I look back at the my beginnings as one of the oldest, freshman, former football players at the ripe age of 25 to make the team at Boise State University; back when the turf was of a natural green grass color before the smurf turf. (See Boise State Team Picture in 1985, Rico Austin pictured: sitting bottom left side, 2nd from left #29). There were many oddities and coincidences that can not be explained as I had never the opportunity to play football at Marsing High School in Idaho, having been extra small and maturing later in life. It also didn’t help that I graduated at age 16 years (oldest of five boys) to begin working at the small town super market serving as assistant manager as going to college was not even considered until nearly nine years later.
It was the spring of my freshman year, BSU had ended the season with a 7 – 4 win / loss record and I was headed out on my first ever spring break adventure. I don’t know what happened because of all the tequila and cerveza consumption. As a compulsive gambler that quit playing Blackjack, the game of 21 that consumed most of my thoughts and energy until mid 2007 when I sought help by fellow GA members. Six months later after healing from the gambling sickness my focus and energy then was devoted to writing about that spring break story that haunted me for 22 years (a bad number when you’re playing 21.) This story was completed as I turned 50 years young of which I make a promise to myself, that never again will I write another book because of the overwhelming consummation of finishing and putting to rest the finished result of “The End.”
As luck would have it, one day I’m minding my own business in a bar / restaurant in Cave Creek, Arizona enjoying hot wings and next to me is a man that claimed to be Elvis Presley’s legitimate, illegitimate Son of the King. After seeing the evidence of a sealed birth certificate, DNA testing and unlimited pictures of John Dennis Smith Presley and his father – The King of Rock n’ Roll, I decide to engage in the project of telling the world of John’s arranged adoption and story.
As I near the completion of finishing, “In the Shadow of ELVIS, Perils of a Ghostwriter” I am contacted by members of the Boise State Alumni group to perform as one of the Blue Elvi at the 2012 MAACO Bowl game in Las Vegas, Nevada with Boise State University Broncos taking on the Washington Huskies on December 22nd, 2012 which was the day after December 21st, 2012, supposedly the apocalypse. It indeed did seem as the apocalypse had come to fans of the University of Washington Huskie football program.
I debuted as a Blue Elvis, even though I was terrified of being in Las Vegas (Sin City) when the world was about to end. Like all great stories, it is looked upon with satisfaction as two of the Blue Elvi and Blu Kaboy were given unlimited exposure for the Bronco nation and the rest of the US in the form of thirty seconds on ESPN, the front page of the Las Vegas Review Journal, front page of the Sports Section of the USA Today and on the second page of the Idaho Statesman. A few weeks later and again I see our 3 mugs on the cover story of Bleacher Report with the article of “5 Ways You Know You’re a Boise State Fan” on March 27th, 2013.
Looking back over the 50 years that I’ve bled Bronco Blue, I think, “Not bad publicity for a Boise State Football player that never once got into a game.” I may not be Rudy at Notre Dame; but I am Rico at Boise State.