Pause with me for a moment. Can you remember what your first impression of Lubbock was? Maybe you came here from far away states like California or New Jersey. Perhaps you came from the other side of this massive state from cities like Dallas or San Antonio. Wherever your origin, wherever you are now, my assumption of why you’re reading this article is because you’ve been through Lubbock long enough for it to hang its hat in your heart. As a resident of Lubbock for almost seven years now, I’ve seen it grow and expand in ways never thought possible ten years ago—and the beating heart of it all is Texas Tech.
AN OASIS IN THE DESERT
The second half of that statement is all most of us considered Lubbock the first time we noticed it. Dry. Desolate. Plain. Flat. Nobody will argue you that a desert is one of the most unforgiving places on the planet. Blistering heat in the day dramatically shifting to bitter cold when the sun goes down; there is nothing to enjoy about its hostile landscape. Yet the tried and true idiom of “never judge a book by its cover” stands firm. Despite these conditions Lubbock and Texas Tech have made this desert their home.
It isn’t home for everybody, though, I will admit it. One real estate blog topped off their list of top 10 most boring cities in America with Lubbock. Citing reasons such as: lacking culture, music venues, “non-fast food” dining and nightlife. If you have been here since 2013, you also will remember Lubbock won the Weather Channel’s Toughest Weather City Tournament. For perspective, Lubbock beat out Fairbanks, Alaska (a place, may I mention experiences negative sixty-six degree temperatures!). Like a wise... not so old guy at a mountain shop somewhere in Colorado once told me, “nothing worth doing is easy.” It is because of that exact reality that Lubbock has strengthened as a community over time. The people of Lubbock can be considered xerocole, which is a name for an animal that has adapted to live in the desert. We’ve pushed through the gale force winds, we’ve hid as haboobs covered our lands, and we’ve persevered as winter has tried to freeze us out.
What remains is our fighting spirit. The desert doesn’t give gifts so the people of Lubbock, the fans of Texas Tech, have always had to make due by rolling up their sleeves and making it happen themselves. When they stop doing that the city stops thriving. So, yes, you caught me. I’m asking the people of Lubbock, the fans of Texas Tech, to come out and prove that we still have our fighting identity. I don’t care if we have a football team that hasn’t met your expectations, I don’t even care where you stand on Coach Kingsbury’s future position as head coach - I care that you would give up on our identity.
A lack of water and lack of vegetation does not scare you. You have been here before. You know what it means to go without for a while, holding out for an oasis. You have realized that fighting the desert is fruitless, and have learned to live with the desert. This is what makes us Lubbock, what makes us undesirable, what makes us unique. Other college towns are surrounded by distractions. Empty entertainment promising a fulfillment that they long for in their heart, but in the end doesn’t fulfill them. In the end they have to keep going back again and again, telling themselves that it will be enough. They’re soft and won’t survive the desert, but you will.
So let our conference rivals talk poor about us. Let bloggers from Virginia try to explain why Lubbock is the most boring city in America. They’ll never understand what it means to live here, to mature here. And whether or not you stay here for the duration or leave to explore broader horizons - Lubbock, and Texas Tech, will always be in your heart.