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Tearing down goalpost completes ultimate Bear football victory

Nov. 4, 1997

Congratulations to the Bears for their victory Saturday and for making UT look like the Big 12's equivalent to John Candy attempting back flips on a trampoline while trying to sputter out complete sentences. The Bears obviously won on the field, but their win also set in motion a chain reaction of unprecedented off-the-field victories that spun fans and administration into realms in which few at our university rarely ever step.

First, the fans cared about the game. Somehow the football team overcame the insurmountable wave of apathy that flows through the stands. Out of caring came cheering; the last time I heard sincere support for the Bears or heart-felt ridicule towards the opposition from a Baylor fan was never. I had to ram my head through the person in front of me just to make sure I wasn't dreaming or at another college. When I regained consciousness and still witnessed true enthusiasm I was delighted. Granted, our bravo did not shatter windows and our gaiety may have appeared as mere chitter chatter, but it was still real. For Baylor, we were pushing the limits on our past cheering envelope. Cheering is an activity in which, with the exception of a very few super fans, Baylor fans seldom participate whole-heartedly, yet the team played hard and won our affection for the day and maybe for as long as the team keeps winning (Hey, this kind of praise is probably a record, so savor it and don't complain about fair-weather attitudes).

While it may not be one of the alleged off-the-field victories, the fact that fans stayed the entire game definitely sent everyone into one of those fabled nether realms. Since it has happened so few times in the past, I guess the parking engineers felt no need to design a freeflowing parking system to compensate for the entire assembly leaving simultaneously. The result was a long, chaotic, bumper-to-bumper exit. However, there were still positive repercussions. Instead of the typical frustration of a traffic jam, fan enthusiasm somehow overcame and was conducted through the sheet metal in all of the cars, into fan's facial muscles causing them to smile and then into their hands causing them to honk jubilantly. Upon further reflection, the fact that the football team's success made so many members of the rat race actually enjoy each other amidst a parking lot standstill is undoubtedly another off-the-field victory.

The final triumph was splendid and led to so many little victories, such as fewer insults directed toward the Baylor Line, a temporary overthrow of conventionalism, tangible fan participation, administration bewilderment and just an outright good time. The toppling of the goalpost was nothing short of fabulous. This act was the ultimate expression of fanfare and team support. Only once before in Baylor's history has it occurred. In the course of just a few minutes, the Baylor Line transformed from a group of youngsters just looking for their place to sit and yell into a mob of animals. With blatant disregard for the police officers who were guarding the structure like it was the last box of bear claws and sprinkled doughnuts in the precinct, the Line rushed the goal post and wrestled it from its welds. Not satisfied with simple vandalism, the army of white-jerseyed ants carried their prize out of the stadium and down Clay Road to campus, all the while proclaiming their team's success.

Although tearing down goalposts is not terribly uncommon at schools nationwide, it is at Baylor. Because administration does so much to keep its kids in line, this defiant expression of support is all the more special. Besides, I am willing to bet that in the dark corners of their offices where students will never see them many members of administration are discussing the incident and concluding that it was a great thing for the university: it helped unite the campus, will probably increase attendance at the Extravaganza dance and that they are overall glad it happened.

In fact, President Sloan called me and asked that I ask the Baylor Line to put the crippled construction in his backyard so he can display it at his next staff barbecue. Let's face it, the Baylor DPS and administration clearly had no intention of stopping the spirit of the moment. The fact that both of those groups passively supported the mischief on the field and later publicly embraced and acclaimed the moment is definitely a mark in their favor and another win for the students.

So, kudos to the football team for infecting the stadium with enthusiasm and doing so much to win mini-victories off the field for the rest of Baylor and your fans.

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