The Calm Before the Storm

The anticipation is growing. The excitement is in the air. Baylor's season opener is just days away.

Entering through the west side of the stadium parking lot on Wednesday afternoon, there was a calm about the surroundings. The Baylor flags blew slightly in the breeze. The Texas flag the same. The sensation; the calm before the storm.

On Sunday afternoon, the Baylor Bears will begin the 2006 football season in a familiar place. Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, Texas has been home for the Bears since 1950, but this year there is something different about Baylor's home stadium. Entering the west side, two large banners immediatley grab the attention of even the most casual passerby. Banners of legendary Baylor football coach Grant Teaff and Hall of Famer and former Baylor Bear Mike Singletary hang from the stadium.

Walking around the stadium, the sound of work trucks and workers echo from the confines of Baylor's homefield as the final preparations are made for the season opener. The legendary bowl championship teams, along with twenty-four other Baylor football legends' banners bring the spirit of Baylor's football tradition back to life. One cannot help but marvel at the changes and overall appearance of Floyd Casey Stadium.

Perhaps, in a season in which Baylor University will honor its football greats of the past during the team's first game, one will not be able to help but marvel at the changes and overall appearance of Baylor's football team.

Walking into the stadium, it is quiet except for the sounds of hammers and drills that fade in the slight breeze. An empty stadium concourse will soon be filled with thousands of fans eager to see what the new season has in store. Soon, the stadium will be entered by many; the youthful faces that have faith in their school's team; the Baylor faithful that are able to remember their youth. All will come together to share one common interest, one common bond, a common fabric woven among them.

Walking up the ramp, the sun's rays shine brightly on the empty stadium. A slow gaze at the field from endzone to endzone, standing in the sun, in the confines of the new-look Floyd Casey Stadium. The lights of the scoreboard are off, but soon the countdown to kick-off clock will slowly approach zeroes. The sounds of the band's drums, and the feeling of anticpation will shortly fill the afternoon air. But for now, a calm. A silence that, even in it's common mid-week stadium form, somehow creates an excitement for any fan of the game. A silence that will soon be broken by the spectators that fill the seats, the coaches that roam the sidelines, and the players that leave it all on the field.

One last look before turning back around. One last look at the place, the place that will be home to seven of Baylor's twelve games this season. One last look before the Baylor Bears defend their home turf against the Horned Frogs of TCU. One last look before the season begins. A season that has many Baylor fans hoping they will never have to look back again.

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