Patriot games

Oct. 17, 2005

As we welcome our friends from the United States Military Academy, I couldn't help but think about the next two weeks and how special they will be for TCU players and fans alike.

We begin tonight here at Amon Carter Stadium, where in addition to an outstanding gridiron match-up between TCU and Army, we all get a chance to show our patriotism and support for our current members of the Armed Services. We also get to say a very special thank you to veterans of the Vietnam War. It will be a terrific scene here on campus, and I, for one, can't wait for kickoff!

Then next week we take off for the Air Force Academy to meet the Falcons in a key Mountain West Conference game. It's always difficult to steal a win in Colorado Springs, but the Frogs will have to do just that in order to continue those hopes for a Mountain West Conference title.

But these two weeks are bigger than football and I, for one, am glad that Gary Patterson is at TCU to lead our young men. We are fortunate to have someone who cares about these young men on and off the field, who pushes them to their limits just to show them just how good they can be.

Football is a big part of what I am talking about here, but there is more to it. The young men they'll face in the next two games, like our Frogs, are some of the best and brightest in the country. And just like our Frogs, they are being groomed, molded and educated to be leaders among men for years.

Many of you know that Coach Patterson spent some time at the U.S. Naval Academy, but what you may not know is that he counts those as some of the most rewarding years of his career. That experience at Annapolis has had a major influence on how he runs his program here at TCU. Accountability, hard work, trust in yourself and each other and discipline are all pillars that the service academies have stood on for years and so does the TCU football program.

I heard Coach Patterson's wife Kelsey on our pre-game radio show a couple of weeks ago responding to the question, "What's the best thing about being a head coach's wife?" She quickly responded that she couldn't speak for all wives, but for her it was being married to a man who cares so deeply about the future of the young men he works with every day. It's a passion reinforced by those days in Annapolis, days that Gary won't soon forget. He saw first hand the commitment that is expected of those student-athletes, and now he expects the same of his student-athletes.

The next two weeks are big for us. Not just big for Frog fans in pursuit of an outstanding record at the end of the season. Don't get me wrong, the Frogs are going to need you cheering at the top of your lungs for TCU. But let's take a second, maybe when they come out on the field or at the end of the game, and let's put together a nice round of applause for the players from Army and Air Force, in addition to the Frogs.

After all, the players of all three teams make us proud. Not only are the next two weeks big for you and me because we get to watch terrific young men being led by outstanding field generals like Gary Patterson, Bobby Ross and Fisher DeBerry. We also get to watch some great football action, show off our patriotism and cheer on America's finest.

Here's hoping you enjoy the next two weeks as much as I will!

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