First things first, many thanks to our sponsor and friend Mr. Pat Clynes from The Fritz Kennel he made this whole trip possible. Sorry we couldn’t get you your win Pat, we did what we could.
We left at 2:00 AM. It was Saturday morning in San Antonio we had hope, and a 9 hour drive in front of us. Conner, Austin and I had spent the night before watching Jeopardy on Netflix and cracking “Giovanni can do anything” jokes the whole time. Conner’s Mom (Karen) and brother (Denver, I know it doesn’t really seem like a name) spent the night before sleeping. Honestly speaking this trip has been the thing that got all three of us through this last week of classes before the break, needless to say we were excited. Once we finally got on the road heated debates on the Texas Revolution, free college, the Mexican-American war, and just a wide range of topics where had. Mind you this was at 2 AM.
Finally we stopped at Bucc-ee’s. Y’know, the “Gas Station” we Texans obsess over? Austin and I got chop barbecue buns, Conner got a muffin, Denver got some water. I feel like Austin and I won that stop for sure.
Then came the bulk of the ride.
After we finished eating, the topics of conversation dulled down so Denver, in a sly way suggested, that we should sleep so well have our energy for the game. So we slept, and slept, and slept.
We woke up around nine o’clock in the car so Conner could drive and I could ride shotgun. We drove through the Proud state of Louisiana. We saw swamps, rivers and lakes. As we drove into Baton Rouge we crossed the Mighty Mississippi River I looked to my left and saw the river in all its glory, I looked to my right and I saw something in the distance and I saw a structure that I’d only seen on the television before, a mighty building where legends had been made. The place where Purple and Gold are more than just colors, they are the very blood that runs through the people of Louisiana’s veins. We had entered into Death Valley, the building I saw was Tiger Stadium. We exited immediately.
I started geeking out because I’m a football maniac and Tiger Stadium by all accounts is football holy ground. Granted I’m not an LSU fan by any stretch of the imagination (sure they’re my SEC team but like who cares) but seeing this stadium was a very cool thing. We walked up and down the main stretch that they have in front of the stadium, we read the names of the players of championships past, we saw the tiger statue out front, we saw the Billy Cannon statue the only Heisman Trophy winner the school has ever had, and I was very content with the stop. We started to leave then I saw the Mike the Tiger habitat and i got very excited so we pulled over again and I got to talk to mike and take some pictures. We took one last detour to see the band hall (which was locked boo) then we finally hit the road for Hattiesburg again.
A few hours later we drove into the tiny little zit of a town known as Hattiesburg. It was gross, it was small, and I wanted to be anywhere but there. But Pat gave us a job to do, we needed to raise Hell for our Runners and I wasn’t going to let him down. We had some trouble getting in because Southern Miss has a policy about clear bags that we neglected to read but when we finally got inside Ii had my Trusty Italian Flag draped around my shoulders my cowboy hat proudly on top of my head and my SOSA shirt on my back. We announced our presence by screaming UT– SA three times when we walked down to our seats. The team greeted us, they ran into the tunnel, fight song out the tunnel, player introductions, Anthem, then tip-off.
This is when the trip took a hard turn left. If you didn’t watch the game, don’t bother with the stats, if you did watch it take a cold bath then go to sleep, get that memory as far away from you as quickly as possible. The score, as I say, was alot to a little. The only real positives were the fact that there’s no quit in our boys, they went down swinging, Gio put up 18, and Toby got some minutes. Other than that the game was a dumpster fire.
Conner, Austin and I are not exactly the most friendly people during UTSA games and most of the opposing fans recognized that all that we said and did was all just sports hate and were honestly impressed with our passion, but this one kid behind us was a different story. He was the little brother of one of the cheerleaders and he chirped at us the entire game. I went in there with the mindset that I was only gonna heckle the team, not any of the fans, I stuck to my convictions for the most part but that little nerf herder really pushed my buttons. At one point Keaton was on the free throw line and he missed his first shot. The kid yelled “10 dollars that he misses the next one!” To my fortune Wallace drained the shot. In a moment of weakness I channeled my inner Preston Ekdahl and screamed “RUN ME MY MONEY BOY!” He was scared, but he cranked up the hate after that.
After what will now be known as the massacre at Hattiesburgh, we were pretty down on ourselves. We went to go get some wings to drown our sorrows and much like the game itself was a letdown. They were over-fried, I wasn’t a very big fan, but everyone else thought it was great. Could it be the loss tainting the taste of perfectly good wings? Or could they just be bad wings? One might say the first, but I know it was the second.
After the wings we went to our “hotel” it was a house that we rented (no free ads unless I like them) and I’ll be totally honest, it felt a little serial killery. Checker pattern floor, several cots, and like instant coffee in the little bucket, weird place. We got ice cream we played Sorry, we tweeted about how bad Mississippi, it was a very decent time.
When we finally got up around 8 we considered stopping somewhere along the way, and since we were in what I like to call “Cajia” AKA Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama I wanted crawfish cause I love crawfish so i suggested New Orleans. Beignets where mentioned, I offered Cafe Du Monde to really hammer in the NOLA thing. Everyone agreed, we showered, and headed off to NOLA.
New Orleans, Louisiana is a heck of a town. Jazz music, Crawdads, and Street performers flood the street, so does the overwhelming stench of fecal matter, but that’s apart of her charm. We had some of the best Crawfish I’ve had , some mediocre Shrimp and a few great beignets. NOLA was a great time. A we left the French Quarter, Conner told us to remind him to get some gas after we got out of New Orleans Proper, but before the city limit line even came the car shuddered. He turned and said “We’re out of gas.” we told him not to hit the brakes and he didn’t so we exited off the highway, and glided to a stop. The golden trio got off the van and we wandered until we found a station, after finding the attorney who’s suing the NFL, a dollar store trip, a half a bucket of gas, another 15 minute walk back to the car, and a final trip to the gas station we were on the road again. We stopped in Lafayette to get some grub in our tummies and got back on the road. As I sit in the van writing the finale of this blog I realize that there’s still about 6 hours left on this trip. But it’s dark and I’ve been writing this blog for several hours now, so I’m gonna call it.
Thanks again To Pat Clynes and the Fritz Kennel, I hope our partnership continues to grow.Thank you UTSA Men’s basketball for giving us a reason to go on honestly one of the best trips I’ve been on in a while. I grew closer to two of my best friends, I found two new friends in Conner’s mom and Brother. I’ll catch y’all in Frisco, Texas for the CUSA Tournament, and as always I’m Live at Five on Mondays on the one and only pubsportsradio.com
You can watch the vlog of the trip here