Caution UTEP Miners — Tech fans carry a torch for their team

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Texas Tech fans in Lubbock last Saturday decided a post-game victory celebration was not complete without destroying a car.

By Mark S. McDonald, A.K.A. “Mr. Manners”

It’s been awhile since long-suffering UTEP basketball and football fans have had much to celebrate. Perhaps we could take a lesson from our neighbors in Lubbock.

Last Saturday night after Texas Tech beat Michigan State to reach the NCAA men’s basketball championship game, Hub City hooligans “celebrated” by taking to the streets. Results were oh, so West Virginia Mountaineer-like.

A blazing couch … car flipped on its noggin, set afire … scooters in flames … police fogging an estimated 1,000 people with tear gas.

Question to Miners: How does one set fire to a scooter? Seriously.

At Texas Technological, is Scooter Burning 3101 taught in freshman classes? Or is it a grad-level course?

Classy, Red Raiders, so very classy.

It’s one thing to lose with grace and dignity – as shown by the riot and property damage and 23 arrests in East Lansing after Michigan State lost. Tech people need to learn how to win. As the late Texas Longhorn coach Darrell Royal told his players in my book Beyond The Big Shootout – 50 Years of Football’s Life Lessons,“act like you have been there before.”

Fact 1 — UTEP fans boo the opponents when they take the field at the Sun Bowl. It embarrasses me, and pisses me off. Knock it off, you mullets. Booing a bunch of 19-year-olds working their way through college is bush league. It’s college football, not pro wrestling.

Fact 2 — Texas Western (now UTEP) in 1966 became the last Texas school to win the men’s basketball title. We should be proud of it; I know I am.

Fact 3 — On Monday night, many UTEP Miners on Monday were rooting for Tech to lose to Virginia, so as to protect this long-held distinction.

Fact 4 — If TT had won, I was already planning a fresh T-shirt design, featuring a cartoon by artist-friend Bill DeOre (he’s the Tech boy who illustrated my book). Dig this: A stylized Miner with his hand extended to a masked marauder. Text: “Welcome to the Club, Amigo. Been waiting on company since 1966.”

Fact 5 — UTEP football plays TT at Lubbock next September. Miners will come in as an underdog, but I think my proposed T-shirt would have been a big, big winner among tailgaters in the stadium parking lot. Don’t you?

As for wearing a derisive T-shirt to jeer Tech fans, vayan con cuidado. Y’all, go with caution. People in Lubbock know how to set fire to your scooter.

[McDonald is a UTEP grad and two-year football letterman with a West Texas home surrounded by Tech people. His new book on the 1969 Arkansas-Texas Shootout for the national football title, set against political and social chaos in America, arrives in two weeks. Advance copies available by visiting BeyondTheShootout.com.]

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