Not far from where the NFL Pro Bowlers play their annual game in Honolulu, lies Pearl Harbor, where in addition to serving our country, dozens of young men play pigskin every week in the fall. Some of them don actual Houston Texans player-worn jerseys. Those are the sailors on the USS Texas.
The 'Texas' is a nuclear submarine that's been around the world many times and probably in some pretty touchy situations you'll never know about. I had a chance to tour the sub (as did J.J. Watt this week) with its leader, Commander Andy Hertel.
The sub is in the water but not quite ready to get back in action after undergoing a bit of renovation. Going down below is not meant for claustrophobic types. Things are tight, to say the least. Unless you like bathing in facilities that make the average cruise ship shower feel like Donald Trump's Jacuzzi.
Speaking of water, they can make their own fresh stuff. They basically have unlimited power with the nukes, so fuel is no issue. Food is the almighty, as they have to keep things as fresh as possible and dial down to canned goods and even pure rice if they have to stay out longer than expected.
The decor is latter day 'Crimson Tide' meets 'Hunt for Red October.' The Commander loves the movie references although he reveals that the zany 'Down Periscope' with Kelsey Grammer is way more realistic a submarine movie than some of your faves. The camaraderie is the key, he says.
And that leads us back to football. In the eating area, there are four Texas-themed booths. One with Longhorn logos, another with Aggies and one with Texas history decals. The fourth features the bull-head from your Houston Texans (there is no Cowboys logo anywhere that I saw).
Years ago, the Texans provided authentic team-used practice jerseys to the crew's football team. Other teams often show up in tee shirts but our boys from the USS Texas show up in real Texans gear and steal the show.
Texas pride is highly evident and necessary to help pull the crew together. The sub wasn't born on Texas soil (Virginia, actually) but the USS Texas and its crew provides a great example of team work, passion and craftsmanship of which any Texan, or American can be proud.