Apparently, foxes go for football. This past September, one was spotted on national television attending the football game between my alma mater, Texas Tech University (Red Raiders) and Texas Christian University (Horned Frogs) which was played in Lubbock, Texas’ Jones AT&T Stadium on September 12, 2013.. This video appeared in the “Sports Day” section of the on line Dallas Morning News
The foxes in question are grey foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus scottii). Among canids, the gray fox’s ability to climb trees is shared only with the Asian raccoon dog. They climb fences, too. They’ve climbed my parents’ back yard fence to drink out of their bird bath.
Just a note about the local football fauna. The TCU “Horned Frogs” derive their name from the Texas horned lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum), which is what we called “horny toads” growing up. They eat ants, especially the big red ones, like bit me on the toe. The neighbor lady we stayed with while my mom was at work put bluing on the bite, which actually helped.
The Texas Tech mascot is the Masked Rider, who is only allowed to take the field during home games as there is a rule that live animal mascots may not be taken to away games. Probably a good thing when Tech plays the University of Texas. At away games, their mascot is Raider Red.
Tech’s 52nd Masked Rider (2013-2014), Corey Waggoner riding Fearless Champion.
Just a clue. Football of any kind — junior high, high school, college or pro — is a big deal in Texas and is taken very seriously. The film Friday Night Lights doesn’t exaggerate. My high school football team plays Odessa Permian and would have played the football team on which the movie is based.
That said, I have to confess. I am an atypical Texan in that I don’t much care for sports. The only reason I ever used to read the sports pages of our local paper was for the sports cartoons of Dirk West, a local cartoonist.
Back then, Tech was in the Southwest Conference and Dirk West’s cartoons featured the SWC schools’ mascots, with dialog consisting of comments about the games upcoming and/or recently played.
Seeing as how Halloween is the day after tomorrow, I thought I’d show you this Dirk West cartoon from September 27, 1974 which cast the A&M Aggie as “Fraggiestein.” Pictured left to right is the Baylor Bear, the TUC Horn Frog, the University of Arkansas Razorback (the “Hogs“), the Texas A&M Aggie, the University of Texas Longhorn, and Raider Red.
You may notice the resemblance between “Raider Red” as drawn by Dirk West, and a certain Yosemite Sam . . .