Road Games Travel Tips: A reason to wear a hat. Let’s Texas.
Preseason Game 1: Seattle at Houston Texans, Saturday, Aug. 22, 5 p.m. Pacific
SPONSORED – So how does someone who went to college in Indiana wind up not just cheering for Seattle, but founding a local Seahawkers chapter in Texas?
Well, the story starts with a linebacker: Joe Norman. Oh you don’t remember him?
Well he was Seattle’s second-round pick in 1979, a linebacker from Indiana University where he played four years, serving as a team captain as a junior and a senior.
Joyce Arpasi attended Indiana University, too, and she started following the Seattle after Norman was drafted by Seattle before the franchise’s fourth season. In 1983, Joyce moved to Bellevue. Right when Seattle’s fans were becoming heard at a national level. She joined the line for season tickets, waiting three years for those tickets to the old Kingdome.
Seattle became her home, and when Joyce moved to Houston 11 years ago, she brought her Seattle enthusiasm with her, and when Seattle came to town in Week 4 of 2013, she was at the sports bar “On The Rox” (10535 Jones Road, Houston, TX 77065) enduring some good-natured razzing as the Texans led for so much of the game. But then Seattle mounted a comeback, which was punctuated by Richard Sherman’s one-shoed interception return for a touchdown and Joyce got the last word after Seattle’s overtime victory. The owner came over afterward, complimented her for gracefully accepting the teasing while her team trailed and getting the last word in the end.
“We’ve been at that same bar since then,” she said.
“On The Rox” is where the local Seahawkers Chapter that she chartered now gathers for games. It’s where they’ll be on the Friday before this year’s preseason game, too. There are 56 dues-paying members of the chapter, which also does charity work for Polycystic Kidney Disease and a local women’s group.
They say that everything’s bigger in Texas, and that apparently goes for Seattle fans as well.
Stadium: NRG Stadium opened in 2002 when the Texans debuted as an expansion franchise. It was the first stadium in the NFL with a retractable roof. Seattle is 1-1 in games played there, most recently having won an overtime game in Week 4 of 2013.
Last time here: The last time Seattle played in Houston in the preseason was 1993 in the Astrodome against the Oilers. Well, the team is now the Texans, they play in NRG Stadium and the last time Seattle played there was Week 4 in 2013 when pulled off an overtime comeback to start 4-0 for the first time in franchise history. That is memorable for two reasons. The first was Richard Sherman scoring a pivotal touchdown with just one shoe, having lost the other one escaping a tackle after picking off a fourth-quarter pass. The second thing we learned is that Russell Wilson is nearly indestructible. Wilson got clobbered by J.J. Watt, taking a hit near the sidelines. It was Watt that was bleeding when Wilson got up.
Dining: The best barbecue in Houston is not – technically speaking – in Houston. It’s Pearland where you’ll find Killen’s (3613 E. Broadway, Pearland, TX, 77581). Just remember: This is Texas where barbecue means beef! Killen’s has some of best beef ribs in the country. Tex-Mex is a staple, and no one does it better than Original Ninfa’s on Navigation (2704 Navigation Blvd, Houston, TX 77003). The enchiladas here are loaded.