Growing up lowest middle class in Texas (remember this is ‘Merica, where nobody’s “poor”, some just owe more money than others), my mom was fond of the expression “Why can’t this family have nice things?!?” This would often be accompanied by extremely rhetorical questions such as “Why can’t this family be like other families?” and “Scot, why don’t you just get off your high horse?”
Ah, the memories, many better explored via a therapist’s office than by means of a silly blog. Still, thoughts about life in Texas wash up like haz mat medical products along a Jersey shoreline as I read Andrea Schoellkopf’s piece in today’s Journal about Burque getting a new football stadium on the Westside.
It seems that APS is putting together plans to go from two football stadiums to three, with a new west o’ Rio Grande River sports complex costing from $15 to $20 million. As a Texas refugee, the mere mention of high school football dredges up plenty of teenage and beyond Friday nights spent in football Valhallas from Denton to Odessa, while Burqueans talking about building some new public facility can’t help but remind me of my mom’s “Why can’t we have nice things?” question.
Given this perspective, I kinda see my role here as one of community psychologist. That is to say, I’m going to speak to those New Mexicans out there who feel uncomfortable spending big bucks on any public project, and who somehow consciously or unconsciously feel like our community doesn’t deserve nice things, like gigantic, expensive high school football stadiums. You know who you are. I see the look in your eyes when you stare up at the NM Rail Runner trains and almost audibly mumble, “this thing is way too pretty for New Mexico…”
I’m here to help, because if Texans are good at anything it is spending disproportionately outlandish amounts of money on high school football stadiums. If you haven’t seen it for yourself (or read/seen “Friday Night Lights”), I did a bit o’ ‘Net research on the subject.
A good place to start is “TexasBob.com” and its list of stadiums through the state. What other state would have a posted database of high school football stadiums? In fact, I found about ten such databases in about two minutes. You click on a map of the state and find out, for instance, that city of Brownwood has “Gordon Wood Stadium”, which has Astro-turf and seats 7,800. As of the 2000 census, Brownwood has 18,813 people. In the whole town.
I remember as a semi-loyal Weatherford Kangaroo (class of ’79) driving back in the day to Brownwood for a district football game, and wondering why the city seemed to have spent 80% of its public finances on a concrete football stadium (and that was probably two or three stadium renovations ago). I also see that Brownwood’s stadium namesake, Gordon Wood, has a Wikipedia entry longer than those of most U.S. Presidents.
I could go on and on, and the databases do. Many stadia have their own web pages, such as this one. My suggestion for any New Mexicans balking at APS spending serious bucks on a new Westside complex is to check out some of these pages. I’m sure everyone will agree that, in contrast to its large, loud-talking and irritating eastern neighbor, New Mexico/Burque can build a new nice concrete high school football stadium and still be nowhere near as fundamentally insane as Texans are.
By the way, I Googled and it doesn’t look like any proud New Mexicans have put together a NM high school football stadium database. I feel so poor and relatively inadequate. Why can’t we have nice things like other states have?
Mom would be proud of me.