studies at the University of Texas. I was supplied with hats and shirts to tell all who saw me that I am a 'Longhorn' and I was even given a longhorn badge for the back of the car. I am not sure what the gentle folk of Riverton are going to think about all this but it is an experience that just dazzled my senses. They raise in excess of $USD60 million just from merchandise and it is one of the most recognized brands in the country. I was told that on Game Day and during the Football season it is simply packed out.
I am a very keen supporter of the Sydney Swans but my collection of memorabilia extends to a scarf and a beanie and what I experienced in the Longhorn Store put me to shame. There is always an energy and enthusiasm with Americans that I am jealous of and I tried to work out how and over how many years does it take to generate this passion for something. The marketing of the brand and what it represents would have been a huge undertaking and I see it here for all sorts of things from football to politics that makes our Australian culture so different in comparison.
We looked some more and I saw not only hundreds of T shirts and hats but there was even a sports jacket with the Longhorn Logo on the buttons and a large burnt orange Longhorn logo inside the coat. There were ties and shirts, casual and dress shoes, all the sports clothes that you could wave a stick at and balls and helmets, there was even a complete bedroom suite in the colours and even jackets and bibs for your favourite pooch. There were pens and books and long, tooled leather Texas Cowboy boots as well as branded sports shoes.
I was impressed and so very happy to join in the enthusiasm that almost seems to just carry you along with it. It took me a while to get over all this and I am still not sure if I have.
As we were driving to lunch at The Tavern we followed a Ford SUV, that was painted in the 'Longhorn' colors, and when we parked alongside it, we found that the driver was a friend of Sid and Bitsy and so I was introduced and I asked if I could take a picture of his 'Truck'; he was quite happy and guess what he was dressed in 'Longhorn Gear'.
I have been impressed with the places that we have been to eat and I am also impressed with the quality of food, it is really excellent. The size of the serves are large and there is no such thing as a 'small' coffee of soft drink, but that is I suppose the diners choice. One also has to mention that fantastic service culture that I have experienced here, it is really just a pleasure to experience this level of service. We went to the Tavern which again, on Game Days, Sid tells me, would be packed and there would be a lot of different NFL games on all the different monitors around the place.
It has been an honor to be with Sid and Bitsy in their home, but also to share the pride that they have in their community, which I guess what all this is about what the 'Longhorn' Culture represents. For me, it raises a lot of issues about what, this means for me and my involvement in all the communities that I am part of; not just where I live in Riverton but also all the groups that I am involved with. Thank you friends for this new injection of enthusiasm that in many ways can be an emotion that can change the world, or our little part of it.
Then it was back home for a BBQ and a movie. Just simply a great day, and tomorrow; another new adventure.