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October 22, 2008 The nice thing about being in the Big 12 Conference is that it is one of the premier conferences in the league. The bad news is, the league takes up a good majority of the country, which means one thing: long road trips. After spending 14 hours in a charter bus my body hurt in places I did not even know I had.

The fun started on Thursday night after practice when we packed the truck. After making sure everything was loaded for our trip to Austin, we had an hour and a half to go home and shower and be back at 9 o’clock. Most people went home; however, a few of us stayed at the facility since we had already packed.

At 9 o’clock we boarded the bus with the cheerleaders in the back, trainers in the middle and equipment staff in the front. Unlike our last trip to Nebraska, the bus was full, and most people had to sit next to someone, making sleeping more difficult than anyone could imagine. After a stop in Waco, Texas for breakfast at Rudy’s BBQ we arrived in Austin just after noon on Friday.

The addition of the cheerleading staff meant we had an extra 14 people to help unload the truck and the player’s gear. This made the job exponentially faster. After the bags were unloaded the cheerleaders and trainers boarded the bus to head back to the hotel while the equipment staff switched out decals. After finishing our chores, we had about two hours to kill before the bus would return to the stadium.

For most of us it was our first trip to the University of Texas, and we took in the sights of the stadium by climbing all the way to the top and taking pictures from every angle. After we had our fair share of paparazzi, we walked around the campus and downtown Austin. Walking around campus is a unique experience because you get a true feel for the campus life, minus the few hecklers who spotted us wearing the “opposing colors.”

On Friday night some of the staff went downtown while others went out with family who had traveled to Austin for the weekend. The game was set for a 7 o’clock evening kick off and thus we left the hotel shortly after one. On our way to the game we made a stop at a Texas favorite, Whataburger, where everyone loaded up on a multiple patty hamburgers and “Texas Size” shakes.

Once we were at the stadium, most of the work was done within the hour since all we had to do was put jerseys on the shoulder pads and make sure everyone had a belt. A few of us went across the way to the Texas equipment room where we went on a tour of their facilities and traded articles of clothing, an equipment staff favorite.

Once the game started I assumed my spot in the radio booth. My job this game was to identify for our broadcasters the defensive player who made the tackle. It was a difficult job because the booth was smaller than most booths, which meant the statistician and I had to stand on chairs in order to see the action. The one good thing about our booth was that it was directly next to the ABC/ESPN booth of Kirk Herbstreit and Brent Musburger, so we got to pass them in the hallway a few times during pre-game and halftime.

The game was not very exciting from a Mizzou perspective. The Longhorns led 35-3 at halftime and continued their dominance in the second half on their way to a 56-31 victory. The loss sent Mizzou down in the polls and had drastic bowl implications; however, it is a long season and there are a lot of games left to be played.

After the game, the locker room was quite defeated. Players packed their bags in silence and the talking that was done was mainly done in a whisper. The coaches are always in a rush to leave after a road game; however, they are in even more of a rush after a road loss which means we had to bust our humps making sure all of the jerseys, pants, and other crucial items made it on the plane before it took off.

After the busses left for the airport, those who were riding back in the bus took showers and prepared for another long trip. We left Austin at around 11:30 Saturday night and returned home to Columbia just after 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Once we got back we unloaded the players bags and then were allowed to go home until 5 p.m. when we would have to be back to prepare for Sunday evening's practice.

It was a trip to forget based on the score of the game; however, with an experience such as that, it will not be forgotten anytime soon. It may be tough, but not many people get to have the experiences we get to share and that is why we continue to do what we do. That being said, most of us are still dreading our upcoming trip to Baylor.

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