(May 24, 2011)--With the beginning of Roadrunner football in fall 2011, the Institute of Texan Cultures is taking the opportunity to examine the sport in depth with "Football: The Exhibit" on display through Sept. 18. The traveling exhibit takes a look at the science behind the game. With a closer look, a spectator can see physics and math at work in the stable flight of a pass or the force of a tackle.
"The physics and math at work in a game of football are extraordinary," said Lupita Barrera, director of education and interpretation at the museum. "But, we're not going to show you a lot of equations on a blackboard. Football is a contact sport and this is a contact exhibit."
The football exhibit is hands-on from beginning to end. Visitors can test their strength against a lineman with a grip tester. They can test reaction times against sound and light cues and compare to their friends and family members. They also can race on a track against lights that move at the speed of professional players.
In addition to the hidden layers of science and math, football has created a cultural phenomenon. The game has spawned devoted fans who grew up with the game, from peewee leagues to the NFL. A portion of the exhibit showcases the history of the game and its associated traditions.
A special section, designed by the Institute of Texan Cultures, takes a closer look at football in Texas. Few places can claim such devotion to the game or to have such an entrenched football culture as the Lone Star State. The museum explored the role football culture plays in Texans' lives by asking a wide cross-section of people the simple questionm "What does football mean to you?" Responses from players, coaches, cheerleaders, bandsmen, fans, parents and others shed light on the motivations and inspirations behind football evolving from a game into a way of life.
"Texans do football better than anyone else on earth," said Rhett Rushing, oral history program coordinator at the museum and researcher for the project. "No one on earth invests as much of their spirit, energy and even self worth into football like Texans. Football brings people together is ways we cannot explain and don't try to. It defines us as dreamers, as hard workers, as the best we can be. Football means everything in Texas."
"Football: The Exhibit" is a traveling exhibit organized by the Arkansas Museum of Discovery. The Institute of Texan Cultures is on the UTSA HemisFair Park Campus, 801 E. Durango Blvd., a short distance from the Alamo and the River Walk.
Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m., Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults (ages 12-64); $7 for seniors (ages 65+); $6 for children (ages 3-11); and free with membership or UTSA or Alamo Colleges identification. For more information, call 210-458-2300 or visit TexanCultures.com.
For Ashaad Mabry and Triston Wade, football is not just a passing fancy. Both players were part of the UTSA football program almost from the beginning. When UTSA opens the 2015 season Thursday at Arizona, it will be the first time the Roadrunners take the field without them. But Mabry and Wade will still be playing football; their uniforms will just be a different color.
Mabry, a defensive tackle from San Antonio's MacArthur High School, was an honorable mention All-Conference USA selection his final two seasons as a Roadrunner and second among the team's defensive linemen with 49 tackles last year. Wade, a defensive back from Tyler, was the most decorated player in school history. He was a semifinalist for the 2014 Jim Thorpe Award – for the nation's top defensive back – a three-time all-conference honoree and two-year team captain who set a school record of 293 tackles in his career. Both men had outstanding college careers that allowed them to make UTSA history.
Did you know? Mabry and Wade both agreed to terms as undrafted free agents with the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks, respectively, becoming the first UTSA players to move to the professional ranks.
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