Taking the Field

SMU quarterback trades in his cleats for a bass guitar, and we've got our eye on the ball

Spurred on by the July 23 announcement by SMU QB Kelan Luker that he is quitting school, and hence, the football squad, to play bass full time for his band, Submersed, we also have an announcement to make. As of August 1, we are leaving our post as Dallas Observer music editor to pursue our own dream: starting QB for the SMU Mustangs.

Luker's exit, provoked by Submersed's recent decision to sign with Wind-up Records (joining local boys Drowning Pool and fellow new signees Stereo Fuse, along with WWJD rockers Creed), leaves SMU with two redshirt freshman chuckers who've yet to take a snap in a college game: Tate Wallis and Richard Bartel. Which is perfect, since we haven't either. Gotta like a level playing field. Of course, we've never taken a snap in anything other than the odd two-below game in our parents' front yard, but as we recall, we were pretty freaking good. Think Randall Cunningham, except whiter, slower and more prone to bleeding from the mouth. (Actually, that sounds more like Babe Laufenberg.)

Besides, it's not like Luker was Troy Aikman or anything, though his blank, dull stare is a dead ringer. (They both look like they're trying to add fractions in their heads.) He finished his abbreviated career at SMU with pretty weak stats: 76-for-167 passing for 786 yards, three touchdowns and seven interceptions in two seasons. Not sure about the TDs, but hey, we know we can throw at least that many interceptions. Given our weak vision and aversion to contact, we just try to hit the open man, no matter what team he's playing for. And if we ever do come through with a touchdown, we've worked up a pretty sweet end zone dance. It's called The Typewriter and, well, you'll just have to see it to understand.

We know SMU coach Phil Bennett might not be willing to welcome us with open arms, but let's face it, the two guys ahead of us on the depth chart are scrubs. Rag arms. Bennett has no choice; he needs us like Tom Hicks needs his morning lithium. And no one loves SMU more than us. When we were growing up in West, we had a Mustangs sticker on the back of our 1979 Malibu Classic. We suffered when the NCAA decided to use the death penalty on the team in the late 1980s, forgoing watching football on the tube for a full year so we could hurt right alongside them. We even attended Dave Bliss' basketball camp a decade or so ago, so we could be more like Kato Armstrong and Carlton Bailey (minus the Jheri-curl, of course). We couldn't afford to go to college there, but hey, why quibble? This is our chance. We've been redshirting for years. Time to get in the game.

To prepare for our journey from desk jockey to human tackling dummy, we've been going to Doug's Gym on Commerce Street three days a week, under the supervision of our 71-year-old trainer, Doug Eidd. We've cut down our drinking to four days a week and limited it strictly to bourbon. We're still smoking a pack a day, but we switched to lights and, after all, one pack is less than two. Every morning, we get up, throw footballs through a tire in the back yard until our arm hurts (we're up to 10!), then sit down with the playbook until we have to go to work. Now that we've figured out which side is X's and which side is O's, we've memorized two plays completely and are halfway there on a third.

It's been a good run these last five years. We're going to miss Shackleford Brown, Zac Maloy, Jay Quinn, Fair to Midland, Jibe, Alligator Dave and the Couch Band, InBoX, Undeniable, Edgewater and all the other great bands that made our time here so special. But we can't stick around, wondering what could have been. While coming up with clever ways to tell bands they suck and/or blow is still as much fun as it used to be, it's not where our heart is anymore. For the past few weeks, our dream journal has been crammed with images from Gerald J. Ford Stadium, and only a few of them involve stretchers and our parents weeping. We want to thank everyone in advance for supporting and respecting our decision and encourage each and every one of you to come over to Ford Stadium to cheer us on. We're going to need it. And we'd like to send a special word of thanks to Kelan Luker for helping this opportunity come about. We definitely couldn't have done it without you.

 
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