EDITOR'S NOTE:*This article appeared in the Houston Texans Gameday magazine on Nov. 4, 2012, for the Texans' game against the Buffalo Bills at Reliant Stadium.
*Ruth Shelor is ready to suit up and get in the game. The 78-year-old Texans fanatic has no reservations about taking one for the team, and she already has the uniform.
"My friends that I go to the game with had this shirt made for me," Shelor said. "On the back, it says 'Ruthie, No. 1.'"
Shelor moved to Houston in 1966. She previously lived in her hometown of Philadelphia and later Washington D.C., where she met her husband, Morgan. The pair attended Redskins games in the 1960s and later became Houston Oilers ticket-holders when Morgan's work brought them to the Lone Star State.
After the departure of the Oilers, the Shelors were missing something in their lives: Football. Much to their delight, a solution was on the horizon spearheaded by Texans founder, chairman and CEO Bob McNair, and football again became a part of the Shelors' and Houston's Sunday tradition.
As a Christmas gift in 2001, Ruth surprised Morgan with two Houston Texans season-tickets, though he would never get a chance to see the Texans play.
"My husband passed away in March, before the first season," Shelor said. "But I know he's up there watching me, urging (the Texans) on."
Shelor invites friends along to Reliant Stadium on Sunday afternoons, and sometimes her sons Daniel, a police officer, and John, who played semi-professional football.
"A couple of years ago, my sons said, 'Gee, Mom, if you had four tickets, we could take our wives,' so I bought two more tickets, and guess what? They haven't taken their wives yet," she said, laughing.
Despite nearing the 80-year-old mark, Shelor is an active fan. One might even call her a "yeller."
"Most of the plays are so awesome, I can't even pick a favorite," she said. "I just think when these guys catch that ball and run down that field and get that touchdown, that's it for me. I get up and scream and slap fives with everyone around us.
"Sometimes, when they're not doing too well, I stand up and shout, 'I'm coming down there to coach, Gary (Kubiak)!' Or I'll say, 'Let me throw that ball, Matt (Schaub)!' The problem is my hand's not big enough to hold the ball to get that spiral."
With a 6-1 start to the 2012 season, there haven't been many instances where Shelor has had to scold the Texans from her seat in Section 517. In fact, she has nothing but optimistic words and high expectations for this year's squad.
"I think Gary Kubiak is great, I think all the guys are great, and I know we're going to go on," she said. "I know we are. They've got the heart and soul, and I'm going to be up there cheering in my seat."
Shelor asked to have a message delivered to her favorite Texans.
"Pass on to Matt Schaub that I've seen quite a few quarterbacks play in person with the Redskins and Oilers, and he is the best," she said. "Also, tell (Brian) Cushing that if I could trade places with him so that he could go play, I'd do it."
Keep your eyes peeled. You never know when you might see Ruthie, No. 1, on the field.