Tuesday, January 22, 2008

R.I.P. Rooster

Sometimes my mom forgets that I'm two hours behind her. Today was one of those days. My phone started playing the Eyes of Texas at 5:15 am. Her message? Rooster Andrews had died and she just thought I'd like to know. She knows of my fondness of Rooster. I talked him maybe 8 times in my life, all while a student. Through all the perks of being involved with the athletic department (and having DeLoss's email address), from free tickets to a national championship ring, one of the greatest perks I got was meeting Rooster Andrews. He was one of the few adults I've met that I was taller than. And from the minute I first met him it seemed like I'd known him all my life. He always approached me first. Always wanted to know how I was doing. Always remembered my name - except once. One time, at a memorial service for professor Don Phelps, who was head of the athletics council, Rooster approached me like always, but called me Heather. I didn't bother correct him - he knew and met way too many people for me to bother him with forgetting my name once. So we chatted for 10 minutes or so and moved on. On my way back to work, my phone rang from a random number. I answered and on the other end was Rooster. He called to apologize for calling me by the wrong name. Here we were, this, at the time, 80 year old man, who over the course of decades of being a face for UT athletics, met people at the university, in his stores, at meetings, at games and at functions, got my name wrong and felt so bad about it that he tracked down my cell phone number from someone in the athletics office so he could call and apologize. I was extremely impressed and from that point on had an extreme fondness for Rooster. He was a great man, and showed me that personally from the little time I was blessed with his company. He was a great face for UT athletics and the story of him drop kicking extra points is one I will tell my kids, wishing I had seen it. Hook 'em Rooster.

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