DALLAS — Some might think entering Fair Park would be a little easier for an 11 a.m. kick, when one would presume to not only be fighting game traffic, but fair traffic.
Perhaps, but parking was a nightmare an hour before the kick, with hardly any spots remaining, even for those with a pass.
Maybe the State Fair of Texas is simply that popular, even before noon. From entry into grounds to the Cotton Bowl itself, fair-goers and fans had a plethora of options.
In the space of 200 or 300, yards from gate to entrance, fair-goers and fans could have their fastball clocked (reigning champ at 10:15 a.m. had let loose with an 85 mph pitch), pick up some free toothpaste, test drive a Chevrolet, browse hot tubs or stop and watch the Longhorn Network’s pregame show.
Nice anthem: Some might also think a game as big as the Red River Rivalry would demand a VIP sing the Star Spangled Banner. Well, not only was there no VIP, there was nobody, period. Though a neutral site, it was OU’s turn to run game-day operations. So, it was the Pride of Oklahoma performing the anthem. And, maybe because there was nobody singing down on the field, the sellout crowd did the singing, loud enough to be heard clearly through the press box glass. Of course, the Sooner fans singing still changed the last word from “brave” to a screaming “Sooners.”
Calm outside stadium: In the past, it hasn’t been uncommon to hear groups of fans from both schools get into beer-fueled shout-offs that occasionally threaten to turn into something bigger. That didn’t seem to be the case as fans filed into the Cotton Bowl Saturday. The early kick may have contributed to the serenity. So, too, may have been beer prices outside the stadium: $10 for a domestic; $12 for an import.
On the level? Between the first and second quarter, a young female Sooner fan and a Longhorn counterpart were brought out of the crowd to throw footballs through a ring in the Oklahoma end zone. Between the two of them, about seven balls were thrown through the small space. So accurate, throwing tight spirals, it’s hard to believe they weren’t a couple of ringers, made to appear to be Texas and OU fans.
See ya later: Coming out of the half, maybe a fourth of the Texas fans were not in their seats and they did not come back. The numbers of the departing really swelled between the third and fourth quarters. As the fourth quarter began, more than half the Texas fans left the stadium.
Clay HorningFollow me @email@example.com