Pigskin Pursuit

An eight year odyssey across the backroads of America during the ultimate College Football roadtrip.

Tag: Texas A+M vs Baylor 2009 (page 2 of 2)

Texas A&M – Midnight Yell Practice

There are precious few schools that share the same reputation for unrivaled school spirit and football tradition as Texas A&M.We approached this weekend with lofty expectations for the heralded Aggie experience, and I’m here to tell you that it over delivered on those big promises.

Nowhere is this more evident than at Midnight Yell Practice at Texas A&M.For those of you unfamiliar, Midnight Yell Practice at A&M is the bigger, badder older brother of the “Pep Rally” found at most schools.Held on midnight of Friday prior to home games, the Midnight Yell is an Aggie tradition that dates back to 1931, and gets the Aggie faithful pumped up for the coming matchup.

On this particular night, the Friday before the Baylor game, we yawningly made our way through a steady drizzle to the imposing confines of Kyle Field.As my watch rhythmically ticked close to midnight, I had doubts about attendance at this peculiar event given the soggy weather and late hour. I shortly became the most surprised greenhorn in the building when my ears were clapped by the cacophony of well over 15,000 fans locked arm in arm belting out “Varsity” above the band.

Lasting barely a half hour, yell practice is short and intense – the way that it ought to be.Guest speakers were limited to two, one of whom happened to be Rick Perry, the current governor of Texas (a 1972 alum and former Yell Leader himself).The “Yell Leaders” and Aggie Band own the rest of the airtime, reserved for cheering, singing and coaching the crowd through a slew of complex Aggie hand motions.This keeps yell practice a refreshingly quick and energizing event run by the students….for the students.

I dug up this video online which does a decent job capturing the spirit of this event.


To draw this many fans, on such a lousy night before the 6th home game of the year is quite remarkable, and a testament to the unique spectacle of the Midnight Yell in College Station.Given the opportunity for a home game experience at Texas A&M, Midnight Yell is an absolute must do.

In a word: Awesome.

A quick clarification on “Yell Leaders”: There are a handful of unique departures from the college football norm that you will find in College Station and the “Yell Leaders” are one such example.Texas A&M eschews traditional “cheerleaders”, opting instead for a small group of five male students to serve as the “Yell Leaders” for the student body.These five men, composed of three seniors and two juniors, are elected by fellow students (and is considered a highly significant honor to be chosen), and serve as the spirit organization for the university.Clad in bleached dress whites, they lead all the “yells” during sporting events, and are tasked with maintaining crowd intensity and direction throughout the game.

Yell leaders during Yell Practice

Yell leaders during the game

One last video that gives a bit of background about the Yell Leaders and their role during games.

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Gig’ em Aggies!


Howdy!

This weekend brings us to College Station, TX, where the 5-5 Aggies of Texas A&M (which stands for Agriculture and Mechanical for you city slickers in the Northeast) will be squaring off against the 4-6 Baylor Bears, whom some would argue are the perennial cellar dwellers of the Big 12.The Aggies have been streaky this year, but they are firmly established as one of the most storied and tradition laden programs in College Football, and widely considered as a preeminent game day experience.

I have heard about the football atmosphere at A&M for a few years now since moving to Texas, and it’s always been a curiosity of mine. There isn’t a single ring bearing Aggie alum that will pass up an opportunity to tell you just how steeped in tradition and remarkable the game day experience in College Station can be.Now if only they could tell me exactly what the hell “Gig’ Em” actually means I would be satisfied…

Now I was excited for this trip to begin with, but our friends Allison and Melissa have “gigged” (am I using that correctly?) together one of the most exhaustive itineraries that I have ever seen.Top to bottom they have loaded us with all the must see experiences to make our trip to College Station a memorable one.And the more I keep reading about Texas A&M the more excited and “gig”(gily) I get for this trip!

We already have our student tickets lined up in the senior section, and are going to be screaming our maroon clad selves hoarse as part of the spectacle of the famous “12th Man”, lest we face the ridicule of being labeled “2 percenters”. With over 80,000 bodies cramming the tiers at Kyle field, this will be the raucous atmosphere that A&M is noted for.

You can read about the 12th man, and the rest of the storied A&M traditions here:

http://traditions.tamu.edu/index.php?q=traditions

But the game festivities will actually be starting earlier than Saturday.Friday night will be the most interesting pre game experience that we have had thus far, as we foray into a unique A&M tradition called Midnight Yell Practice.While on the surface this may sound like a domestic disturbance gone wrong, it’s actually an Aggie tradition prior to every game.Upwards of 25,000 students, alumni and visitors congregate at Kyle field at the stroke of midnight to rehearse cheers for the next day.Like a pep rally on steroids, Midnight Yell gets the “12th Man” pumped up for the next opponent.Just make sure you bring a date to kiss for when the lights go out, and be mindful not to wear a hat….(so I’m told)

http://aggietraditions.tamu.edu/team/midnight.html

As usual, food will be a part of this adventure, and we have our customary lineup of lovely vegan café’s to sample from.Wait…what?

Snow’s BBQ – Brisket for breakfast anyone?Strange you might think, unless that brisket was from legendary Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, and considered to be the best that Texas has to offer.For those of you following closely at home, this will be our second stop at Snow’s on the College Football Tour.Given the fact that Lexington is only 52.1 miles away from College Station, you’d need the jaws of life to pry me out of my car before I get there.So haul yourself out of bed bright and early on Saturday morning to join us, because Snow’s is only open one day a week, and the meat sells out by 10AM.

http://www.snowsbbq.com/

Chicken Oil Company – Of course one of our eating pit stops after the game will be at the institutional Chicken Oil Company, which I am told is as delicious as it sounds.As many of you may know, I am a huge fan of dining establishments that sell both fine cuisine and diesel fuel at the same time.And while Chicken Oil unfortunately stopped selling gas a few years ago, the spirits of petroleum transfer lives on in this highly unique environment, and you can bet I will be sampling one of their famous burgers.

http://www.dixiechicken.com/chickenoil/

http://www.dixiechicken.com/chickenoil/menu.php

Dixie Chicken – Staying consistent with the Dixie Chicken enterprise, we will also be relaxing with a few beers on Saturday night at the Dixie Chicken Bar in College Station.The Dixie Chicken, which may eclipse Eskimo Joe’s as the most renowned pub we have visited, claims to serve more beer per square foot than any other bar in the U.S.Suffice to say it’s an A&M landmark, and I’ll be carving my name in the table after a few pints.

http://www.dixiechicken.com/dixiechicken/

Well that’s the lineup for this week, and whatever other fun we can manage to uncover in College Station.Let me know if you are interested, and of course snarky comments always appreciated.

BTHO Baylor (I’ll let you non Aggies decipher what that actually means).

Whoop!

-Jamin

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