Real talk, last week I was excited to wear my UT sundress and cowgirl boots. It was Labor Day weekend, and no part of me thought I would get into THE opening football game: University of Texas vs. Notre Dame. Amidst the Austin tailgates, I couldn’t wait to surf the sea of burnt orange, smell the BBQ and hear the roar from the stadium.
Weekend visitors hit record highs. I met people from Chicago, Boston and beyond. On Saturday, I became buddies with a friend’s coworkers. On Sunday we met up at the Scholz Garten tailgate and our conversation went like this:
“Are you going to the game?” asked Don.
“Oh, I wish. I don’t have a ticket, but I’m excited to watch,” I answered.
“We have an extra one. Be our guest. Please, I insist.”
Just like that, Don insisted and I was inside Darrell K. Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium beside three out-of-town “Fighting Irish”. I couldn’t believe they chose me. For me, the game isn’t about knowing all the plays and the scoring intricacies. Before we could talk, my twin sister and I made the “longhorns” with our hands.
When we were older, I remember stepping out of night games and admiring the sidewalks’ sparkling limestone. It felt magical.
Our childhood Austin days felt pure and uncomplicated. Sadly, as I got older, my Dad’s chronic pain took more of a toll. I hold those UT games as memory trophies. I can’t remember wins or losses. I easily recall warm feelings of being with my family. These Fighting Irish couldn’t know that I equate UT games to comforting possibility, they just knew they had an extra ticket.
Similarly, two years ago, a set of UT tickets carried weight. A woman in Starbucks gave me tickets after the same question— “You going to the game?” Like Don couldn’t know my family ties to UT, there’s no way she’d know about my recently broken heart. Those gifted tickets felt like a rescuing moment. I’ll never forget her kindness.
Two years later, I definitely don’t need rescuing. However, I do need to start a conversation about instinctual invitations. There is something almost magical about the right invite at the right time—way more than just filling a seat. Correct? For me, generous and timely gifts can feel like a divine embrace. I’d like to know when someone invited “you to the game”? Maybe it was a lawn concert, dinner, ballet or the theater. What was a time in your life where a simple invitation made a difference?
This conversation reminds me, however, that there are certain invitations that can feel vulnerable to offer. If you have examples of those, I would love to hear them too.
To play off Brave Tutu’s mission statement, it CAN take courage to delight; to reach out. Do you have stories when you felt compelled to reach out without exactly knowing why? Perhaps you discovered an impact? Or like the Starbucks lady, perhaps you’ll never know the difference made.
To me, this sense of “inviting someone to the game” feels like powerful information. However, I’m not sure what to do with it. Please share your stories, questions and ideas.
I invite you.
Your Brave Tutu (You’re Brave Too-Too)