So this Sunday I went down to the Champs Elysees to watch the last lag of the Tour de France and see our Texas native Lance Armstrong take his 7th and final win! I went down there with the intention of meeting up with the Texas Exes (UT alumni association), however, having never met them before I didn’t know what anyone would look like. I got down there and headed to the spot where they said to meet only to find out no one was there and the race wasn’t actually coming down that far as it should have so I knew no one would be coming. I walked around trying to figure out what to do and then I spotted the giant Texas state flag. So naturally I wondered over there where I came across several people with Texas paraphernalia on and some UT gear on as well. However, I was also supposed to be meeting up with a French friend so I had to go back to where I was supposed to meet him. Once I finally found him I took him over to the Texas area where I saw a small group of people wearing UT shirts. I went up and asked if they were here with the Texas Exes. As it turns out they weren’t there with the Texas Exes but as they had just moved to Paris 5 months ago had been hoping to get involved with them. So I chatted with them for a while and wound up watching the race with them. I had a really great time talking and hanging out with them and they couldn’t have been friendlier. It was as if we were already friends.
So this little experience got me thinking how glad I am that I went to UT. I don’t know how other schools are but I get the feeling that the large Texas schools like UT and A&M really bond with alumni a lot more than others. People often criticize our schools as being too large and impersonal which I’ll admit they can be. Yet what those people don’t see that don’t go to our schools is how bonded we all are just for having gone to the same school. This is something I really appreciate and I think actually gets lost on smaller schools. So yes while you bond a lot more in smaller schools with the people you take classes with, once it’s all over there just isn’t that alumni connection that the larger schools have.
In taking this even further, in France they don’t even do alumni associations and they certainly don’t have any involvement with their schools after they leave. There are no donations made, no alumni groups, no reunions, etc. They tend to think we are ridiculous in that we actually give money to our school after having paid so much to go there as well.
So to sum up, I just wanted to point out some observations I made this weekend and to state that I really like our alumni associations and the bond that we form with alumni from big schools like UT as even all the way across the Ocean I now have two new friends from UT right here in Paris.
Oh, and watching the end of the tour was cool although I was too short to see much and I only managed to catch glimpses of the riders as they rode by. Thankfully I was in the section where they do the 7 laps around the Champs so I had 7 chances to see Lance. Got a few photos but none that great. Perhaps they’ll come out in a later album.