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A slice of bacon: A tale of two cities

Shane Bacon
sports writer
By Shane Bacon
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
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The initial thought you get when you decide to pursue your education at a fine institution like the UA is that you are, for the first time, given free reign to do pretty much whatever you want.

You can drink on a Sunday night, you can get a job at Greasy Tony’s if you feel the need or you can take those random trips over the weekend that rack up miles and memories.

Over the weekend, for my (I’m shaking as I type this) 22nd birthday, two of my best friends and I buckled into my Chevrolet Trailblazer and headed east to College Station, Texas.

For the weekend, to throw in a Robert Earl Keen quote, “We was Aggies,” and enjoyed the hospitality of some of my best friends from home in the cozy confines of Texas A&M.

So which is better? College Station or Tucson? Pounding Lone Star beer or the occasional Keystone?

The drive

From Tucson, we left and encountered miles of desert and cactus, The Thing and the occasional Border Patrol stop. To say that Deming, N.M., is the most exciting thing in between Tucson and El Paso, Texas, is like saying Bill Wennington was your favorite basketball player.

Approaching College Station, we drove through Fredericksburg, Texas, “one of the most popular destinations in Texas for Texans,” according to the city’s Chamber of Commerce Web site.

We pushed through Austin and had to take a detour that put us on a random two-lane country road, where we encountered a tractor heading the opposite direction. My friend Julene, a California resident, said with a smile, “This is what I pictured Texas to be.”

Advantage — College Station

The friends

My Tucson friends include a person we call “Scrambler,” three people who actually deliver this newspaper to the stand, a cute little girl from Burlingame, a Los Angeles basketball buddy I call Tony, Sweet Willy and Catfish Justin from Texas, my big Jewish bundle of love in Skylar, a French Canadian, a guy we call Ry-Ry, and people from the East Coast, Minnesota, New Orleans and Atlanta.

My College Station buddies include guys named Chuck, Rusty and Trapper. Rusty’s middle name is actually Hunter, just to make it more interesting.

Advantage — push (really saved face with that last call)

Yard art

In typical Tucson backyards, it would be criminal to not have a painted beer-pong table or the random red cup under that nasty bush or sticky cactus. Even in my backyard, we make the beer-pong table less lonely with washer boards, horseshoe stakes and a punching bag.

In my buddy’s College Station backyard, they have duck decoys, a dead deer on ice, about 30 coolers, an airboat propeller, a hammock, a homemade shed, toolboxes, shotgun shells and signs for unwanted intruders that say, “We shoot back.”

Advantage — College Station

Football teams

In Tucson, it is tough to root for a team you have never seen have a successful year. Nonetheless, we stole a Big 12 Conference coach in Mike Stoops and brought him scratching and clawing into a system that has shown potential at times, but still stands to be in the bottom tier of the Pacific 10 Conference.

Our fans are good but still leave before the game is over with that “told you so” thought in their heads.

In College Station, it starts and ends with the pigskin. They have the Midnight Yell before home games, people camping out for the big annual showdown against the Longhorns with the 12th Man, possibly the most dedicated fan idea in sports today.

Even when the team struggles, like this year, people still go Maroon Out to the game and chant along with the Yell Leaders. The fact that I have capitalized so many things that shouldn’t be in the past two sentences shows which city has more football tradition.

Advantage — College Station

The bars

In Tucson, you can skip around to a few bars, all packed on Thursdays and all comfortably in proximity to most student housing.

You can get your beak in the bucket at Bisonwitches, head over to O’Malleys, limp to The Shanty, take a taxi to Trident, do the watermelon crawl over to Dirtbag’s and then hit the hay before the sun comes up.

In College Station, the bar scene was much the same, with most of our time spent at the Dixie Chicken, one of the most famous bars in Texas.

The Chicken is fun, with dominoes and pool around every corner, but the selection after that isn’t nearly what you will find in Tucson.

Like my buddy Chris, who goes to Texas, said, “I have more bar numbers in my cell phone than College Station has in all of Northgate.”

Advantage — Tucson

So there you have it. Five days, 2,116 miles and two stops at Taco Cabana later, my consensus still lies deep in the heart of Texas.

Shane Bacon is a journalism senior. He can be reached at

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