Cindy and I took a great trip this weekend. We were invited by my cousin David and his wife Patricia to spend the weekend with them and watch the Texas A&M vs Oklahoma football game. What a weekend. It was non-stop, but we had so much fun.
We arrived Friday around dinner time, and had a wonderful dinner at their home. We visited for a while, waiting for the appropriate time for the first event, Midnight Yell. Texas A&M is a bit different from other schools. They don’t cheer, they yell! Friday at midnight we were all in the stadium. The yell leaders (5 guys, no girls) led us, the students, and the Corps of Cadets in the different yells. Each yell had a story and tradition behind it. The clothes the yell leaders wore, the shirt the torch corporal wore, and the movements the yell leaders made when telling stories, all had historical significance and were steeped in tradition.
We made it home around 1:30am and got to bed to rest up for the next day.
Saturday was a beautiful day, sunny and warm. By the way, for those of you Yankees stuck in autumn or winter weather, it was a wonderful 80 degrees yesterday. Anyway, we had a nice breakfast out on the patio and then drove to campus. David and Patricia spent hours showing us around and explaining the significance and tradition of almost everything there. We visited the bonfire memorial. Some of you may remember in 1999, while building the stack for their traditional bonfire, the stack shifted, fell, and killed 12 students working on it that night. They haven’t had a bonfire since. In the place where the bonfire was held, they’ve put a memorial for those who died. It was a very impressive spot.
Each of the doorways you see are for one of the fallen. Each is a memorial. They are also placed in such a way that if you stand in the portal, facing out, you will face towards the home town of the person who’s memorial it is. It was very special.
We headed over to the Corps dorms and watched the Fighting Texas Aggie Band forming up. They marched off for the stadium and we headed over to watch them arrive.
We looked around a bit more, then headed for the stadium. We stopped outside to look at the burial spot for all the previous mascots. Years ago, a stray dog wandered onto campus and would bark when reveille was played. They cadets took the dog in, named it reveille and it became their mascot. As each Reveille has passed away, they were buried outside the stadium with their heads placed so they could see the scoreboard. When they expanded the stadium they erected a wall between the Reveilles and the scoreboard. There was an uproar about that so they placed an additional scoreboard outside the stadium so that the Reveilles could still see the score every game.
We went into the stadium and got to our seats. As we watched the people filing in, we saw probably the most famous of the Aggie fans. Apparently he shows up to quite a few home games. The 41st President of the United States, George Bush.
Everyone filed in and it was time for the game. Saturday was a “maroon out” where all the fans wore maroon. Cindy and I actually stopped on the way to buy some Aggie shirts so we’d fit in. Try to imagine 85,000 all wearing maroon. It was impressive.
We enjoyed the game quite a bit, even though the Aggies lost by a large margin. Here’s some of the action.
At half time, the Fighting Texas Aggie Band played for us. They were very impressive with the formations they made while playing and marching.
You may have noticed in the band pictures that some of the students wore shoes and some boots. In the Corps of Cadets, the seniors get to wear the boots. They are known as “Senior Boots”. They are custom made and quite expensive, but they mean a great deal to the cadets.
After half time we watched the rest of the game, and although we lost, we still had a good time. After the game, as we were walking back to the car, we stopped by the Cadet Center. As a fund raiser they have sold bricks that are placed outside the center for former students. We found the brick that meant the most to me. My Grandfather was an Aggie, class of 1929.
All in all, Cindy and I had a wonderful time this weekend. We are hoping to return the favor by having David and Patricia out to Louisiana to enjoy Mardi Gras with us.