Johnny Manziel, popularly known as Johnny Football, became the first freshman to ever be awarded the Heisman Trophy. This electric young man, known for his plays on the offensive side of the field, proved in the game against Louisiana Tech that he's just as fearsome on the defensive side, too. This is my favorite of all the Johnny Football moments I was privileged to watch this season.
Congratulations to the entire Aggie team for a season that will be talked about as long as there is an Aggie alive to remember it. I just wish that my dad, the ultimate A&M football fan, had been able to see it.
I like to write, but I'm not a student of the King's English. My grade school, junior high, and high school teachers basically taught us to write like we talk. So I did, and got A's, plus a lot of encouragement to consider writing for a career. Imagine my shock when I turned in my first paper in my college freshman English class and got my first ever F. When I questioned the instructor about it, she claimed my grammar was poor, I had a lot of run-on sentences, and a lousy grasp on punctuation (commas killed me then --- and still do). Appar'ntly, 'ritin' da waaaay I tawked warn't gunna cut it in collitch.
I do know that verbs have to agree syntactically with their associated nouns, but when the subject is the Alabama Crimson Tide, is tide considered singular or plural? To my ear it sounds better to say "The Tide Goes Out", but I think "The Tide Go Out" is correct. Google wasn't much help, so that's why the title for this post is written to go either way. I'm diplomatic like that.
Now to get to the point of this blog.
If you follow college football, you know that my team, Texas A&M, beat the defending champs and number-one-ranked Alabama last Saturday. Our younger son took advantage of a three day pass from blowing up stuff at Ft. Sill to drive down to Aggieland and watch the game with friends, who, I might add, are still trying to accumulate enough hours to graduate. The older boy was ditched by his apartment mates, so he decided to hang with mom and dad for the day. It really wasn't such a bad deal since it came with a free dinner and a few beers.
The three of us settled down to watch what was surely going to be a stomping of elephantine proportions. Only the lunatic fringe expected a win; the rest of us just hoped for a decent loss along the lines of A&M's two previous losses: Florida (3 points) and LSU (five points). You know, the kind where you can still hold your head up in public and look people in the eye.
In retrospect, it would have been awesome to see the game live, but it's a sure bet they would have had to cart me, babbling senselessly, out on a stretcher. Sometimes watching at home is better, and here are some reasons:
1) Cussing. We can cuss and not worry about offending anyone, especially that uptight old biddy who sits in front of us in Kyle Field.
2) Replays, replays, replays. From the top, from the left angle, from the right angle, from head-on and behind. One of these days I expect the players' helmets will be outfitted with tiny cameras so we can see what happens from the bottom. ("Hey, LaDarius, would you kindly remove your knee from my spleen?" "Whoa, dude, when's the last time you washed that jock strap?" "Can I borrow your chem notes?" "How about setting me up with your sister, or is this a bad time to ask?")
3) Booze. Can't get that in any college stadium that I know of.
4) Pacing. We can get up and walk around when nerves get too jangled, something not possible when shoehorned into a football stadium. Mitch and I were like jack-in-the-boxes springing off the couch at every turn, good or bad. Richard, on the other hand, seemed to meld with the furniture.
5) Soap opera theatrics such as dramatically falling to one's knees and pounding the floor. I did this when Alabama QB AJ McCarron connected with receiver Amari Cooper for a long pass and touchdown that brought the Tide roaring back with only a five point deficit and time enough to beat us.
6) Nearby bathroom facilities and no long lines. When we are in our seats at Kyle Field and Mother Nature calls, you can expect to miss a good chunk of whatever quarter is being played, especially if you are female.
7) Household chores. I can load the dishwasher and fold clothes during half-time.
8) Cats. Phoebe had the misfortune to walk in during a crucial moment in the fourth quarter. I grabbed her, held her up, and screamed to the idiot box, "YOU LOSE, THE CAT DIES!"
9) Safety. No driving inebriated after celebrating half the night.
The downside to this win is that the Aggies may have spoiled any chance of the SEC vying for the championship for the seventh consecutive year. Oh, well. Stuff happens.
This coming Saturday we will be back in College Station to watch Johnny Football and company take on Sam Houston State. This, of course, does not have nearly the same cachet as the Alabama game, but after three weeks of road games, the Aggie Nation will be together again in Aggieland...and that is what counts.
I still haven't forgiven that instructor for that F.
I are a collitch grajooit,
If you follow college football, then you know that Texas A&M is now a proud card carrying member of the SEC. The Aggies finally got fed up with being under the thumb of those emasculated bovines in Austin, and decided it was time to go their own way and chart their own destiny. Our family welcomed the change, and if the picture above is any evidence, so did most Aggies. Of all the traditions A&M is famous for, midnight yell was never a favorite of mine, even as a student, but I'm really sorry I missed this one. Unfortunately, I was asleep and oblivious to all the (w)hoopla going on 200 miles away.
9:30 AM on Saturday, we were trudging from our car to our tailgate spot on the east side of the stadium. The weatherman had promised a cold front and boy, did he deliver. For about a half-hour it was actually a little too cool, but it warmed up and turned out to be a very pleasant day for early September. Amazing when you consider it was in the triple digits less than 24 hours prior. As they say in Texas, if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes.
For years, we didn't tailgate. Being endowed scholarship donors, courtesy of my parents, we got invited to rub elbows with the other Aggie wheelers and dealers at the Briarcrest Country Club before every home game. These were really nice affairs, with everyone dressed in their maroon and white best. But then the 12th Man Foundation, the host of these shindigs, did some calculating and decided it was too expensive to feed and water us. Without so much as a fare thee stinkin' well, we were cast out of the country club and forced to mingle with the great unwashed in sweltering heat, monsoonal rains, and freezing cold.
Initially we tailgated from the back of our minivan in the parking lot immediately west of the stadium. We were lucky enough to have a reserved space with our names on it, so our spot was ours and no one else could claim it. But tailgating in a parking lot is a blistery business; the sun bakes off the concrete and reflects off the metal of the surrounding cars. Besides that, the lot wasn't designed for tailgating, it was designed for parking, and if you weren't careful, you could get mowed down by a passing car. Tailgating in our reserved spot meant huddling in a tight group around the back of the van using the actual tailgate as a sort of table. After a season of dealing with the miserable heat, my husband bought a canopy/tent and we set that up behind our van. But whenever something bigger than an ordinary car needed to go through, we'd have to get up and move the thing forward a couple of feet, let the vehicle pass, then move it back, only to have to repeat the process for the next big truck or van or Hummer or battleship...this IS Texas, after all.
Then about five years ago, the 12th Man Foundation, probably pissed because we had been ignoring their pleas for more money, demoted us from our reserved spot in the prime "A" lot to an unreserved spot in a parking garage on the other side of the stadium. At first I was upset about the change, but then quickly realized they had done us an enormous favor. For one thing, our car was cool and covered. For another, the garage is close to the Corps quad where our younger son lived during his student years. Thirdly, it is across the street from the Memorial Student Center, the hub of campus life. But best of all, it was just steps from our friend Brandon's tailgate. His setup was on grass with vast oceans of space to stretch out. No more hard, hot concrete, no more worrying about getting flattened by a passing car while scarfing down a sandwich. THIS was tailgating heaven.
Back to the present. Last Friday, as I was meandering around Kroger looking for munchies, my cell went off. It was a text from Jared saying he had our spot staked out in the usual place. Jared is Brandon's cousin and because he has the misfortune to live in the College Station area, it falls to him to make sure we get our spot reserved. I don't envy him the job; there are too many people's weekend happiness riding on his success or failure. Here's how it works: at noon on the day before a home football game, a horn sounds to bring the Aggie faithful to Mecca, aka as "set-up day". I envision something akin to the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889, with Aggies scurrying like ants all over the campus to stake out their precious tailgate spots. Naturally, those who have been squatting for years on the same spit of land get very territorial, and woe to any newbie who tries to shoehorn in so much as an ice chest.
We have had so much fun with our current setup, that we don't miss the country club affairs of our earlier years. Well, there was one exception last season when the wind was so bad, with grit stinging the skin and getting into eyes, that we were flat-out miserable. Unluckily, we had chosen that day for a fish fry, and the two deep fat fryers had to be sequestered in a building alcove for safety's sake. Even with the windbreak, leaves and other debris got blown into the fryers, harassing our two fry cooks to no end. Here's a picture:
As I said, we don't miss the country club scene. Football wasn't meant to be stuffy and fussy and dressy-uppy. Check out the photos below from last Saturday's SEC inaugural. It's a shame the football team didn't come through with a win, but we had an awesome day, regardless!
Midnight yell practice: http://tamutimes.tamu.edu/2012/09/19/texas-ams-sec-debut-delivers-over-6-5m-in-media-exposure/#.UpLSduJW-Gs
We had a family bon voyage dinner for our two youngest rugrats just before they headed back to their respective colleges. Instead of snapping a human family pic, I chose to photograph our Aggie ring family, something I had been wanting to do since our younger son received his ring last fall. As you can see, my husband and I had diamonds inserted in ours, but our sons opted for the au naturel look. I had tried taking the photo indoors, but the light was wrong, so I perched the rings on top of our bricked over mailbox and went to town snapping pics. It must have looked weird from my neighbors' POV, me taking pictures of my mailbox. "Yep, Doris...poor thing has finally wigged out."
Anyway, Richard and I are very proud of our family Rings of Honor. I especially like the latest addition because the number 12 is so important in Aggie lore.
I used to wear my ring everyday. Unfortunately, weight gain, which I blame on the kids, forces me to wear my ring on my right hand pinky. The ring is really too heavy for a pinky finger, and so it feels weird when I'm wearing it. It's also too loose, and I'm scared it will slip off my finger without my noticing.
Richard's ring is not the original. He lost that one about 20 years ago while in College Station for a football game. He waited, hoping someone would find it and return it through the university's ring office. When it didn't look like that was going to happen, my parents, in-laws and I went in together and bought him the ring you see above.
I've arranged a professional photo shoot for my younger son in April. He's in the A&M Corps of Cadets and I want very much to capture some high quality portraits of him in his uniform and senior boots before the end of the school year. I also want the photographer to take pictures of our rings, something she's probably never done in her professional life, but I know she'll accommodate me, and it will be nice to have a studio-worthy picture for our den.
Who knows, maybe we will collect more Aggie rings in the future. Perhaps a daughter-in-law or two, or a grandchild(ren).
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