Everyone knows how we feel about football and football players in Texas. We love them. We are happy to fry outside in those summertime scrimmage games, and we are happy to sit through an ice storm in November to watch our team play. Rain or shine. We make heroes of our players. We back the boys. We get a lot of flack from those who don’t understand our crazy fascination with the sport and the players. Football rules the autumn nights, creates life and a sense of community in small, rural towns where nothing else much happens. People will turn out for football games, bask in the beams of those field lights, waiting for their chance to claim vicarious glory. It’s in the blood.
Leroy is no exception. He gladly supports his Midwestern State Mustangs, helps out the team, gets them water and supplies, and lends them a lot of support. You could say he is the team’s mascot, and he is as devoted to them now in his elder years as he was back in the day. Leroy has challenges at his age, but he doesn’t let his limitations hinder his service to his team. He rides his three-wheeler bike all over the college campus, his Mustang flag flying high on the back of the bike.
It was lunchtime one day this week when the football team had finished the morning workout and was heading to the cafeteria for lunch. One of the coaches saw Leroy’s bike coming down the sidewalk. The problem was, Leroy was not riding it, instead, a strange man was hurriedly pushing the bike along. Nobody takes Leroy’s bike for a spin. Nobody. “Hey!” the coach called out to the players. “That guy has Leroy’s bike!”
In a flash, the players jumped into action. The thief was no match for the running backs, not strong enough to hold up to a tackle from a couple of defensive ends. Not brave enough to challenge a college linebacker. Before you could say, “MSU Rules!” the thief was on the ground looking up into the burly faces of Boys Who Mean Business. They held him there until police arrived. Leroy came out and saw the football team, the police, and his bike. When asked his opinion of the episode by a local reporter, Leroy replied, “I like them, and they like me.” So yes, in case anyone wants to know, the MSU Mustangs are definitely my team, and I’ll be out there this season cheering them on to victory under the bright lights well into the night.
“All that I know most surely about morality and obligations I owe to football.”