HOUSTON—On Houston’s east side, along the aptly named Industrial Road rumbling with dusty 18-wheelers, sits Womble Company, Inc.
If the big stacks of pipes piled up in the adjacent lot don’t tell you you’re in Houston, just walk inside the office and look around the cubicles. Everywhere you turn, the workers wear Houston Texans gear.
“Because we support our Texans,” said Shelley Upshaw, who was wearing a Texans jersey and a Texans logo sticker on her face. “We love ‘em. We’re excited they’re going to the playoffs.”
They’ve dressed up in Texans gear every Friday of the football season. But this week, they’ve had a special reason to sport their team colors. The chief financial officer is taking seven lucky guys to Baltimore for this weekend’s playoff game against the Ravens.
“Oh, we’re fired up,” said Nick Stefanakis, the company’s CFO. “We’re fired up. First time in ten years that we get in the playoffs. We’re gonna make the most of it.”
For the last week, ever since the Houston Texans won their first playoff appearance, fans have been booking expensive flights to Baltimore and buying high-priced tickets to this weekend’s game. As the weekend approached, a diaspora of Texan supporters headed to the airports, where the roads leading to the terminal are decorated with banners cheering the hometown team.
“I guess early last week we were talking that if we beat the Bengals we’d all hop a plane and cruise out to Baltimore,” said Chris Heitman, one of the Womble workers going to the Ravens game. “Well, we won! So now we’re going.”
At least, some of them are going. All of the employees Stefanakis is taking to Baltimore are men, a point that’s not lost on some of the women sporting Texans gear.
“You might want to talk to the boss, taking a bunch of guys, leaving the girls behind,” said Gladys Dworacek, who seems only half-joking. “We love ‘em, too.”
Around the usually quiet office cubicles on Friday afternoon, guys were throwing footballs and women were decorating each other’s faces with stickers of Texans logos. Somehow, they still got their work done.
But who knows? With any luck, the boss might have a chance to spring for tickets to the Super Bowl.