Monday, September 11, 2006

Unexpected in Aggieland

Friday afternoon my brother John called, asking if I wanted to see the A&M game Saturday. He works for Drymalla Construction, and their clients and contractors often pass along game tickets. So of course I said yes--I hadn't been to a game at Kyle Field since Colorado two years back. Things have changed a great deal since I used to go as a student--and even since I covered a few games back in the '90s as a reporter. There's a real circus, festival atmosphere going on outside the stadium before the game these days. Calista and Keela got to pet some of the horses from Parson's Mounted Cavalry when we arrived, then tried out the various bouncy castle things set up beside G. Rollie White Coliseum.


About that time, we heard the howitzer go off, so we found spaces along the curb to watch the band and corps march in. It's a different route from my "Old Army" days, as the old main entrance in the horseshoe is gone, replaced by "The Zone." So march-in does a 90-degree turn before reaching Kyle, and now enters from the south end of the stadium. It's odd, but the girls got a great view on mine and Uncle John's shoulders. Orion also got a good view from Lisa's shoulder as well.


Our seats were some of the high-dollar, chair-backed ones at the very top of the third deck, nestled under the press box right on the 45 yard line. Lots and lots of Old Ags sitting around us that you could almost smell the money. Not my normal seats, suffice to say. But Orion utterly charmed everyone. It was his first game, and I really didn't want to take him because he doesn't react well to loud, sudden noise. But at 6 months, he reacts even worse to being separated from Mommy, so we took our chances (after all, he's going with us to the Alamodome this coming Saturday for the Army game). He did really well, only getting upset briefly during the third quarter. We gave him a 12th Man towel, and he went to town, waving it wildly and then chewing on it with abandon. He's got the whole Aggie thing down pretty good, I'd say.


And just because you can't attend an A&M game without talking about the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band's halftime performance, I'm throwing in a couple of photos that amazingly turned out pretty well. It got darker as halftime progressed, so the latter photos are more blurred, but these give an idea of some of the drills they did. No criss-cross "impossible drill" this time around, but it was entertaining nonetheless.


The game itself was a great deal of fun. For the first time in several years, the team actually went out and did what it was supposed to do--namely shellack a lesser opponent. As opposed to last week's underwhelming showing against the Citadel, against U-La-La the Aggies played as close to flawless football as I've seen. If they continue the trend against Army this week and Louisiana Tech next week, they might be able to keep Texas Tech from scoring triple digits three weeks from now. As for my opinion of the new 12th Man TV video board, well, yeah it's big, but from all the hype I expected something that would dwarf the entire stadium. I will say I'm pleased they finally got someone who can put together professional-looking video montages and the like. That was nice. The ribbon boards encircling the stadium along the second deck, however, alternated regularly between "very cool" and "annoying as hell." Personally, I deeply miss "Welcome to Aggieland, Home of the 12th Man" on the student side. The whistles and bells are nice, but ultimately all they are is whistles and bells. I'm one for tradition. And honstly, if they can spend the untold millions it took to install all that dazzle, why can they spring for new light bulbs to light up the Kyle Field marquee on the outside of the stadium? I miss that--in the old days, you could see those letter lit up from as far away as Caldwell.

And you pesky kids get off my lawn, too!

Now Playing: Fleetwood Mac Tango in the Night

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