If there is one immutable law about the Houston sports fans, it's that we love our football. Football intrigues us unconditionally. Like pizza and sex, even bad football will get consumed (or consummated, as it were). See: Sellouts, Consecutive, Reliant.
So even coming off a 6-10 season, when the Texans tee it up for their ninth annual Houston Texans Charity Golf Classic on May 9, I would imagine the charitable souls who carved out a Monday afternoon to play golf and benefit the Houston Texans YMCA, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston and the Houston Food Bank would still be fired up to play golf with their favorite (or even not so favorite) Houston Texan players.
Unfortunately, the owners have literally and figuratively banned the players from the building, and the ban extends to charitable endeavors such as this one.
In years past, you'd get a nice mix of the really high-profile Texans (Matt Schaub, Owen Daniels) to the "guys you'd want in your foursome if you were trying to win" (Dan Orlovsky, who is a stud golfer) to the "guys you'd want to ride in a golf cart with for 18 holes if beer were involved" (David Anderson). Not every foursome was guaranteed a player, but at least several would get one.
Now this year, with the current players locked out, the Texans will fill the 27 foursomes with a mishmosh of coaches, front office people and "ambassadors" (code for "Casserly/Capers Era Texans"). Unless they completely empty the Rolodex of former players, I'm struggling to come up with 27 people who work for the Texans that would make me feel like I just played a "special" 18 holes, enough to where spending a "charitable donation" amount feels right.
(That said, allow me to caveat that the people playing in this event are probably kinder souls than I am, and they're okay just "giving a little something back," regardless of who is in their foursome. Me, I'm a much pickier consumer, even when it's charitable. Yeah, I'm a bit of an asshole. Go ahead, say it!)
So in years past, if you played in this tournament, there was a good chance you got to ride around on the golf cart with, say, Matt Schaub and hear firsthand about his quarterback sneak against the Dolphins to win the game or what exactly went through his head when Gary Kubiak called a halfback pass against the Jaguars. Cool stuff, even if it does conjure up some bad memories.
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Now, there's a decent chance that, BEST case, you'll wind up with an assistant coach regaling you with stories of timing the shuttle run at pro days and screaming down his linemen during the "Oklahoma" drill. In short, the tournament has far less star power now.
I would imagine if a friend asked you to play in it, your initial reaction would be "Holy shit! I'm playing golf with the Texans!" and then you'd get there, see no current players, and it'd be a bit of a buzz kill -- kind of like a friend telling you, "Hey man, we're having dinner with a Baseball Hall of Famer!" then getting there and finding out that it's Milo Hamilton.
So when we hear the sad stories about the victims of the lockout, say a prayer and pour out a forty for the charitable golfers this Monday, who last year played in a foursome with wide receiver Kevin Walter and are now, this year, playing with "Gus from accounting."
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from noon to 3 p.m. weekdays and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.