Texas Spring Football Jamboree

The 2010 Texas Football Spring Jamboree may not be most people’s idea of a typical Easter celebration, but that is exactly how many dedicated Longhorn fans will be spending this upcoming Sunday.

While most are sitting back at home, relaxing with family after a more traditional Easter egg hunt, tens of thousands of burnt orange clad fans will be flocking to Darrell K Royal — Texas Memorial Stadium (no typo, “K” is the legendary coach’s entire middle name) to check out their beloved Texas Longhorns football team

Orange-White Game 2009. Photo by TexKap via Flickr Creative Commons

as they end spring practice with their annual Orange-White Game.

For many, this will be their first time to see the team since the loss to Alabama in the BCS National Championship on January 7.

“I haven’t been able to make any of the open practices, so I’m really looking forward to this,” said sophomore Shelby Clawson. “I’m curious to see the team and how the new quarterback has come along.”

That “new” quarterback would be Garrett Gilbert, the local Lake Travis High School product who fell short of a victory but performed admirably in the championship game after Colt McCoy got knocked out with a pinched nerve in his throwing shoulder.

After seeing Gilbert’s performance in that game, many are assured that the future is in good hands. Others are more curious to see how the coaches have addressed the issues on the offensive and defensive lines.

And oh yeah, the running game.

Wait, we have one of those?

All joking aside, don’t expect the coaches to reveal many new wrinkles or to do anything that might tip their hand to opposing coaches.

It will be mostly basic play calling, just with some different faces on the field.

In addition to the Orange-White game at 4 p.m., the annual Fan Fest will start at 1:30 p.m., with various activities outside and also in the Red McCombs Red Zone on the north end of the stadium.

The weather as of right now is sunny and 80 degrees, so bring your sunglasses. But knowing this Texas weather, you might want to bring your pancho along just in case.

For those of you who can’t make it, the game will be broadcast live on FSN Southwest and Fox College Sports Central.

UT Club Sports: Baseball

By percentage, the Longhorns are the winningest program in college baseball history and hold the records for most appearances in the College World Series (33) and most individual CWS games won (82). They have won six National Championships (1949, 1950, 1975, 1983, 2002, and 2005)  and have appeared in the Championship Game/Series six other times (1953, 1984, 1985, 1989, 2004, and 2009). Texas has won 75 regular season conference championships and 15 conference tournament championships in baseball.

The University of Texas Club Baseball team

But they aren’t the only baseball program in town, nor are they the only ones to win an National Championship in the past decade. The UT Club Baseball Team also hold that honor with the inaugural championship of the National Club Baseball Association in 2001.

Earlier I wrote about the UT men’s soccer club and the fact that they were the highest level of soccer at the University. While the UT Club baseball team is not, you have to consider that the aforementioned stats about the NCAA varsity program. In perspective, being the third most talented catcher on the 40 acres might mean that you are somewhere below two All-Americans and future professionals.  Not too shabby.

Club team catcher Woody Apfel

t the plate for the Longhorns

Woody Apfel, the Vice President of the club and it’s starting catcher, is no slouch. He’s been playing for nearly 16 years. His counterpart on the Longhorn baseball team is Cameron Rupp, who is on the pre-season Johnny Bench award watch list and was named to the College World Series Tournament team last season. Apfel wasn’t offered a scholarship by the University, coming from the small town of Alvarado, Texas, but did receive a spot after walking on. However, Apfel wouldn’t have a scholarship and realized he may not ever see the field, so he opted to seek out the club team.

That team plays in the Gulf Coast Region of the NCBA – A division of CollClubSports. The League is comprised of 119 Division I teams & 61 Divsion II teams, from all across the country and they all take America’s favorite pastime pretty seriously. This isn’t some Intramural league. It culminates in the NCBA World Series in May, with both divisions producing a champion. The organization has only been around since 2001, but Texas is one of just 6 teams to win the Division I championship.

According to the NCBA’s website, the two types of institutions that field club teams are schools that either can’t sponsor NCAA varsity baseball (often due to Title IX restrictions) and schools that do have a varsity team, but also have enough demand to field a second team. Texas obviously falls into the latter.

The team versus the rival Aggies

Coming off a season where they finished ranked #19 in the nation and narrowly missed out on making the big tournament – the Longhorns are currently ranked #18 and hoping to make it to the world series. In order to do that they must win their Regional, where they would face the other 7 regional champions in Ft. Meyers, Florida.

So come out and support your fellow Horns. The team plays around 25 games during the regular season, and plays their home games at Zaragosa Park, about 10 minutes from campus. They have 6 more home games and only a month before Regionals begin!

Mobile Food Hits West Campus

I had not even seen Jordyn’s last post yet when I decided to write about this, and I completely realize that this is not a food blog. Nonetheless, food IS a very important part of each student’s life. Very important.

I recently had an incredibly moving experience with food. It went something like this…

Walking home this past Wednesday, I could not wait until I got back from campus. I was starving, and thinking about what I was going to cook for dinner wasn’t making it any better.

You see, my Wednesday evenings are jam-packed with meetings. This schedule kind of throws my body for a little bit of a loop, because for the other six days of the week dinner time usually falls during this same time frame. On the way home after my last meeting was over, my stomach really let me know that it didn’t appreciate how I was treating it.

I had just gone grocery shopping, so I really didn’t want to stop and spend money eating out. I continued on my trek, crossing Guadalupe at 24th Street and taking a left on San Antonio Street–on my way deep into the heart of West Campus.

However, before I made it that far, I saw a light.

It kind of appeared out of nowhere, a little gift from God shining bright from its spot set neatly in a parking lot right next to the sidewalk. A greater being was trying me, testing my self-control.

Photo by Bonita Sarita via Creative Commons

I couldn’t give in. I passed it up.

Two steps later, I turned around.

This “taco truck,” as I have long referred to this type of vendor, had proven too much. It was offering Korean BBQ tacos, which I had never tried before, and I was excited to them a taste.

You see, I have gotten some amazing food from other trucks such as these, the earliest coming from my younger days working construction during the summers.

This truck was strikingly similar–in both appearance and menu. However, they offered a major twist in flavors, and it was amazing!

Photo by John of Austin via Creative Commons

Melding Korean tastes with the traditional Tex-Mex flavors, Chi’Lantro offers tacos, burritos, burgers, quesadillas and bowls at affordable prices. The beef taco that I got was only $2, and while one definitely did not fill me up, it was completely worth the small price.

Be aware, however, that this mobile machine does not stay in one place for very long. Currently it is making the rounds from locations in downtown Austin back to the UT campus. Chi’Lantro makes it easy for you though, as you can find their daily locations on both their Twitter and Facebook pages.

If you are interested in trying these unique flavors, get ready. The Chi’Lantro truck will be coming back to their same location at 2323 San Antonio Street near the UT campus on Saturday from 12-3 P.M.

I highly recommend that you give them a try.

Drink Coffee…Outside!

If you live or frequent west campus you’ve probably seen Good Bike Cafe, located at the Corner of 24th and San Gabriel, in the parking lot of Freewheeling Bicycles.

Photo by Drew Bean

It’s basically a trailer with a very friendly person inside, a canopy and some patio chairs. So, you can either get your coffee to go on your way to class or you can bring a book or companion and hang out a little while.

They offer a diverse menu including lattes, tea, hot chocolate, breakfast tacos from Cuatros, bagels, sandwiches and more.

Their most popular drink, however, is their cuban coffee, a shot of espresso with sweetened milk. It’s handy to carry and drink on the go since it comes in a smaller cup than normal espresso drinks, plus it’s absolutely delicious, although I must warn, a tad bit addicting as well.

Plus, in true Austin fashion, their products are almost all sourced locally and organically.

It is also important to note that their drinks run a bit cheaper than those of the ubiquitous Starbuckses around campus. My drink, a skinny vanilla latte, costs $3 at the Starbucks in the Union, and $2.50 at the Good Bike Cafe. Plus, you get a 25% discount if you arrive on a bike!

In order to learn more about the Good Bike Cafe I did a brief Q&A with owner and operator Robby Hanna.

Jordyn:Who started the Good Bike Cafe and why?

Photo by Drew Bean

Robby: Charlie Drozdyck had a vision of a coffee place with a funky kind of cool motif so he developed the idea of a coffee trailer. He made a relationship with the bike shop, Freewheeling Bicycles, had electricity installed, then got the place up and running last September. He later decided to move on to other things and sold the cafe to me.

Jordyn: What clientele does the Good Bike Cafe aim to reach?

Robby: People who love good beverages and great food

Jordyn: What makes the Good Bike Cafe special?

Robby: Well there are three things; the authentic quality of food and coffee, the quirky cool ambiance, including the music, and the genuine hospitality of the staff.

So if you haven’t yet, stop by some time and check the place out. They’re open every day except for Sunday, but Robby said the best time to stop by to relax and hang out outside is any time during the afternoon on a weekday.

P.S.- They now accept credit/debit cards!

The Secret Garden

With the temperature following a (rather finicky) rising trend, some Longhorns might want to spend a little more of their on-campus time outside.  The little-known courtyard of Goldsmith Hall is a great place if you’re interested in a serene, secluded spot in which to spend a few minutes and relax.

The entrance is just off the West Mall, between the West Mall Office Building and Goldsmith Hall.

Goldsmith Hall Courtyard from Stairs. Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

After following the stairs leading down between the buildings, the entrance to the courtyard will be to your right.

"Veduggio Glimpse" by Anthony Caro. Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

You’ll encounter a steel sculpture by Anthony Caro entitled “Veduggio Glimpse,” which is on long-term loan from The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The piece is one of twenty-eight works from the Met as part of UT’s Landmarks project.

Goldsmith Courtyard Entrance. Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

Just past the sculpture, you’ll walk through two wrought iron gates.

Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

There’s not much going on here.  In fact, there’s always several discarded objects lying around.

Small Pool in Courtyard. Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

Just inside, there’s a small reflecting pool of sorts.

Pretty Plants. Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

Senior Mariel Davis says she likes to study, eat, and relax here.  “Most of the time there is nobody there, so it is a great place to enjoy yourself,” she said.

She “fell in love” with the spot when she accidentally found it after going to the post office to mail letters.

“It is the classic hidden, little, charming, perfect old place that you would see on a movie. It seems to be keeping a piece of history in its few branches and benches,” she said.

Opposite View of Courtyard. Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

The flowers are gone now, but if you’re lucky, you might find the trees in bloom.  It’s stunning, truly.

Flowers on Tree. Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

Personally, I find this area is a great place to study.  I’ve enjoyed reading plenty of books here since I found out about it my Freshman year when an English professor conducted a class here.

You probably walk by the West Mall all the time, so why not check it out sometime?  You won’t regret it.

Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

For Whom Tolls the Bells

A lot has changed in the world since 1967. The Beatles are done, Vietnam is over, we reached the moon (we think), Bobby Kennedy and the great Martin Luther King Jr. are unfortunately no longer with us.

But a lot of things haven’t. We still don’t know who shot JFK, England still hasn’t won another World Cup, no one cares who Justin Beiber is, and Tom Anderson still plays his 56 bells.

If that last one sounds odd to you, then you need to brush up on your University of Texas personalities. Anderson has played the Carillon for Longhorn passer-byes for 57 years (also from 52-56 as a music graduate student). And while a quick search in the UT directory won’t net you any results for Anderson, asking anyone in the know will certainly offer some insight.

A younger Anderson stands next to one of the 56 bells

“Tom is the offical University carilloneur,” said Arnell Davis, a Tower Tour Guide at UT. “He’s the best there is…And the carillon is so massive, it’s actually located on two separate floors at the top of the Tower, four flights up from the observation deck – but he plays it as though it were simple instrument.”

So maybe that sounds impressive, but consider the routine of playing the carillon. The instrument is similar to an organ, but instead of keys, it has two rows of wooden levers. Each time he touches a lever, it sends a signal through a wire to a slapper inside the bells (which weigh between 20 pounds and 20 tons). To actually play the instrument, you have to frantically multitask, stretching for levers, hopping between pedals, and all the while reading sheet music – and keeping the beat. That sounds like a task for a spry undergrad, much less an 87-year-old man. Anderson, who has finally surpassed the number of steps he climbs each day (two at a time for good measure), says he’ll keep playing until he can’t get up the 85 steps anymore.

And over his lengthy tenure atop the tower, Anderson still hasn’t lost his sense of humor. Although he said he doesn’t have a favorite song, he loves ‘Danny Boy’ and takes some pleasure in playing certain songs at odd times. Examples include ‘Let it Snow’ in the middle of August or Chopin’s funeral march on the first day of finals.

Some things never change, and we like it that way. One day Tom will retire and the University will lose an icon. But until that day, we should cherish the music and remember the man. The next time you hear the bells think of him, and maybe even tell a friend. He deserves a little bit of celebrity after all. I think he’s earned it.

Forty Acres Fest

Due to the barrage of emails and event invitations on Facebook that I have been getting recently regarding Forty Acres Fest, I feel that it is a pretty good time to talk about the event.

While the annual festival is still almost three weeks away, with a busy second half of the spring semester about to be in full swing, April 10 will be here sooner than you think.

And you do not want to miss it.

If you are searching for your place at The University of Texas, feeling the urge to get a little bit more involved with one of many organizations on campus, or just looking for something free to do on a Saturday afternoon, then Forty Acres Fest is just for you.

Forty Acres Fest is an event for the entire Austin community, but is especially dependent on student participation.

Photo by Liz Wong via Creative Commons

Through booths and activities set up by various groups and organizations, the university encourages interaction among the members of UT and promotes the diversity of interests and depth that are present on the Forty Acres.

Over the years, the festival has become a university tradition, featuring food, fun, games, and of course, live music.

In fact, all of the buzz this year seems to be surrounding Girl Talk, who returns to Austin after putting on a crowd favorite show at the Austin City Limits Music Festival this past fall.

“I’ve seen all the concerts at Forty Acres Fest, and this is by far the one that I am most excited about,” said senior Andrew Trang. “He absolutely killed it at ACL.”

To say students are excited for this year’s concert is an understatement. However, the festival has seen plenty of big names perform, including The Roots, Ludacris, Common and Little Richard.

The concert will be taking place directly in front of the Tower on the Main Mall, while other activities and booths will be scattered throughout the South and West Malls as well.