Thank Goodness the Tower Is OFF

I love UT. I got my degree there. I was in Longhorn Band. I wrote for the Daily Texan. I had school spirit, for Pete’s sake.

But after spending every evening at the tower for three days straight, I’m tired.

The first few nights at the tower were frenetic. The energy crazy, the fans erupting in “Texas” and “Fight.” I would guess about 300 people stood in front of the Littlefield “flying horse” fountain at any given moment between dusk and midnight or so. The entire South Mall was a mob of people jostling for position.

I photographed 13 scheduled families, plus three more that just showed up, plus two more sets of friends who found me, plus three more “pick up” shoots of strangers who wanted a professional shot and asked me if I’d do one. I am exhausted. The big orange tower looms behind my eyelids even in sleep.

The girls and I took our picture the first night of my shoot. My friend Lanette assisted, and a very tired me is pictured with her in front of the tower. Last night, or early I guess, this morning, I launched out of bed at 4 a.m. and drove over to the tower in hopes of getting a clear shot without a billion bystanders. About 20 people still staked out their spot in front of the fountain, but I elbowed my way through that paltry crowd and got my shot. I also drove around to the Fine Arts circle and shot it there, but the fountain was not lit, so it did not inspire me.

This last night of the tower lighting was morose. The laughing and cheering of nights past were tempered by Vince Young’s announcement that he was entering the draft. The smiles were half hearted. He was mentioned frequently, with a begrudging, “Well, he should take the opportunity.” Everyone seemed to think he’d shafted the Horns. Sold out. I don’t worry about these things, just rearranged families in various positions and snapped wildly.

Supposedly the tower will be lit once more when the students return to class. I could rush my portfolios out to my clients and attach a note that I will do “one more” run of 20-minute sessions throughout the final night. It’s a lot of money; a good opportunity.

But no matter how much I love my Longhorns, I don’t think I could say, “Hook ‘Em” even one more time. My dedication is done until I get some sleep.

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