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Horned Frog enthusiasm has fared poorly since our fabulous upset against Baylor. Believe me, I get it. I’d spent the better part of ten hours on Friday pressing buttons in an aptly named POS, asking any customer at Torchy’s Tacos if they’d prefer corn or flour with their order. Upon my liberation, I spent another four hours at my friend’s birthday party, at McFly’s Pub on Lt Lg Barnett Road, imbibing any libation sent my way.

So when the game came Saturday, my hangover seemed a misnomer; it was more a matter of the hair of Cujo, who had seemed to bury his fangs deep into my corpus callosum. At one point, during the nadir of my well-being, I found myself envying that poor bloke whose head simply exploded in Scanners. Needless to say, I was not of a mood to surround myself with the madding crowd, and, despite a generous offer of two tickets, I envisioned myself at a nice quiet bar, with a laptop open and a pint in hand.

Promptly at 3, I showed up at Showdown, also aptly named. For they had every college game in the NCAA on their multiple televisions except for that of TCU. I was puzzled. How was such a thing possible? The answer. ESPN+, which evidently could more accurately be labeled ESPN-, as the kindly gentleman beside me explained that hardly any sports bars had it. That meant a trip to the Carter was necessary.

Now, I’m a writer and taco slinger. This entails that I do not need face paint to wear a purple mask: all that is necessary is I check my bank account. And though I don’t know the precise cost of parking, I knew there was no way that if it was above a buck, I’d be willing to commit such a crime on my own finances.

So after parking somewhere slightly east of Weatherford, I walked to the Carter, and arrived with five minutes to go in the second quarter. We were down 14-7, but just like that, the second I took my seat, TCU quarterback Max Duggan landed a fabulous pass to Mikel Barkley, positioning us comfortably in scoring position (I flatter myself to think my presence had something to do with that). But just as we were prepared to invade the end zone, that ugly yellow flag spoiled the sky. The penalty: holding.

Now, I was with the impression that the piece I wrote for KillerFrogs last week had firmly implanted in the mind of every referee in the country the incontrovertibility of the Purple Rule: if the opposing team does it, it’s a penalty; if TCU does it, it ain’t. The referees at this particular game seemed not to have received that message.

Thus, the immediate need for this piece. Holding. Let’s consider the implications of that for a second. We can start by comparing the term “holding” with other football penalties (only a few of which I understand). Consider: “targeting,” “roughing the passer,” “chop block,” “clipping,” “helmet-to-helmet collision,” “block in the back,” “personal foul,” and “holding.” Which of these terms seems to have a different connotation than the others?

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I mean, “chop block” brings to mind a butcher wielding a blood-slinging knife into the flank of some animal. But holding? Why, we hold infants and lovers and husbands and wives. When we cuddle or dance, what are we doing? Holding. It’s the point of every love song ever written. And yet, throw some pads and a helmet on a fellow, and all of the sudden, this pleasant activity becomes an offense on par with “personal foul”—and let me ask you, dear reader, what images spring to mind when you contemplate that particular term?!

But holding? Why, surely a lineman could protest: I’m only holding this poor guy so my quarterback doesn’t run him right over. To this end, holding seems a humane intervention, of absolute necessity, preventing the carefully controlled violence of football from descending into chaos.

Back to those refs, in such dire need of conversion. My partner in crime, Barry Lewis, provided me a screen shot of a fellow Frog on some social media site, lamenting: “How the hell do these horrible refs miss that defensive holding? Have these a-holes even thrown a flag on Kansas?”

So it would seem my kindly note to refs everywhere struck the opposite note and the Purple Rule has been inverted, a travesty to Horned Frog fans everywhere.

Please, dear referees, allow me to restate the Purple Rule: if the OPPOSING team does it, it’s a penalty; if the HORNED FROGS do it, it ain’t.

And that’s the bottom line.

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