Thursday, December 19, 2013

Case Closed

I've put off this post for almost two weeks for a couple of reasons - I needed some time to digest all that happened on December 7 for one and, secondly, life has just been crazily busy. I would try to express to you exactly HOW busy but there's just no way to put it into words. So I'm basically not going to try.

December 7 is a day we'd had on our calendars for more than a year. It was the last game at Floyd Casey Stadium. Ever. The opponent was the Texas Longhorns. And big bowl ramifications were resting on the outcome. Said ramifications were increased dramatically after we learned OU had knocked off Oklahoma State at Bedlam. (Thank you and BOOMER SOONER!) 

This meant the winner of our game would be crowned the Big 12 Champions. Outright. Something that had never happened for Baylor. And, obviously, said champ would be invited to the Fiesta Bowl. A BCS bowl, friends. Also something the Bears had not before enjoyed.

Complicating matters was that Texas was enveloped in unseasonably FRIGID temps and a great deal of ice and snow. It. Was. Insane. And, quite frankly, a better movie script for an ending such as this could not have been written.

It also describes why my sweet friend, Courtney, and I bundled up as if we were attending a game in the Artic. As it turned out, we kind of were.

And I may never be more thankful to Tonto in my entire life as I was on this day. His talking me into the ol' hunting suit purchase was a gift that I truly cannot repay. And it's so comfy that I may wear it every time a cold snap comes through.

The first half was, um, a bit of a snoozer. A defensive struggle broke out, no doubt the weather was complicating matters, and the score at the half was a whopping 3-3. I was stressed but encouraged because we were moving the ball with ease. It was just difficult to catch or kick a brick. :-)

The second half opened with back-to-back touchdowns for the Bears on consecutive possessions. And life was better. Not as good as things would have been had I actually remembered my good camera but I'm choosing to believe that was a blessing since it probably would have frozen when the ice fog rolled in. Yes. Ice. Fog. Another movie element, no doubt.

As the clock ticked down and we were up 30-10, reality began to set in. This season has been so stinkin' magical that thinking about The Case closing was a distant thought most of the time. But the end of the game found us reminiscing, shaking hands, loving on the people we've been sitting with for years (the ones we celebrated the first bowl berth in, like, FOREVER a mere few years ago), and wondering what the new stadium would bring.

But there was also some very pressing business at hand. Presentation of the Big 12 trophy to our Bears. I would say it was like a dream but it really wasn't because we've had the opportunity to get to know so many of the players that we KNOW - beyond a shadow of a doubt - that they deserved this honor. And we were just blessed to share it.

We soaked in the moment, snapped a few pics with friends (hello, sweet Lindsey) and...

...took our own selfie to mark the moment...

...before sharing said moment with all the social media world.

And then it was time to say goodbye. The ceremony of turning out the lights was as awesome as I thought it would be when first hearing about it months ago. Baylor legends and leaders took turns turning out each of the light poles...and the final snap belonged to Coach Briles. There's no more fitting - or deserving - person. Trust me on this, please.

As we left, the concourse broke out in a final chant of "Baylor--Bears" and all was right with Baylor Nation's world. It was a solemn (last) trudge back to our tailgating spot (the one that had literally boasted a campfire only hours ago) where was de-iced the windshields of everyone who had parked with us (told you it was FRIGID) and headed home. This is when the full on exhaustion set in. Because saying goodbye while shivering for HOURS at a time apparently takes a toll on one's body.

The day was magical. Fitting. And including a perfect ending.

Case. Closed.