LUBBOCK, Texas – How to get from New York City to Lubbock on the Friday before the Texas-Texas Tech game:
9:45 a.m EST.: Leave apartment and take car to Newark airport.
11:45 a.m. EST: Board flight to Dallas-Fort Worth airport.
2:30 p.m. CST: Take $50 cab ride from DFW to Dallas' other airport, Love Field.
4:30 p.m. CST: Board flight from Dallas to Amarillo, Texas.
5:50 p.m. CST: Pick up rental car at Amarillo airport and head toward I-27 south.
6:43 p.m. CST: Inhale the most ghastly manure stench in the history of highway manure stenches.
7:55 p.m. CST: Approach Loop 289, the highway that circles Lubbock.
8:03 p.m. CST: Realize you've gone the wrong way on Loop 289 --- but the good news is, it's a circle.
8:25 p.m. CST: Arrive at final destination: The 50-Yard Line Steak House.
It's all worth it when you walk into a room full of fellow writers, broadcasters, school officials, bowl officials, etc. -- all in town for the game -- and within minutes, a waiter delivers you the delectable piece of meat pictured here.
Thus did my first-ever trip to this renowned West Texas college town begin. A couple of very nice gentlemen sitting next to me on the flight to Amarillo filled me in a bit about this part of the state. Here's a fun fact for you: Amarillo is actually closer to four other states' capitals (New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma and Kansas) than it is to Austin. Texas is a really big state.
Here's another fun fact for you. If you drive through West Texas on a Friday night, you can pick up no fewer than 10 different high-school football games on the radio, not to mention an "update" show where "reporters" call in from certain games. (I used quote marks because the "reporter" at one game described a play thusly: "Then, No. 5, the quarterback, threw about a 40-yard pass to No. 18, the receiver … it was really a pretty awesome pass." No, I'm not making this up.)
As of this writing, I have yet to see Lubbock during the day, and I have yet to actually venture too far from the outlying loop. From the steakhouse, a group of us went a couple exits down to The Gas Light, a lovely little bar with outdoor seating, where a guitarist serenaded the room and the Halloween outfits ranged from a dead-on Sarah Palin to a full-blown Johnny Depp/Pirates of the Carribean get-up to the waitresses, who were wearing a wide variety of "pajamas." Our waitress said hers fit the "walk of shame" theme.
Anyway, after a 12-hour travel day, I will be sleeping in Saturday, I promise to get closer to the action -- i.e., campus – in the hours leading up to kickoff. Check back then.