After a good bit of organizing and several last minute dropouts Baton Rouge headed for Austin to face off against the big boys of Texas, . . . the Dallas Magpies, and the Austin Crows. With last years trip such a great time both on and off the field there was an air of expectation about this trip. Unfortunately due to many factors, it was a modest Baton Rouge crew who were able to travel. Luckily they were well supported by a Houston team represented by solid numbers given the 12 months since their second coming.
As for the footy… it was two tough games against tough opponents and though we played hard and had impressive moments of play we were, simply put, out played by the older and stronger teams. We ultimately fielded a team of 20 that included as much inexperience as any in the Tigers 7 year existence. This would prove telling as we failed to trouble the scorer in both the Austin and Dallas encounters, and struggled to string together the 5-6 consecutive possessions required to move the ball end-to-end on the outrageously large Austin field.
That said, the effort from everyone was tremendous, particularly in the Austin game while our legs were fresh. Young Dan and Jason showed a great deal in their first serious matches, Dan impressing with his desire to contest and Jason learning some valuable lessons from defending more experienced opponents. As always Joe played with the fire and Neil did awesome, as he scratched and clawed in typical style in his admirable rucking role against younger, longer legs. For all the effort the day, the results were best summed up by the sickening head clash between Rob and Nate that resulted in both being carted from the field: a great endeavor, but a little off in the execution.
Once the work on the field was done, the recovery started, first at the field with the other teams, then off to the Annual Austin SEC Tailgate at Zilker Park. Literally hundreds of Expat Alumni from virtually all the SEC schools gathering to share stories of their schools glory days and brag on the season about to start. Good food, refreshments and good company flowed throughout the afternoon and set the mood for the night ahead. After a few hours of tailgating as only Baton Rougians truly know how to, it was back to the hotel to prepare for a night on 6th street. First stop was a short walk from the downtown hotel to The 4th St Lounge with both the other teams for more food and drinks and some off field banter on who took out who and what the umpire didn’t see. Once the 4th St. lounge slowed down, people spread out onto 6th street to meet and greet the natives and a night of losing and re-finding each other in various dives and establishments, some crashed early, some not till the wee hours. All in all a good night (really, when do we ever have a bad one?), with a few stories not to be repeated, as always.