Unhappy with Texas Tech football? Show up anyway

LUBBOCK, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 1: Fans of the Texas Tech Red Raiders cheer in the stands before the game against the Texas Longhorns on November 1, 2008 at Jones Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. (Photo by: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
LUBBOCK, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 1: Fans of the Texas Tech Red Raiders cheer in the stands before the game against the Texas Longhorns on November 1, 2008 at Jones Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. (Photo by: Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

A huge swath of the fan base is upset at the current state of the Texas Tech football program, and understandably so.  But despite that anger, the only way most fans can make a real difference is to show up at the games.

Today, the Texas Tech football team opens its home slate with a matchup against FCS opponent Lamar.  And coming off a 20-point loss to Ole Miss, Red Raider fan agnst has reached its highest level in the Kingsbury era.

It is easy to understand why fans might be fed-up with the cycle of mediocrity in which this program has languished for the past decade.  The Kliff Kingsbury experiment has yet to yield the type of results many expected and now even Kingsbury’s most important accomplishment, uniting the fan base, seems to be unraveling.

But regardless of the way you may feel about the state of Texas Tech football in 2018, there is one action that everyone professing to love the Red Raiders must take.  We must show up at each of the six home games on this year’s schedule.

I have been a season ticket holder since 2007.  In the 12 seasons since, I have lived in Lubbock for only one season.  As such, my round-trip to Lubbock for each home game has varied anywhere from 7 hours (as it will be this year) to 14 hours (as was the case when I lived in Colorado) so I know the challenge getting to Lubbock can pose.

Certainly, there have been some long and introspective drives home following disappointing losses and at times I’ve seriously considered whether my time and money would be better spent otherwise.  But in the end, I always come back to the same conclusion, as a man of modest means and with no real influence, all I can do to help the football program is show up each time the gates to Jones Stadium are open.

Please do not think that I am here to carry the Kliff Kingsbury banner nor am I here to try to convince anyone not to feel how they feel about the program.  If you are angry, be angry.  That doesn’t make you a bad fan or a poor Red Raider.  It makes you human.

I too, believe changes need to be made but somewhere in the deepest recesses of my soul, I manage to keep the slightest flicker of hope alive. Maybe it is that hope that keeps me coming back.  But I also know that the only way I can have any impact on the state of the program is to be part of the program in person.

Sure, I have this platform from which I can share my opinions and a few people may read those from time to time.  However, no one is going to make any real changes in the program by being an internet arsonist running from message boards to social media platforms trying to start fires for the sole purpose of stirring the pot.

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And staying home when you have the ability to go to the games will not fix anything either.  As we saw last year when Texas Tech had fewer than 45,000 people in the stands for each of its final three home games, attendance figures do not seem influence Kirby Hocutt’s decision on Kliff Kingsbury.

But what a half-empty stadium will do for certain is create a lethargic game day atmosphere likely to lead to a comatose performance from the home team.  For example, consider the difference in how Texas Tech played last year against Oklahoma State before a near-capacity crowd and how it played against TCU when the stadium was deserted by halftime.

Plus, consider the importance of football games for the other teams at Texas Tech.  Programs across campus use the football games as important recruiting events.  For instance, this weekend, Chris Beard and the Texas Tech basketball program is hosting four 4-star prospects in its biggest recruiting weekend of the year.  Certainly, a capacity crowd would make a terrific impact on those recruits as Beard attempts to showcase Lubbock and Texas Tech.

Then there is the monetary importance of the football program. Kirby Hocutt said on his radio show this week that the football program is responsible for 85% of the school’s overall athletic budget.  Therefore, protesting Kliff Kingsbury and the football team by not showing up is doing more damage to the non-revenue generating sports like tennis, golf, track and field, soccer, volleyball and softball than it is to football.

Obviously, the revenue generated by the Big 12’s football television contracts is the largest contributor to Texas Tech’s yearly athletic budget.  But if you do not believe that lower ticket sales, lower concession sales, lower merchandise sales and overall lower income from each football game day will not wind up hurting the athletic department in some tangible ways, you are mistaken.

So regardless of how you feel about Texas Tech football and Kliff Kingsbury or Kirby Hocutt, show up to the games.  Show up and tailgate with friends that you haven’t seen since last football season.

Show up and take your kids to a game so they can start to learn why it is special to be a Red Raider.  Show up to remind yourself why you fell in love with the university all those years ago.

Show up because you are a Texan and football is as important to you as water is to the fish in Lake Alan Henry.  Show up because it is a fall Saturday afternoon, Jones Stadium is open to the public and you still know the importance of being part of something bigger than yourself.

Show up because you are a Red Raider.  Show up because you love your school.

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We wait all year for these six fall Saturdays to come around.  They are precious and we must cherish them regardless of the what is happening with the program. So whether you are angry or excited, hopeless or optimistic, cynical or faithful, just be present.  I’ll see you at the Jones!