Spin It anyway you want, but doesn’t privilege and opportunity become defining moments in our lives? It is only as we make choices and yield to the options before us that ultimately seal our fate and become characteristics of the legacy that we will one day leave behind.
My son will not be pleased for me to share this, but facts are facts and he can’t deny that it is true. When he got his driver’s license at the age of sixteen he was elated. Actually as strange as it may seem, his mother and I were as well. After years of carting him back and forth from Henly to Johnson City for extracurricular activities, the day came when he could drive himself. All he needed was a car.
Truthfully, Craig would have been thrilled with a pickup truck. Back in the day (2nd grade through graduation) Craig was pretty intent on dressing like a cowboy or ranch-hand. Very seldom did he ever wear a pair of shorts or dress in anything other than Levis and a long sleeve shirt.
Craig will credit it to being young and desperate for wheels, but he was elated when we purchased a used Toyota Camry (2 door) from a co-worker for him to drive. The Toyota was in mint condition, had a good look and was burnt orange. That may not have been the official factory name for the color, but trust me, folks with a liking for Longhorn orange would have intuitively gravitated toward the car. It looked sharp.
Would Craig drive that car today? Not on your life and it all has to do with color. Recently my son announced to me, “My kids are so blessed to have Aggies as parents”. How’s that for confidence and another means of substantiating that privilege and opportunity become defining moments in our lives?
Monday, the host who invited me to the Headlines Club in Austin talked about some of the club members he has met who are in their late eighties and nineties. They may not have the physical prowess to climb 21 flights of stairs, but they still have memory and stories to tell.
One of the stories they tell relates to the popularity and good luck of a man named Rooster Andrews. Actually, “Rooster” isn’t his real name and sometimes his luck wasn’t all that good. In fact, the story of how he came to be call Rooster is one of those times.
“He also acquired his nickname during his freshman year. It had nothing to do with his banty-rooster size or a gravelly voice that might have sounded like a rooster’s if a rooster could talk.
“Billy Andrews became Rooster late one night when several Longhorn players who were headed to a cockfight in the nearby town of Elgin came to his room, rousted him out of bed and led him to a tall hickory tree near the Longhorn baseball field. They were birdless, they told Mr. Andrews, but when they shined a flashlight into the tree, they could see several cocks roosting high in the branches. The water boy, lithe and light, was just the man to snatch their entrant.
“I put the flashlight under my arm, skimmed the tree and it seemed like it was the Empire State Building,” Mr. Andrews told the Dallas Morning News almost 60 years later. “I got up there, and there were five or six roosters.”
“He grabbed the bird the players wanted, one they called Elmer. “When I did, he clawed my face,” he recalled. “Oh, man, he tore me up. I fell, bounced through some limbs, but I still had the rooster.”
His buddies, late for the cockfight, left Mr. Andrews under the tree with a broken arm — and with a nickname that became him”
William Edward “Rooster” Andrews, Jr. was a former University of Texas team manager who gained fame as a drop-kicking player, whom the media called the “All-American Waterboy.”
Would it surprise you to know that Rooster Andrews, the University of Texas alumni who developed the “Steerhead” Logo in 1961 and changed the bright orange color that was then used to burnt orange was one day away from going to Texas A&M.
As a 17-year-old at Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas, Andrews participated in the 1936 Texas state championship track meet as the school’s manager. There he met legendary Texas track coach Clyde Littlefieldwho put Andrews to work setting up for the Texas Relays Andrews ended up staying three extra days to work even after the track team left on the bus for Dallas. For this he was paid $9 Malcolm Kutner, a classmate of Andrews, asked Texas football coach Dana Bible to bring Andrews on as a team manager, but said that Andrews would need a job. Texas A&M coach Homer Norton also wanted Andrews as a manager and even sent him a dorm room key. But the night before Andrews was to leave for Texas A&M, Andrews’ classmate called to tell him that Bible had found him a job through the National Youth Administration so Andrews headed to Austin instead.
It really is true that privilege and opportunity become defining moments in our lives. I guess another way to phrase it, “Be careful which rut you take, it may be a long time before you get out of it”.
All My Best!