Day 4: January 3rd, 2006

Rose Bowl Kickoff Luncheon

Jimmy at our table with the USC fans
Jimmy at our table with the USC fans
We drove across Pasadena from the float viewing to the actual Rose Bowl. The kickoff luncheon was being held in a tent in the parking lot. As we got out of the car, we noticed a lot of USC fans (and cars). We identified our table and sat down. The lunch was rather simple but we scarfed it down anyway. In front of each seat was a mini helmet with the Rose Bowl emblem on the side... a pretty cool souvenir. All of the people at our table were UT fans until this older couple walked up to us rather pretentiously... announcing their arrival and shaking everyone's hand. We discovered that the man was a former athletic director from the University of Miami, Florida (Sam Jankovich) and good friends with UT athletic director Deloss Dodds and coach Mack Brown. The woman he was with. however, was a USC fan. We decided to let them stay anyway, sitting right next to Jonn.

After we finished eating, Jonn and I got up to walk around the event. Almost immediately, these two media people approached us for an interview. They were from the news channel on the Dish network. They asked Jonn a few questions, then inteviewed me. They were just asking basic "what's it like to be at the Rose Bowl" questions... but it was cool, nonetheless.

Jimmy and Jonn being interviewed by Dish Network
Jimmy and Jonn being interviewed by Dish Network
We proceeded to walk about the event... checking out the national championship trophy and presentation stage... watching some of the highlight videos. We started to make our way back to our table when we were again stopped by a media crew, this one from Austin's own KVUE. They asked Jonn if he wanted to talk but he pointed them to me. They asked me what I thought about the luncheon and the spectacle... and I made some comment about it being "electric". He then asked me "What will be going on tonight" and I replied "I don't know... I haven't seen it yet!".

We walked back to our table when we realized that we didn't get any pictures of us getting interviewed... so we saw the Dish TV people and asked if they would mind pretending to interview us while we had a picture taken. They were very gracious, even making sure the picture was good enough.

The program for the evening began and soon the Longhorn Band was introduced. We were sitting right on the aisle, so the band marched in right next to us. I recognized the director from my days in LHB as well as a friend of mine who's currently in the Sax section. They played March Grandioso and Yellow Rose to a raucous UT crowd.

When Mack Brown got up to speak on the stage, one of the main sports broadcasters running the event ran up to Jonn asking him... "are you a sports fan?" and when Jonn was clearly perplexed asked him if he'd like to ask Mack a question. Jonn pointed to me, so they grabbed me and rushed me up closer to the stage. I asked "Can you tell us what it means to the team to return to the Rose Bowl after winning the Big 12 Championship?". I don't even remember what Mack said because the broadcaster wanted me to ask another question, "What will it take to beat USC?". But I wasn't just going to repeat his question verbatim, so I said "I know what I'll be doing in the stands to help beat USC... what will you be doing?". I got a pretty good laugh from the crowd... and Mack, not to be undone, replied that he'd just be listening to his iPod on the sidelines. Even more amazing was that no other Texas fan got the chance to ask a question... out of nearly 500 UT fans there.

Back at the table, we watched the rest of the show, including performances by the USC band. While we were watching the bands leave the tent, I noticed the man, the former athletic director from the University of Miami, Sam Jankovich sitting next to Jonn reach over and take the mini-helmet in front of my seat. I quickly realized that there were no more helmets left on the table. So I asked the man where the rest of the helmets went and he had a confused look on his face but handed me the one he had taken from my seat.

Still, that was just one helmet for me. There was none left for Jonn. So I asked him again if he had taken any others and he just held his hands out to me like he didn't have any... I asked the remaining people at our table if they knew where the other helmets went. Finally, one of the UT fans leaned over to me and said that the woman, the USC fan, was holding two helmets but had a third in her purse. So I asked her if she had taken three helmets instead of two and she said she hadn't. Then the woman told Jonn that the USC woman had an extra helmet in her purse. He wasted no time in confronting her, she continued to deny having any more than the two in her hand, even though Jonn could see the extra one sticking out of her purse! So he grabbed the helmet in the purse, which they had gotten signed by someone. She quickly grabbed it back from him, so Jonn grabbed an unsigned one that she was holding in her hand. Even after the blatant lying, the two continued to deny they had done any wrong... ignoring the fact that they were lying right to our faces with no remorse.

It's amazing to me to think that a former athletic director, very likely wealthy and clearly well connected, would do something so petty and childish. Then to claim that WE were being rude by calling them on their actions. It was a very surreal moment. Personally, I blame it on her being a USC fan. Texas fans would never act that way.

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