Football

STANZ & FITZ: A Big 12 Thanksgiving

The football teams of the Big 12 Conference gather at Texas’ house for their annual Thanksgiving festivities. This has been an especially tough year for most of the conference for one reason or another, so many members are on edge. Still, the turkey is in the oven and football is on the TV, and the following transpires…

TEXAS: I’d like to thank everyone for coming today. Thanksgiving is a special time of year and a great opportunity to do just that – give thanks. How about we go around the table and each share something we’re thankful for? I’ll start… I’m thankful for not having to play Maryland during the non-conference schedule! What a relief. Okay, your turn, Tech.

TEXAS TECH: Ummm… I’m thankful that I produced the best young quarterback in the NFL! You guys may have heard of him, his name is Patri-

*Everyone else interrupts, in unison*

EVERYONE: MAHOMES.

TEXAS TECH: And did you guys know, Kliff Kingsbury is coaching the Cardinals now? I’m basically an NFL factory!

*Everyone rolls their eyes and stays silent, hoping someone can clear the air*

TCU: Wellllll, maybe what we need is a little music to cheer things up. I have just the song…

TEXAS: You’re not about to play “Take A Step Back”, are you?

*TCU proudly presses play on his phone, thrusts it into the air, and starts singing*

TCU: TAKE A STEP BACK, TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR LIFE. HUG YOUR CHILDREN, KISS YOUR WIFE!

*Seeing the plan of going around the table isn’t going to work, the league members split off into their own groups, leaving TCU alone to finish the song. In the living room, West Virginia, Iowa State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State gather around the TV to watch some football*

OKLAHOMA STATE: Looks like the Cowboys are coming on. Best mascot in sports, if you ask me. Did you guys see the tweet about “American horse pirates”? Classic!

WEST VIRGINIA: Looks like they’re playing the Washington Football Team. Talk about a dumb name… Should have changed their old name to Coon Skins. It was RIGHT THERE.

*Oklahoma’s eye starts involuntarily twitching*

OKLAHOMA: Cowboys, huh? I hear Mike McCarthy is a really good coach and will probably be there 20 years. It’s a match made in heaven. At least, that’s what I’ve been hearing. Say, Iowa State, speaking of good coaches, any truth to that rumor about Matt Campbell leaving for Nebraska?

IOWA STATE: Is Mike Gundy bald?

OKLAHOMA STATE: I think I’m going to be sick.

*Oklahoma State starts turning green and runs to the bathroom, where he finds the door locked. Knocking frantically, he tries to hurry up whoever’s inside.*

OKLAHOMA STATE: Hurry up in there!

TEXAS: Hold on a second.

OKLAHOMA STATE: It’s an emergency! I need the toilet now!

TEXAS: I’ll only be a minute.

OKLAHOMA STATE: I can’t wait any longer!!

TEXAS: Okay, okay, I’m coming.

*The toilet flushes and footsteps wander toward the door. Right as Texas opens the door, Oklahoma State loses his lunch, spewing vomit all over Texas.*

TEXAS: Gross! That’s the second time this year that you’ve blown chunks against me! Now I have to go change clothes…

*Texas retreats to his bedroom. In the meantime, Texas Tech, Baylor, TCU and Kansas head to the backyard.*

KANSAS: Guys, can we play basketball instead of football? Please?

EVERYONE: NO.

*Kansas starts crying and runs back inside.*

TCU: You guys ready to play? Baylor, please don’t start a fight like you have the last couple years.

BAYLOR: Oh, no need to worry, I am a religious institution and would never think of doing anything like that. Anyway, I’m excited for some two-hand touch…

*TCU and Texas Tech lock eyes briefly, a look of concern on both of their faces.*

TEXAS TECH: I call all-time quarterback! I knew wearing my Mahomes jersey was a good idea today!

*As the game gets underway, Oklahoma, Iowa State and West Virginia all walk outside to watch.*

WEST VIRGINIA: This should be good. By the way, have you guys seen Kansas State?

OKLAHOMA: Oh, I think he got COVID and couldn’t come today.

IOWA STATE: Yeah, he didn’t show up last week either, so nothing new.

WEST VIRGINIA: Wait, did we have a Thanksgiving last week too?

IOWA STATE: No, there was a funeral.

WEST VIRGINIA: I see. Anyway, are you excited for the Riot Bowl, Iowa State? We’re pretty good this year!

IOWA STATE: It’s in Ames though. Remember what happened the last time the Riot Bowl was in Ames?

WEST VIRGINIA: Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure I got way deep into my stash of Moonshine two years ago and can’t remember any of it.

IOWA STATE: That’s probably for the better…

*The backyard football game ends with a final score of 61-58, with Baylor coming out on top over TCU. TCU appears to have a mild PTSD flare-up as the group walks inside, while all-time quarterback Texas Tech sprints to his car with a smile on his face to retrieve the tortillas he brought as his Thanksgiving dinner contribution.*

*Now ready for dinner, most of the group sits down at the table excited for the feast. Kansas sits alone at the kiddie table.*

KANSAS: When do I get to sit at the big boy table with you guys?

OKLAHOMA: Well, speaking of big boys, you used to sit up here when Mark Mangino was your coach. Remember?

*Kansas starts crying again.*

OKLAHOMA: Anyway… Have you guys seen Texas? 

OKLAHOMA STATE: Uh, I think he went to his bedroom awhile ago.

OKLAHOMA: Bedlam?

OKLAHOMA STATE: No, bedroom.

OKLAHOMA: Bedlam. Got it.

*Oklahoma State starts turning green again and slips away to the bathroom for the second time. After the bathroom door slams shut, Texas walks into the dining room, cleaned up from the incident earlier in the day.*

TEXAS: I’M BACK!

TCU: Boy, where have we heard THAT before…

TEXAS: I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that. Anyway, let’s get dinner started. I see that Texas Tech brought… Tortillas… As their dinner contribution. What else did everyone bring?

*Texas notices some perfectly cooked medium-rare steaks piled up on the counter, ready for the taking.*

TEXAS: Wow, it looks like someone went above and beyond this year. Who brought the steaks?

*Iowa State raises his hand.*

TEXAS: That’s awfully nice of you, Iowa State. I don’t think I’ve ever had steak on Thanksgiving before. 

IOWA STATE: Oh, yeah. Well, I’m going to devour some delicious steaks tomorrow. I thought I’d share the experience with you guys a day early.

TEXAS: Oh, wow, can I see them?

*Iowa State hands Texas the plate of steaks and Texas gives him a solid glance.*

TEXAS: What cut are these?

IOWA STATE: They’re rib–

*As Iowa State answers, Texas casually throws the plate of steaks out the open window behind him.*

IOWA STATE: Hey! What the hell?

TEXAS: Your apology will arrive on Monday. What else do we have here?

*Iowa State slouches down in his chair and proceeds to sulk*

WEST VIRGINIA: I brought some of my homemade moonshine!

*Everyone else at the table groans.*

WEST VIRGINIA: Guys, don’t worry! It won’t be like last time. I won’t let Baylor have any.

TEXAS TECH: If he starts trying to grind on me like he did last Christmas, I’m going to kick your ass, West Virginia.

OKLAHOMA: Don’t worry, he will get that this weekend regardless.

*Finally, Oklahoma State reenters the room.*

OKLAHOMA STATE: Hey, Texas, the water pressure on that toilet is impressive. I just threw up so much. You know, I was watching One America News the other day and they were talking about the water pressure in toilets and they said Donald Tru–

EVERYONE: Shut up!

OKLAHOMA STATE: You guys can shut up! OAN says he is still your president and he is! Just wait until Rudy gets his lawsu–

*Texas slams his hands on the table, visibly irate.*

TEXAS: THAT’S ENOUGH! Oklahoma State, I could tolerate the throwing up. Hell, I could tolerate if you had asked us to start the count against Oklahoma because I want to see him lose just as much as the next guy —

OKLAHOMA: Why don’t you beat me then?

TEXAS (to Oklahoma): Would you shut up, man?

TEXAS (to Oklahoma State): But you are not going to bring politics into this. Sports are a sacred space and if you don’t like it then you can get out of my house.

OKLAHOMA STATE: I mean, have you listened to your fight song lately?

TEXAS: Get the hell out!!!

*There is silence as Oklahoma State slowly puts on his coat and walks out the door, slamming it while exclaiming TRUMP 2024, F*ck Fox News on the way out. Once OSU is gone, Texas sits back down, trying to fake calmness.*

TEXAS: Now, let’s have a nice dinner shall we?

*There is silence while everyone starts filling their plates. Texas has a crazed grin on his face as if he’s trying to fake being happy, but really contemplating his attempted escape for the SEC.*

OKLAHOMA: You know, Texas, if you wanted me to lose then you could just beat me.

*Texas stands up from the table angry again.*

TEXAS: You can get the hell out too, Oklahoma!

OKLAHOMA: Maybe if Sam Ehlinger was as good as Spencer Rattl–

TEXAS: GET THE HELL OOOOOOUUUUTTTT!!!!!!!

*Oklahoma stands up from the table in a huff, making sure to dump his entire plate of food on the floor in the process before leaving the house and the other seven schools behind.*

TEXAS: Kansas, can you clean this up?

KANSAS: Why do I have to do it?

TEXAS: Do you really want me to answer that question?

KANSAS: Fiiiineeee…

*Kansas gets on the floor and starts cleaning Oklahoma’s mess.*

TEXAS TECH: Uh… Boss… 

*Texas looks over to see Baylor stroking Texas Tech’s arm in a creepy manner. An empty mason jar sits in front of them.*

TEXAS: Are you serious, West Virginia?

WEST VIRGINIA: What?! There’s a lot going on here. I got distracted and he might have snuck a bottle under the table. I mean, how do you not get distracted with this dumpster fire going on?

IOWA STATE: Don’t you mean couch fire?

*Iowa State laughs alone and holds up a hand looking for a high-five, but TCU just shakes his head in a disapproving manner.*

TEXAS: You are going to get that creep out of my house right this second, West Virginia, or I’m sending your asses back to the Big East.

*West Virginia’s eyes widen, the thought of football irrelevance crippling them with anxiety. They stand up from the table and grab Baylor’s arm.*

WEST VIRGINIA: C’mon, Baylor.

BAYLOR (slurring their words): Is Tech coming?

WEST VIRGINIA: Uh… Yes, Tech is coming.

TEXAS TECH: What? No I’m not!

*West Virginia shoots Texas Tech a look and tilts his head toward the door. Tech looks toward Texas, who is chugging a beer to wash down aspirin.*

TEXAS: Just get Baylor out of here before he does something embarrassing — or even worse, illegal.

BAYLOR (still slurring): Oh, don’t worry, I’m great with the cops.

TCU: Oh, we know.

TEXAS: Tech, just take Baylor out of here.

TEXAS TECH: But, boss, please…

TEXAS: Tech, don’t make me say it again!

TEXAS TECH: Shouldn’t TCU have to come, too? I mean, us Southwest Conference schools stick together after all…

*TCU stares at Texas Tech in disbelief.*

TCU: Stick together?! STICK TOGETHER?! You guys made me shuttle around from the WAC to the C-USA then to the Mountain West for 20 years!! The only reason you guys let me back in is you knew you could boss me around and I wouldn’t do anything about it like Nebraska tried to do, but I’m done with it. I’m going to stand up for myself!

*There is an awkward pause after TCU’s speech.*

IOWA STATE: Well… We’re waiting?

TCU (surprised): Oh, wait, you want me to do it right now? I… I haven’t prepared anything.

TEXAS: Alright, I’ve seen enough. Tech, TCU and West Virginia, pick Baylor up right now before he passes out on my floor and get him out of here. Someone needs to hold him accountable for his bad choices and it isn’t going to be me.

*The three schools stand up from the table and start pulling Baylor out of his chair. Baylor comes more easily than expected once realizing Tech is coming with them.*

TEXAS: Make sure he doesn’t throw up on my carpet. Oklahoma State already did that enough and Kansas State isn’t here to clean it.

TCU (talking to nobody in particular while leaving): I can’t believe I froze up like that. I have been doing everything to be more intimidating. I even hired basketball’s mob boss, Jamie Dixon.

KANSAS: Yeah, and look how that’s worked out for you on the court!

*Kansas laughs alone, looking around for approval at their joke. Nobody gives them any. Texas lets out a deep sigh.*

TEXAS: You might as well just go with them, Kansas. This dinner is already ruined.

KANSAS: Yeah, I need to meet up with someone anyway. Bill told me to go to a parking lot and take an Adidas shoebox from a guy in a sweatsuit. I don’t know why, but he gave me $100 after I dropped it off so it must be important.

*Kansas walks out of the room and heads out the front door with the other four schools. Iowa State and Texas are the only ones left. Iowa State sits twiddling his thumbs, clearly aware of how awkward the moment is. Texas breaks into tears.*

TEXAS (through very sloppy and snot filled tears): Just, once, I want someone to appreciate me and all the work that I do. I mean, I worked so hard to get you all to make this the best Thanksgiving possible. It is just so unfair that I am treated this way. I tell you guys to do everything for me and what do I get in return? Nothing.

*Iowa State stands up from the table. There is a pause.*

IOWA STATE: The apology will come on Monday.

*Texas looks up in disbelief, still crying, but it has slowed. Iowa State starts to head for the door.*

IOWA STATE: Oh, one more thing, we’re still on for 11 tomorrow, right?

*Texas doesn’t say anything.*

IOWA STATE: Okay, great! Looking forward to it. See you then.

*Iowa State leaves. Texas is left alone to enjoy the Thanksgiving meal everyone else prepared.*

Jared Stansbury

administrator

Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.