Passion for Hometown Team Drives Senior Rao

Rao and his family host a tailgate before the Texans’ matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. He arrives at 8 a.m. before every Houston home game.

by Brett Alsop
Eagle Editorial Board

Senior Stephen Rao is known for many things. Whether it is his distinctive bellowing voice or his reputation of being a sports fanatic, Rao is well–known.

However this year students have taken notice to one thing about Rao: his die-hard love for the Houston Texans.

Rao can be seen roaming the school hallways wearing his Texans gear three out of the five days of the week. It is hard to catch him without some sort of Texans wear, and he will go on for days about the strong points – and flaws – of the team

Rao definitely knows the Texans and their history very well, and that is why he is likely the biggest Texans fan among students.

The Texans have gotten off to a hot start. They are the top team in the AFC, and the city of Houston is already comparing their success to that of the once Houston Oilers.

Rao loves the Texans’ success and his growing reputation as the Houston Texans’ biggest fan.

“I think it’s pretty tight that people call me the biggest Texans fan,” Rao said. “I take a lot of pride in the Texans, and I’m glad to see their success after so many years of waiting.”

Rao definitely backs up his title as the biggest Texans fan. He has been a season ticket holder for seven years and is at every home game at 8 o’clock in the morning.

“I’ve personally had season tickets since 2005, when we drafted Mario [Williams],” Rao said. “But my parents have had season tickets since the beginning of the franchise.”

Rao and his family host a tailgate every home game with about 30 people. Every Sunday when the Texans have a home game he and his family are out in the parking lot of Reliant Stadium at 8 o’clock a.m. They grill, play games and enjoy good food and drink as they prepare for the game.

“The tailgates are a lot of fun, Rao said. “A lot of people show up so if anyone ever wants to enjoy some good food and drinks before they game they can.”

Rao wears his pride on his sleeve and everyone in the school knows. His truck can be seen with a plethora of Houston Texans apparel. From stickers to flags, his truck displays his pride in his team.

“I have that stuff on there because I want people to see my pride in the Texans 24/7,” said Rao. “And, also because I want people to know I mean business.”

The saddest weekends of the year for Rao are when the Texans have away games. However, this does not affect his celebration and viewing of the games.

“When the team is away I still go through all my pregame rituals and make sure I have nothing to occupy my time when kickoff happens,” Rao said.

The Texans team is filled with great players, and they often go unnoticed in the league.

“I love the whole team,” said Rao. “But I would have to say JJ Watt and Brian Cushing are my favorite. They bring a lot of energy to the team and stadium. They make me want to run onto the field and sack the quarterback myself.”

The Texans are 6-1 and are at the top of the AFC. Their success can be attributed to their crushing defense and the dominance of running back Arian Foster.

The success of the Texans has really affected the student body. Students are now able to take pride in a Houston team since the Astros’ World Series appearance.

“Before I was honestly a little embarrassed to say I was a Texans fan,” junior Peter Bedell said. “But now with the huge success of the team, I make sure everyone knows I’m from ‘the H’.”

Stephen Rao and the rest of the student body are ready for the rest of the Texans’ season and what the playoffs hold.