Recently I was called out on it, and initially I drew a blank.
But then I thought to myself...I had a hell of a lot of fun as a Scorpion. I should be able to talk about a lot of things.
"But, Eagleheart, it's BROWNSVILLE!"
Yeah, I know.
However, being how I believe Brownsville IS the college and the college IS Brownsville, I have an entire city from where I can draw ideas about 'fun things to do as a Scorpion.'
Being a commuter school offers us a series of advantages and disadvantages when compared to our elder and uglier sister in Edinburg. (Yeah, I said it.) There's still a lot of fun things to do as a Scorpion. Sure, we may not be perfect, but we're a damned sight better than other universities.
I am adding the 'downside' to things in order to keep some objectivity.
1. Residential/Student Life
Cons: Our full-time resident population is pretty low, so we don't get to have the OMGAWESOMEPARTIES that may be prevalent at other universities. (Compare UH - commuter school, with Texas A&M College Station). Age/gender disparity is also an issue, as the average UTB/TSC student is a woman in her mid-twenties.
I remember that throughout my three and a half years at the University, I was always the youngest, or among the youngest in my class, no matter if I was 18, 19, 20, 21, or 22.
Pros: Given that our dorms used to be a flippin' hotel, they're bigger.
That's one bit.
We may not have the vibrant residential life seen in other schools, owing to the smaller numbers of residents, BUT we make up for it by turning other houses in town into party places. I think it is written somewhere that "When two or more Scorpions are gathered in my midst, there is a party."
Cons: It's Brownsville. It's hot, there's no [insert hipster thrift store / forever 21 / barnes and noble / games workshop / random store in Austin or Houston ], if you can't speak a lick of Spanish you can't get anywhere, and people value football as they value religion.
Pros: Because of our university and our unique position in the border, we have a large city. We're the crown jewel of the Rio Grande Valley. And Scorpions are a big part of it.
See, without our university, we wouldn't have people needing to destress locally.
Let's face it...there's majors in campus that give you a good reason to need an outlet for pent-up frustrations.
Unlike Austin, people born here have a fair shot at being Scorpions.
Unlike Houston, everything's accessible.
If I have a tough week at school, I'd like to be able to have places to release pent-up frustrations The bar scene in Brownsville is great, if you'll excuse the occasional fight. There's karaoke night at Bennigans, live music for decent prices at The Bar, hike along the bike paths, play pick-up games at Morningside, Lincoln, or Brownsville Sports Park, go out to eat at any of our fine dining establishments (being so close to the border lets us have REAL tacos), for more intellectual pursuits we've got an ass-load of museums, a playhouse, a strong [albeit hidden] support for the arts, 2 battlefields, and for those so-inclined, endless opportunities to hone chess skills.
The city is quite literally your playground, Scorpions.
Any other city in the valley, you'd be like...uh, so what do we do now?
Brownsville and McAllen are the only cities in the RGV where the "What's there to do?" lists aren't topped by "1. - go to South Padre"
Cons: Football dominates Valley and Brownsville life.
Pros: Association football [soccer] is a rising force. I mean it. If you get a chance to catch the Scorpions play at the REK Center field, do so. If it's a weekend game you'll see slightly-mitigated passion, but it'll be reminiscent of watching a game at any big-name stadium in the north.
Minus the urine-filled ziplocks thrown at the referee.
I was particularly entertained by Porter High School's Barra, a group of Porter HS graduates studying at UTB/TSC who turned out for several games with drums and combined with the existing REK-Center cheering squad.
In my articles, I began to label them the Scorpion Ultras, and they were always there at the games, with orange and blue-painted faces and apparel, for both men's and women's soccer teams. These are people that just make you WANT to be a Scorpion.
Then there's of course, the Premier Development League's Rio Grande Valley Bravos, with four Scorpions on their roster, now. Hell, it's not MLS but I'd rather watch a bunch of lower-division kids play amateur football than watch "Real" Salt Lake and New York Red Bull play grabass with each other.
Then there's the futbol rapido leagues played off in 511 by the airport. If you get a chance and don't mind the mosquitoes, those games (a number of Scorpions play in that league) are quite fun to watch, too.
But back to the university.
We've got a kickass volleyball team and our baseball team is no longer the mediocre team it was a few years ago.
Sure, you're thinking that since we don't play in the NCAA Division I, we're kinda shitty.
Well, no. We play in the NAIA, which is, competitively, between NCAA Division II and III.
And in our conference, we're dominant.
I'd much rather reign in hell than serve in heaven, if you catch my drift.
I'll give you that in 2009 we caught beatings from U. New Mexico and UT-Pan Am's baseball teams. But when it came time for soccer and volleyball, we slaughtered NCAA division I and II rivals in soccer and volleyball. My favorites were the women's soccer team routing Texas Southern University (3-1 at the REK Field and 5-1 on the road) and the volleyball team consuming UTPA at their own fieldhouse.
And the men's soccer team, well...I've seen them deal 12-0 beatings on other RRAC teams.
Life is as fun as you make it. "There's nothing to do" is a shit excuse.
If you're stuck here and waiting to CAP out to UT or a bigger school, keep your foot on the ground and enjoy it here while your time is out. It sucks sometimes, yeah, but everything's got its ups and downs. There are no perfect universities.
If you were off at a fancier school and came back for X reason, welcome back and we hope you'll enjoy your stay. I would suggest remember your old school fondly (or not so fondly if you got out because they screwed you over), but don't take it out on UTB/TSC. Our colleges are different, and every experience is different than the rest. So we're sorry you're not going to get to do a ring dunk, but hey, with time, you can build your own tradition.
Being a Scorpion is fun, and if it isn't to you, you have to MAKE it fun.
People will give you shit for it, definitely, as there are some of you out there who've been given flak by people who went to other "big-name" schools. Tell them to fuck off. A diploma from a prestigious university might get open doors for you, but it won't hold 'em open. You will do that by yourself.
I'm going to paraphrase the Boondock Saints now.
Once you hold those doors open, you shouldn't ask yourself how far can you go.
Ask yourself if you possess the constitution, the depth of faith, to go as far as is needed.
Doesn't get any funner than that.
Sting 'em hard!
In the upcoming issue of the Rio Grande Leviathan, I will analyze the UTB/TSC Board of Trustees race.
Will I back the administration candidates/incumbents, or will I take sides with the populist challengers?