Story and Photo by Caitlin Bagnall
It is a windy day as a sea of fans, covered in red and black, fill the Jones AT&T Stadium. Flags and streamers cover the campus of Texas Tech University, blowing in the wind, visible from the stadium. School spirit rings loud as the chanting of “RAIDER! POWER!” energizes the crowd. The fight song echoes out among the crowd, with every ounce of loyalty pouring out of spectators’ mouths. “Fight, Raiders, Fight! Fight, Raiders, Fight! Fight for the school we love so dearly…” fills the stands. Guns are up as students, faculty and alumni slowly, but proudly belt out the song. Among these dedicated fans are alumni David and Kara Bruskas, with four little pairs of wide eyes upon them, wondering what sort of tradition surrounded them.
Many years later, Lisa and Lauren Bruskas no longer laugh at their parents waving their “guns” high in the sky at football games. The two girls have followed in their parents’ footsteps and currently attend Texas Tech.
Lisa, senior in broadcast journalism, recalled growing up in a family of Red Raiders.
“I wore a lot of red and black,” Lisa said. “My mom was all about bows, and I had several baby t-shirts with Double-Ts. She was so proud to dress me as her little Red Raider.”
Despite this, Lisa had always thought she wanted to be different and “do her own thing” when it came to college. However, when she came to Texas Tech, she fell in love with the school.
“I went to a football game and caught myself chanting ‘Raider Power.’ I was doing ‘guns up’ despite my fight to do something different than go to my parents’ alma mater,” Lisa said.
The tradition of Texas Tech left an impression on Lisa. She changed her mind quickly about attending the school.
Kara Bruskas, the mother of four girls, graduated from Texas Tech in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising and a minor in marketing. Her grandparents, parents, brother, and sister all attended Texas Tech.
“I grew up loving the school and did not want to go anywhere else,” Kara said proudly. “I love the atmosphere, friendliness and tradition.”
Like her mom, Lauren, freshman in retail management, said her family definitely affected her decision to attend Texas Tech.
“I have always heard such amazing things about Tech through family members,” Lauren said. “Knowing how much they all loved Tech made me want to come here.”
The two sisters are extremely close and happy to make new memories together at Texas Tech. Lauren and Lisa would love for their younger sisters, Jennifer, 16, and Jillian, 13, to come to Texas Tech also. Like Lisa, the sisters who still attend high school in Seattle are not sure of their future Red Raiders.
“They think they want to do something different than Tech,” Lisa said, “but I know they will follow in the family footsteps. You just can’t fight the loyalty.”
Kara, who believes that attending Texas Tech is a family tradition, would love for all of her daughters to graduate from the university.
“I love the school and the town,” she said. “I believe it is the ideal environment for my girls to receive a top-notch degree in a great town with wonderful people. Being a Tech grad is being a part of a big family.”
Kara said she believes that the college and Lubbock have changed since she was a student, but many of the traditions have remained the same. Her favorite thing she experienced as a Texas Tech student was going to the “Carol of the Lights” at Christmas.
The proud alumna said she believes the college has changed for the better.
“The education is even stronger,” Kara explains. “The college itself has the same friendliness, but with high professionalism. I love the emphasis to help kids get out on time and offer every opportunity to make that possible.”
For Lisa’s grandparents, Texas Tech has changed quite a bit. Among one exciting change is watching their alma mater turn into a Tier One school.
“I love talking to my grandparents about the organizations and history of Texas Tech,” Lisa said of her grandparents, who live in Sweetwater, Texas. “They get so excited about all the changes, but also the role Texas Tech has played in my life.”
The Bruskas family all agree that Texas Tech has changed their lives and has brought them more joy than expected.
“Texas Tech is one of those schools that feels like home no matter your background, interests, and needs,” Lisa said. “It encourages people to be their own person and pursue their dreams… It is so much bigger than fight songs, football games, and Raider Red.”
Of course the fight song, football games, and Raider Red are important in the history of a Texas Tech family tradition. Just as Lisa and Lauren experienced Texas Tech for the first time at a game, as did their parents and their grandparents. These traditions begin a dream in the heart of kids and families all over.
Two pairs of the wide-eyed little girls have now grown into young ladies and identify themselves as avid Red Raider fans. They stand proud, waving their guns in the air as they sing the last line of their beloved fight song, “And the Victory Bells will ring out!” The legacy continues to live on, but this time it is the girls’ own.