The Clash of the Cats

JGoode | 8/27/2009, 9:19 p.m.
The players are practicing. The bands are rehearsing. The cheerleaders are stretching. The fans are gearing up. There is excitement ...

The Labor Day Classic series had its beginning in 1985 under the roof of the eighth wonder of the world, the Astrodome. TSU won the first game. Throughout the years TSU has taken the title of Labor Day champions along with bragging rights for the majority of the matchups. Even though that may be the case, the spirit of the PVAMU panthers is mighty. Win or lose the panthers seem to always have a great time. For the past two years the panthers have tasted victory and this year they are defending champs. For this reason some TSU fans are shaking in their boots. Chris LeBlanc, President of Texas Southern University National Alumni Association, said that although he was rooting for his TSU tigers he didn’t want to make a score prediction because he was scared too.

LeBlanc has a right to be afraid since after the results of last year’s game he had to don a PVAMU jersey at a PVAMU game for all to see when he lost the friendly bet that the presidents of the two historically black universities make the Wednesday before the game. “You have over 10,000 sets of eyeballs on you. It is a very humbling experience. I hope and pray that my TSU tigers get that positive karma back and get on the winning side and so that we may regain our status and reclaim our bragging rights,” said LeBlanc. The tigers are placing their hope for victory on the shoulders of kick returner William Osborne of Marshall, TX and linebacker Dejuan Fulghum.

Wishing that the tides will turn in his favor is President-elect Lynn Morris of the Prairie View A&M University National Alumni Association. “I know Prairie View is going to win and we are probably going to win big, too,” said Morris, who thinks PVAMU head football coach, Henry Frasier, did a good job of diversifying Prairie View’s current football team. Returning to PVAMU are runner Donald Babers of Houston and Anthony Beck of Channelview, two of the shining stars of last year’s panther offense and defense. The entire panther football team was lethal in 2008 as they had a historic 9-1 season.

This season the talent on PVAMU’s team is overflowing. “I think he did a very good job of diversifying the team and filling in the holes where he needed to fill in,” said Morris. He thinks a lot of the top local athletes are missing out on a quality education close to home by attending schools that are farther away. “I would like to see more local athletes go to schools where they go for education and not just for what they see on TV.”

The alumni association is making more attractive and avidly available scholarship offers to potential students both athletes and non-athletes. “At the national level we have a couple of endowments where we actually have scholarships available for students,” said Morris. The association is currently revamping their website to make it easier for students to apply for scholarships. Likewise TSU has several endowments whose funds are earmarked specifically for scholarships for current and future tigers.

These two associations are a part of the backbone that makes both universities acclaimed institutions of higher learning. Their friendly rivalry is part of the heritage of attending a historically black college or university. Any alum of PVAMU or TSU that wants to get active in the respective alumni associations may do so by going online. PVAMU alums log on to www.pvualumni.org. TSU tigers log on to www.tsunaa.com. Get ready and mark your calendar for all the events associated with the annual Labor Day Classic when checking out www.houstonlabordayclassic.com. Who will take home this year’s ultimate prize?