Football rules Jerusalem on the Brazos
August 31, 2014
BAYLOR’S BEARS, in football wars since 1898, are now back on campus, playing in the spanking new McLane Stadium that opens this fall across the Brazos River from Texas’ first higher education institution, founded in 1845.
For the opener on Sunday night, August 31, BU scheduled an old Southwest Conference foe, Southern Methodist University. Arrivals by bus, car and boat were expected to overflow the $260 million stadium for the first game on campus in sixty-four years.
With a national television audience, live streaming on computers and other types of transmissions, the media moguls adhere to a “muddled” Fourth Commandment: “Remember the Sabbath, and keep it wholly ours!”
Would that I could predict the goings-on for August 31. What would the NoZe Brotherhood secret society be up to? How bad would parking be? Could the Golden Wave Band members march smartly in precision “over the bridge” after lugging their horns long distances to the assembly point? (Tuba players so doing are in good enough shape to go out for the team.)
Dr. Britt Towery, longtime missionary to China and former BU faculty member, wrote of an early-day Baylor football game in his book, Carey Daniel’s China Jewell. He quoted Daniel’s diary entry about the football game witnessed on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 1901: …admission charge was 50 cents…. BU, without a mascot name until 1914, fell to the “state university,” 23-0 in its first-ever meeting with UT.
Stated Daniel, later a China missionary: “It was my first sight of the kind, and I pronounce it as my candid, deliberate conviction that it is the most brutal, unnecessary and harmful thing I ever thought college-bred people to tolerate. Many good and wise people admire the game and advocate its stay and growth. God speed the day when the extra energy and time of Baylor students may be given to something more ennobling, kind and God-like.” Five years later, when BU beat Arkansas, 11-6, he penned: “It is much like a bull fight, only they were human beings and not angry.” Composer of the song “Our Baylor,” Daniel was an uncle of late Texas Governor Price Daniel and Guam Governor Bill Daniel. Clergy had more clout then, and BU brain trusts canceled the 1906 season because of the sport’s violence.
Other heads prevailed in 1907, however, and for much of the 20th century, the Bears have a rich sports history. A member of the “Big 12”—one of the five super-conferences—BU shares riches by the boatloads from lucrative TV contracts.
One could wonder why the BU-Texas game in 1901 was played on a Tuesday. Well, Sundays– a.m. and p.m.–were sacrosanct, and other days likely were earmarked for visitation, prayer meetings, temperance gatherings and such. “Such” may have included clandestine meetings of women folk scrambling to secure voting privileges; there may also have been meetings of forerunners of The NoZe Brotherhood, a secret society organized in 1924.
The Brotherhood has enjoyed the favor–and endured the disfavor–of the BU administration during its 90-year history.
Rumors swirled about their plans to prank their way through the stadium opening. Learning that students leaving their cars in parking garages on game days face threat of towing, NoZe members sensed a ready-made prank. Hmmm, they needed to find some student parking stickers to plaster on the back windows of Mercedes, BMWs and Jaguars.
Their payday? Watching red-faced administrators apologize to disgruntled, high-rolling fans who are curried to be “gruntled” at all times.
Some fans will arrive by boat; however, there are but 16 slips—designed, of course, for convenient “sail-gating.” A canoe ferrying service seems fine for entry, but may be problematic at game’s end, when everyone tries to leave at once.
For years, many have called BU “Jerusalem on the Brazos.” How ‘bout renaming the stretch running near the stadium “The River Jordan?”
All should go well for the tenth-ranked Bears this year. But, Art Briles—the school’s second “Grant Teaff”—won’t be around always.
If visiting foes prevail in upcoming years, fans can leave early, hailing down a taxi canoe to fish, drown their sorrows or submerge the coach. And, an unfortunate few may get to empty their wallets to reclaim impounded cars if they happen to be, uh, “NoZe-bled!”….
Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Inquiries/comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Call: 817-447-3872. Web site: www.speakerdoc.com. Twitter: @donnewbury.
Please click the book cover image to read more about the humorous and inspirational stories of Don Newbury in When The Porch Light’s On.