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Some Dome Luck

Astrodome's future has me thinking fondly of its past
Written by , published August 28, 2014

AstrodomeHouston’s Astrodome may sit abandoned and seemingly unwanted, but many kept sight of the iconic dome’s value and have worked tirelessly to see it be given a chance for a new life.

After successful efforts to have the dome listed on the National Register of Historic Places, demolition plans have been squashed and, just this week, there are talks of turning it into a unique indoor city park. Of course, the devil is in the details, but that’s where it’s at now. The possibility exists. Time will tell.

When the Astrodome opened, it was a state-of-the-art multipurpose event center. It was the first of its kind in the world, and nicknamed the Eighth Wonder of the World. Houston was very proud of this stadium. The Houston Astros initiated the home field by winning their game against the New York Yankees. The Houston Oilers’ fans filled the dome with cheers.

For me, the Astrodome, simply had a sweet spot in my heart.

Growing up in Houston, the Astrodome was many things to me, besides a cutting-edge fixture and notable sight on the city’s landscape. It was where only fun things happened. That was the place where I’d get to see the circus or concerts and Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo performers like Sonny and Cher (yes, dating myself). I remember they introduced their then-daughter, Chastity. I remember being young (and annoying) enough to throw a fit for not getting to see Olivia Newton-John the following day.

As an adult, I bought tickets for my family to see Selena Quintanilla perform to a record-breaking audience here, in what would be her last concert.

Sometimes, we parked in the dome’s lot and crossed a footbridge over Loop 610 for a long day at Astroworld amusement park (Hello, Marvel McVeigh!).

But somewhere in between that time – the late '70s/early '80s mostly – were my most fond memories of the Astrodome. I got to enjoy my admittedly short spell of football fandom. That is no slight on the Houston Astros, but like just about every soul in Houston at the time, I LOVED the Houston Oilers NFL team. I LOVED their coach Bum Phillips. I LOVED star player Earl Campbell and, well, we all just couldn’t help but wear the team colors and shout “We Luv Ya Blue!” The city was amazingly united on the “Columbian blue” front.

And we sang “Luv Ya Blue” off the top of our lungs regularly. Probably in our sleep, too. It was sung to the tune of The Beatles’ “Love me Do.”

Luv, luv ya blue

You know we love you

We’ll always be true

Cuz we-eeee-eeeeee

LUV YA BLUE!!”

 

And we only stopped singing that to make room for songs like the Houston Oilers theme song:

Houston has the Oilers,

The greatest football team.

They’ll take the ball from goal to goal

Like no one’s ever seen.

They’re in the air; they’re on the ground

and always in control,

Cuz when you say the Oilers,

You’re talking Super Bowl,

Cuz we’re the

Houston Oilers!

Houston Oilers!

Houston Oilers No. 1…”

We also had other songs, usually spawned overnight in response to the last game, like this one after we lost a game to a bad referee call (yes, it was a bad call!)

To the Tune of Patsy Cline’s “I’m Sorry.” :

I’m sorry, so sorry

that you were such a fool.

We had possession, so who taught you the rules,

(Woe-oo-oo-ooooo) we luv you blue …

 

Or when Oilers owner Bud Adams fired our beloved Bum Phillips (To the tune of Anne Murray’s “You Needed Me.”:

“…That cowboy hat

that looks so good on you

and makes us proud

to be from Texas, too.

There never was,

There never will be one,

Like you who loved us

When we lost and when

We won

You’re still No. 1

We love you Bum.

 

And I can’t believe its true

that they did this to you…”

That was a beautiful time in Houston history, and again, a rare moment of getting me all riled up in the sport … or any sport, for that matter. But the team was a community unifier like no other, and the Astrodome, well … it was just “home.” The Mother Ship.

When Hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana, many, many years later, I returned to Houston and spent much time in the dilapidated Astrodome, which became a shelter for the masses. I was seeing it in a different light as I volunteered to help storm evacuees with their clothing needs. My eyes and heart were on the task at hand, but it was impossible for me not to hear the echoes of the game – of exciting gridiron plays and the cheers of the zealous fans.

The dome was worn and not in her best form, but once again, she served her city and the people. I personally, would like to think she’s earned her keep.

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