I am thankful Mack Brown leads the University of Texas football program with
dignity, class and grace.
I am thankful Mack Brown will not be found on a wrecked motorcycle with a
mistress half his age, slap a subordinate in anger, cheat to get a recruit or a
victory, take active steps to cover for a pedophile, change jobs before the ink
on his old contract is dry, intentionally under-inflate footballs, banish
journalists or childishly change jersey numbers in a blowout win for
I am thankful for the character of David Ash, who could have been psychologically crushed by the hate-filled venom spewed against him last year, but who instead committed to an amazing work ethic, became a team leader even though it was not really his personality and learned to throw the deep ball with a precision bordering on artistry.
I am thankful Mike Davis is reaching his potential, has put personal issues
behind him and runs the skinny post as effortlessly, effectively and
beautifully as an eagle soaring on the Rocky Mountain wind.
I am grateful for the Horns’ offensive line, vast improvements they have made
since last year, power and precision with which they run their pin-and-pulls
and improved aggressiveness and athleticism over the course of the season.
I am thankful for Johnathan Gray’s youthful exuberance, stealthy moves and
field vision, Joe Bergeron’s rock-solid physique, grim determination and
admirable power and Malcolm Brown’s current health, physical balance and vast,
I am thankful for Jaxon Shipley whenever our offense faces 3rd and
I am thankful for D.J. Monroe, Marquise Goodman and Daje Johnson because, if
speed kills, absolute speed kills absolutely.
I am thankful for the curious and probing mind of Bryan Harsin, who, when left
to his own devices, seemingly never runs out of interesting ideas and ways to
punish a defense for choosing between the lesser of two evils.
I am thankful for an improving defense, Alex Okafor, Kenny Vaccaro and the
potential our linebacker corps still enjoys.
I am thankful for the crowd during the West Virginia game, the loudest and most
engaged group I have ever witnessed in DKR, even during the national
I am thankful the 2012 Texas Longhorn football team did not fold it’s tent and
mentally go home halfway through the Kansas game, but instead righted the ship,
determine not to go gently into that good night and measurably improved every
I am thankful for the legacy of Darrell K. Royal – offensive innovation, tough,
physical football, genuinely caring about student-athletes and multiple
I am grateful college sports has driven a stake through the heart of the
monstrous, parasitic, vampiric, so-called Bowl Championship Series and that we
will soon live beyond its despotic, student-hating grasp.
I am grateful the diploma on my wall means I genuinely accomplished something –
that I beat out hundreds of other applicants to be accepted into the
University, competed with the best minds in the nation for my grades and
graduated after successfully completing challenging coursework.
I am grateful for my gracious, devoted wife and the passion with which she
loves her adopted University.
I am grateful my refrigerator is so well stocked with reasonably priced,
delicious food, my primary concern is becoming fat from eating too much.
I am grateful for my job, teaching and molding young minds, pushing them to
think, guiding their moral development and surrounded by their youthful
I am thankful our elderly, arthritic Chihuahua, Lucy, still looks longingly
into my wife’s face every day, despite a worsening heart murmur and two cancer
I am grateful that cops, firefighters, hospital staff and EMTs do not take
I am thankful I was permitted to vote my conscience in a full and fair election
earlier this month and that democracy – as messy and frustrating as it is –
still decides the fate of this nation.
I am thankful that when I criticize the government, no one comes in the middle
of the night to forcibly drag me away to a “reeducation” camp.
I am thankful America still enjoys the protection of the most powerful military
on the face of the planet, a group that, given a fair fight, will kick ass
seven times a week and twice on Sunday.
I am thankful for Eric Nahlin and Jesus Shuttlesworth and the insight, intrigue
and excitement their work has brought to the Inside Texas web site.
I am thankful and still a little amazed Clendon Ross does not charge me but
actually pays me to write this column after all these years.
I am thankful the eyes of Texas are upon me until Gabriel blows his horn.
A 1986 graduate of the University of Texas, Jeff Conner has
held many jobs in his life: husband, brother, uncle, son, oil field roustabout,
short-order cook, sandblaster, irrigation pipe mover, musician, retail
assistant manager, attorney-at-law, public school teacher, preacher, cartoonist
and writer. While he does have a hot, young wife, Conner is neither as clever
nor as good-looking as he believes himself to be. Jeff is currently teaching
8th grade math and G.T. algebra in Taylor, Texas, home of the Fighting Ducks.
Conner’s regularly submitted commentary appears in InsideTexas.com and Inside
Texas Magazine. The opinions presented do not necessarily reflect the views of
the Inside Texas editorial staff.