Our daughter seems to have joined a cult. No worries though. At the end of her tenure there, they’ll give her a cape, a doctorate, and the honors that go with it. We’re very proud of her for studying for her PhD at Texas A&M, where tradition and maroon/white are king.
Hubby and I made our first visit to see her since her new adventure began. I’d been to Texas A&M campus before; in fact, I spent time as a newborn there. In fact again, our daughter and son-in-law’s apartment complex is built in the same spot my parents’ apartment was when my dad attended the school so it’s on the spot that was my first home. How weird is that!
It was Hubby’s first visit to the campus of 76,000 students. It’s a city in its own right. Everyone is wearing maroon and/or white shirts as they travel across the many blocks of buildings. Daughter and SIL live on the edge of the university and it’s a mile and a half walk to Kyle Stadium, the fourth largest football college stadium in the U.S. and usually full for every game (more on that later). A&M is a very impressive place of learning. They have so many activities going on with speakers, special projects, and other exciting things, no one can be bored there.
We attended the Midnight Yell Practice that takes place before every game. Texas A&M doesn’t have cheerleaders, they have yell leaders. The yell leaders are men and have been men only since the beginning. They run for the position and are voted in. As far as I know, there’s no rule against girls going it, but the voters on campus decide who they want there. At midnight, half of the stadium is full of students, parents, and security. The yell leaders go through their routines so the crowd knows when to bend over, when to yell, what to yell, and when to do whatever they want you to do. They tell jokes and in general, provide a great pep rally. We sing the A&M fight song (which Daughter made Hubby and I learn) and we sway side-to-side when we “cut the horns off short”. It’s quite the pagentry.
Game day dawned and it was pouring rain and cold. We caught a shuttle a block from the apartment and rode over to Kyle Field. Umbrellas are not allowed inside even though Daughter had bought a new one just for us. We had to leave them outside the stadium (they were gone when we returned). We made our way up to the higher levels and found our seats on the endzone side, uncovered and wet. Hubby has full rain gear, so he didn’t get wet at all. I in my raincoat and rain poncho was soaked from the waist down. The benches were wet even though we’d taken towels to dry them off. Those aluminum benches must bend my direction when I sit because I sat in a puddle. A stiff, cold breeze fanned us as we sat there. We watched most of the first half of the game in the rain.
Then, what we’d waited for the whole time, the band came out during halftime. If you’ve never seen the Texas A&M band march, you should go on YouTube and look for them. They are amazing and very precise. They have lots of crossing each other as they march and it’s awesome to see them perform. I was mesmerized. Those kids went up and down the field, back and forth, crossing between each other countless times, and never missed a beat in the pouring rain and cold wind. The show was well worth getting wet to see.
But once they left the field, we and most of the crowd left the stadium. We were freezing! Not wanting to risk pneumonia, we joined the hordes leaving. Only the ones lucky enough to have seats under the overhangs or fancy boxes were left to watch the Aggies beat the University of Massachusetts. By the time we got back to the apartment and dried off, the game was over. In the news, they made a big deal of how everyone left the game at halftime and blamed the coach. The coach?? Yeah, they said if the coach was better and the team had won more games, no one would have left. That wasn’t true for us. Mother Nature and the good sense to come in out of the rain was what drove us away.
We toured the campus and saw our daughter’s office and lab where she works. She’s become fully steeped in the Aggie traditions and ways. It must be something her Aggie grandfather passed on to her. I got some of it because I was born when he was a student there. She can’t help but be an Aggie through and through. Hubby and I are very proud of her and all her accomplishments. We look forward to celebrating her next great achievement in about three years.