Monday, October 21, 2013

The Trifecta weekend

I'm currently on a plane somewhere over one of the western states on the business portion of my business/personal trip this weekend. The personal part is over, and it was a great weekend - I hit the trifecta with my trip home!

Saturday: midnight yell and A&M vs. Auburn in my first game at Kyle Field in twelve years. 
Sunday: Mom's birthday. 
Sunday afternoon: my niece Claire's dedication at church. 

 All for the low low price of free. 

Why free? Because of our sweet work policy allowing us to tack on personal travel to business travel. I have a conference in Los Angeles Monday through Wednesday, a plane ticket for which the company would've paid about $900. XNA is repeatedly on the top five most expensive airports list, so you aren't getting anywhere much cheaper than that. Without a Saturday night stay, that is. 

Sometimes, things just fall into place. 

Tack on a side trip to Houston over the weekend, and suddenly the plane ticket drops to $670. Company charges you the difference on business/personal, but when it's cheaper, we all win. Boom. See? Just fell into place. Thank you, Uncle Procter and Uncle Gamble!

I got in Friday afternoon and had a couple of hours at home before we headed up to College Station. It's such a novel thing to see my family twice in a month. I honestly can't remember the last time I've seen them this much (yet another great thing about living in northwest Arkansas) so it wasn't nearly the giddy reunion it has been for so many years when I showed up. Well, except for the dogs. Roy's dog Rowdy is a total spaz, so that was quite a reunion. 

Relaxed, watched a little tv, then off to Midnight Yell, Aggieland style. Unlike the away game, this was full blown Friday night Yell Practice - the band, the Corps, the dates, KYLE FIELD. With the celebrity in the family, we got to march in with them. Pretty great stuff. I don't think it will ever get old, seeing my brother the Yell Leader.

There were plenty of Aggies there to get ready to BTHO Auburn. Including the President of A&M, humping it like any good Ag right in front of me. 
With Dr. Loftin before marching in
Next day was game day, and it dawned bright and spectacularly beautiful. I hit the Aggie bookstore for some souvenirs for the kids, Brazos Running Company in search of some new maroon and white running gear, and then it was time to get over to campus for the pregame festivities. 

Kyle Field!!
Watching warmups and the march in on the field!!
Me and Johnny Football - we're practically buddies
Wait, whaaaaat???
Lambo, the kicker - dude is HUGE
Coach Sumlin
Me and the BMOCs - Ryan, the head Yell Leader, and the Corps Commander
Somehow, some of my brother's famous luck rubbed off on me. My mom and I headed to the stadium early, but our tickets weren't together so we parted ways and I followed the signs to section 145. At least, I thought I was following the signs. Next thing I know I'm heading down a ramp with a bunch of people much more dressed up than I, walking on the track, and looking around for my entrance to the bleachers. 

And then I thought - well, why not? I hang out trying to decide if I should blend into the background or just act like I belonged there. My indecision only lasted for a few minutes, though, because here came the Yell Leaders... and with that, my implicit permission to be on the field. See? Fell into place. 

What a thrill to be up close and personal to the players and the Corps march on! Added bonus: last weekend was the Rally to the Guidons, where former Corps members come back and march in with their units, my dad included! 
Parsons Mounted Cavalry, each Corps outfit, Miss Reveille, the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band: all contributing to the college football tradition that is Aggieland. 
Miss Reveille
Almost time for kickoff; national anthem and Texas Our Texas. That's right. Aggies sing the state song before games, too. God, I love Texas. 

NOW it was time for kickoff - so I hopped the wall to my front row seat that cost me... $0. Roy's comp ticket for being a Yell Leader. See again? Fell into place. Most excellent pictures all game long. 
Leading the Aggie War Hymn
The Fightin' Texas Aggie Band - the Pulse of Aggieland

The game was a nail biter, much closer than we would've liked, and unfortunately the Aggies ran out of time. Win or lose, it was a chance of a lifetime for me to be that close to the action, hang out with my brother on a beautiful day, and be a part of it all. 
After the game
Sunday was a lot more low key - I baked Mom's birthday cake in the morning, then headed down to Houston's First Baptist Church in the afternoon to join Susannah and Justin (yes, my brother in law's name is also Justin, and yes, it's confusing) at Claire's dedication. 

Oooooooohhh, I love me some sweet baby Claire!!!
So sweeeeeeet!!
Monday morning inevitably came, and that brings us full circle to me on a plane, flying over the Rockies  hurtling toward sunny California. I look forward to making the most of these two and a half days, too. Now that I'm back to running, I may get to see a little bit of L.A. in my favorite way - going about 7 mph on the Saucony express. 

I hit the trifecta last weekend, but once I roll this whole week up, I may be saying: JACKPOT!!

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