“Construction, Texas” otherwise known as Highway 290, was bumper-to-bumper last Sunday as thousands of HBCU cousins headed towards that great metropolis of Prairie View for the 2016 version of the Labor Day Classic. The skies were gray as weather warnings of potential downpours sought to dampen the enthusiasm of these “black college kinfolk” from Texas Southern University and THE Prairie View A&M University to no avail.
Lines of automobiles extended from the Bucees in Waller all the way to Sandra Bland Parkway. Weary travelers had their patience tested as hundreds of cars crept down University Drive at a snail’s pace in efforts to find suitable parking. Snarling parking attendants and irritated police officers made sure that everything remained orderly despite the humid temperatures and sweaty armpits of a September solace. Football season was in full effect…
The aroma of barbeque and turkey legs summoned the masses towards the crown jewel of Waller County and HBCUville; PVAMU’s brand new Panther Stadium Complex. Driving towards the facility you couldn’t help but notice the homecoming atmosphere and dozens of Winnebagos parked alongside the Hobart Taylor Building. There, hundreds of fans from both universities, sang and danced their way into a pre-game fervor rivaling the Super Bowl. It was just a great time had by all.
The game turned out to be an exciting one as PVAMU came from behind and defeated the Tigers 29-25. But, that’s only half the story. Two rain delays totaling nearly 3 hours and lightning strikes in the area made fans scurry for cover. Metal bleachers and lightning is a dangerous mix; therefore, safety was of the utmost concern and importance. I guess God wanted us to put football on hold for a little while so we could truly admire what he has blessed US with. If you don’t quite understand what I’m saying, let me explain…
Although both PVAMU and TSU are bitter rivals, we are still members of the HBCU Family. Even closer than that are some of the associations of faculty and staff from both schools. This is how close we are:
- TSU Athletic Director, Dr. Charles McClelland is a PVAMU graduate and former Athletic Director. He was a major piece in the Panther’s football turnaround as well as the entire athletic department.
- Sharon Thibodeaux, who is also a former Panther working at TSU has helped thousands of families and students with valuable financial aid information and instruction. “Miss Thib” is and has always been the ultimate professional and friend to both universities.
- Stefann Robinson, an Alcorn State grad, worked at PVAMU for many years by helping and mentoring students to adjust to college life and opportunities.
Many people from both universities have undergraduate and/or graduate degrees from each school, therefore, when I mention that the Labor Day Classic is a HBCU Family Affair, many people can attest to exactly what I’m saying. The rivalries are real and both schools talk a lot of crap. But, we always root for one another when we’re not competing against each other. That’s what real families do.
Many of the TSU faithful applauded us (Panthers) on our new digs. I think they are really happy for us. The PVAMU faithful will like to extend a hearty welcome to our other HBCU family members, too. Come on down, have a good time, and dine with us. Right after we whup y’alls asses…
God bless, goodnight, and keep yo families together.