The University of Texas at Austin wordmark
Small handwriting sample of C.J.'s First-Year Student Journals, link to journals home page
Zaid




crown




trophies and medals

23 January 2006

“4th and 5…the national championship on the line right here…
He is going for the corner…he’s got it…
Vince Young scores!
And the game is over…Texas has defeated Southern California 41–38 to win the national championship of college football.”

“What ended the game was an eight-yard scamper on the Longhorns’ final possession, a play that encompassed all of his remarkable qualities. He showed plenty of heart in the face of the onrushing defensive linemen, focus as he scanned the field from sideline to sideline in search of the best option and poise waiting for the right side to clear. Then he measured the distance to the goal line and took off with breathtaking swiftness. A few panicky defenders saw the picture developing, but realized it was too late to beat him to the corner.”1

___

All the rest is history. The successful as well as the dramatic completion of our “Live the Dream – 2006” campaign made all of this very special and unforgettable. Without any surprises, the 2005 college football season started with every individual team hoping to make it their year. Only one came out on top: The Texas Longhorns.

Amazingly, from the very first snap against Louisiana-Lafayette to the final seconds of the Rose Bowl Game against Southern California, I followed it all. And not just simply followed it…I followed it religiously like a Texas fan! What is even more amazing and hilarious to me, however, is a story that lies behind-the-scenes: a story that never made headlines, never got the accolades, never even reached more than a selected few. A story that does not deserve to be called just a story but rather, in my opinion, the story. The story of football, a fan and some more football.

I myself am, of course, the protagonist of this story. To start and say “once upon a time” I have to go all the way back and dig out the year 2002 from the memory lane. So once upon a time, I used to live in Pakistan and do nothing except play the sport cricket. Then came a time in my life when I moved from Lahore, Pakistan, and came all the way to Austin, Texas. The move from that part of the world to this one was very smooth. But there was one thing I could not leave behind: cricket. Accordingly, formidable allegiances were sworn to stick to cricket and sleep, dream, breathe, play and follow nothing else but cricket. Cricket was cricket and none came even closer to cricket!

Time continued to fly by and I continued to brush aside any notions of accepting any sport as a sport because cricket was the game.2 Then, slowly but surely, came the transition when I began to attend my high school football games. (I actually went to the games to see our band perform and not for football because I did not understand it back then.) Whereas all others went to see 48 minutes of football, I went to see the five-minute band performance squeezed in between those 48 minutes. Whereas all others went to see raw power and brute strength on the field, I went to see the synchronized marching and artistic display of our band (as well as to see them spell out “M-A-C,” short for McCallum High School, on the field).

All of this changed soon, however. And before long, I was beginning to follow football and starting to become a loyal football fan. I actually made remarkable advancements in acquiring knowledge about my new game in a very short period of time. Initially, it used to be very puzzling to see everybody line up…jump at each other…and then fall. However, I was prepared soon enough to make leaps from topic to topic and even start learning about such complicated topics as the “lateral pass” and the “punt.”

Time continued: hours turned into days, days into weeks, weeks into months and months into years. And I continued too…from a Pakistani cricket fan to a McCallum High football fan and from a McCallum football fan into an orange-bleeding Texas football fan.

And the story of this fan continues to march down fantastically, with the most recent chapter written in the golden pages of history with the title: Texas Longhorns—2005 National Champions.

Enough said about football. Now it is time to talk about school with a little bit of “applied football” (just like the subject applied mathematics).

The new spring semester 2006 has started. I have five different classes, totaling 15 hours of lectures per week. All of my classes cover a wide variety of subjects (ranging from biology to philosophy), and I am very excited about everything this semester. One thing, however, is becoming very obvious after my first week of school. I will have to read, read and read and work harder, work harder and work even harder. Unlike the last semester, it seems that it will be impossible for me to pull out straight A’s from the hat at the very last minute!

To make sure I get the desired results at the end of the semester, I am attempting to formulate a set time (of eating, staying in the library etc.) and add more discipline to the routinely proceedings. Of course, I will have to become an expert in juggling schoolwork and other activities (for example, sleeping, breathing, running, etc.), but concentrating hard on each thing I juggle with is also very critical at this stage.

My last semester was very successful in terms of grades and academics. Therefore, it seems that I need to continue with the same patterns but work even harder. I will not really employ some drastic new strategies or techniques. However, I definitely plan to implement some new lessons learned from the subject of applied football and Texas football.

“Do whatever it takes. It’s about heart, focus and poise.”
—Vince Young

“We don’t rebuild here…WE RELOAD.”
—Coach Mack Brown

“Live The Dream 2006”
Hook ’em, Horns!

Zaid

Author of “the story” can be reached at z.hassan12@gmail.com.

1—I am still so awestruck that I cannot rationally describe the last few minutes of the Rose Bowl Game in my own words. Accordingly, I had to use the precise phrase of the legendary commentator Keith Jackson to convey the concluding moments of the game and use sports columnist Jim Litke’s article to bring the breathtaking description of Vince Young’s last play to life. Due credit to both these individuals for their work (cited at the start of this journal).

2—Cricket still is the game and gets me all pumped up whenever I see it. I still sleep, dream, breathe, play and follow cricket. But now I am much more of a dual-threat fan. I follow both cricket and football (just like Vince Young who can destroy you with his passing abilities or finish you with his blazing running speed).

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