The Sun Bowl did NOT live up to its name this year in El Paso, TX. In fact, the weather for today’s big game could have earned it a new name…perhaps the “Wind Snow Unbelievably Cold Bowl,” and not may would have disagreed with that name! Upon the team’s arrival yesterday, the winds were 35 gusting to 50 at the airport, with ice and snow flurries in the forecast.
BUT, for Black Team, the miserably cold conditions just upped the ante and made them more determined than ever to put on a great show for the sold out crowd.
The pilots arrived at the plane early to assess the frosty conditions, since the day dawned with a dusting of snow on the ground. The plane got a de-icing bath and then it was “off to the races,” as Will (SFC Will Fleming, BT Team Leader) would say. The winds had calmed down since yesterday and were steady at 6 to 10mph at the stadium.
It was a bumpy ride and chilly (this year’s biggest understatement) under canopy, but the winds were perfect for tiptoe landings…and every single jumper landed softly right in the middle of the field. Everyone’s fingers were frozen practically stiff, so the warm press box and yummy food were a welcome sight.
Country singer Lee Greenwood performed at the half-time show, then came to the press box and met the team. The team uses Mr. Greenwood’s song “God Bless The USA” when they jump in the POW/MIA flag at shows. The jumpers enjoyed the game, during which Miami took a brutal beating from Notre Dame, and Black Team closed out the season on a high note.
In debrief, SFC Will Fleming (after having a bucket of ice dumped on his head) said that he wouldn’t trade his “kids” for anything and made a toast to an even better year in 2011.