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Editorial: If You’re Gonna Play In Texas…

Nolan Schmidt unpacks his Frisco memories and what it meant to cover the FCS national championship for the first time.

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Photo By Hillary Ehlen

This year, I took my first trip to the state of Texas. Up until now, I was limited to my couch to take in North Dakota State’s six other FCS titles. Because of that, I always asked myself a famous line uttered by a certain cartoon starfish to a certain Texan squirrel:

 

What’s so great about dumb ol’ Texas?

I had friends, family and co-workers returning from the Lone Star state raving about that place. What was so special about it? Why were people returning to Fargo in a state of Southern euphoria? Sure, it helps that the Bison win in Texas, but there has to be more to it. I mean, did people have this same kind of jubilation when returning from Florence, Alabama, in the Division II days? Part of me says no. No offense to the state of Alabama.

Then I got down there for the first time to cover and experience my first national championship. That’s when I understood what was so great about Texas. It was the atmosphere and everything that makes the state what it is.

In part, it’s the food, from the savory barbecue at Rudy’s in Frisco to the chicken and waffles at Whiskey Cake in Plano, it touched all the right nerves and made me feel like I was home for some odd reason.

Then you have the history. I’ve never been more enamored with a museum than when I took in the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas. I minored in history in college and wrote a term paper on the assassination of John F. Kennedy, so it’s easy to understand why I was so interested. Anyway, there I was, standing in the exact spot where JFK was fatally shot or standing right above where Lee Harvey Oswald pulled the trigger (allegedly). That was an indescribable feeling.

The weather helps too. Sitting outside on the patio in January to have a beer is alright by me. For as much as I love Fargo, I cannot do that here. Also, Bison Nation, the next time you’re down in Texas, check out the Deep Ellum area of Dallas. An incredible area that reminds me a lot of Downtown Fargo.

Lastly, and most importantly, it’s the people. Texans are proud of their state and are as polite of folks as I’ve ever encountered. Almost as polite as the folks here in Fargo. When you ask people why they love Fargo, almost 95 percent of them will say “the people.” I firmly believe you could ask a Texan why they love their state and they’ll say “the people.” Perhaps that is why we refer to the state as “Fargo South” because that’s what it is.

There’s a reason why Fargoans and Bison fans from across the country flock to Frisco, Texas. It’s not just for the Bison, it’s for the experience. You are not just staying and watching a football game in Texas, you are EXPERIENCING Texas. For fans of North Dakota State football, a seventh national championship in seven trips to Frisco is just the cherry on top.

So, what’s so great about dumb ol’ Texas, you say? Well, to put it simply, the same things that make Fargo so great: the people, the experiences and the Bison.

It was my pleasure and privilege to be down there, covering this game and experience for this magazine. As I said in the beginning, this was my first trip to Frisco and it was one I will never forget. I can only hope I’m gushing about other Texas things at this time next year…

Editorial: If You’re Gonna Play In Texas…
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