Some may boast of prowess bold
Of the school they think so grand
But there's a spirit can ne'er be told
It's the Spirit of Aggieland
(The above quote was copied from Wikipedia)
It's not from Wikipedia though, it's part of a song from Texas A&M University. Not the fight song, a school song.
I am a part of that school. That school is a part of me. I also, can't explain it to you - the spirit of Aggieland. There is another phrase I've heard about the school:
From the outside looking in, there is no understanding it. From the inside looking out, there is no explaining it.
But every once in a while, you can show someone about the Spirit of Aggieland.
On Saturday, September 14, 2013, Texas A&M played Alabama in College Station, TX (home). There was a reported record attendance of 88,000 people. Yes, you read that right. Eight eight THOUSAND fans. This doesn't count the number of people in the town whom couldn't get into the game. This also doesn't count the COUNTLESS number of Former Student groups across the nation meeting at bars and restaurants to watch the game. OR the individuals/families/groups hosting parties at their own house. There were more people at the game on Saturday than at the Super Bowl last year.
We are talking college football here. We are talking Texas A&M football here.
I don't normally miss College Station - and while I have great memories, friends and a degree from this place, I actually wanted to be there on Saturday.
Instead, I did participate. I went to the Denver Former Students Group Event. Yes, there are groups all over the nation. While I'm sure other universities have these groups, there is nothing like walking into a bar to be greeted by over 200 people in maroon shirts participating in a "yell". It's breathtaking.
I took a friend with me to watch. She's from Minnesota. Truth be told, I forgot to "warn her". "Sure, I'll go watch the game with you", she replied. It wasn't until we walked into the bar that I traveled back in time. Traveled back to Kyle Field (where the game was being played), to the traditions, the camaraderie, the spirit. Alive, here in Denver.
There are SO many traditions, everything has a tradition. You don't forget, you just put it at the back of your mind, you move on. It remains in your heart. Just not in your everyday actions. HOWEVER, there is so much that came right back. I spent every other play explaining what was going on. I knew exactly what was going on not only on the field, but off.
A&M doesn't have an Alumni Association - you are a Former Student. Alumni mean no longer. Once you are an Aggie, you are always an Aggie.
My friend asked if either of the boys had seen a game. They have attended two games in Boulder when A&M played CU. The band (that is a whole other story - Google Texas A&M Marching Band) came on both trips. They haven't been to a game in College Station.
She knows my boys pretty well. She says, "Duncan is going to take in one game, and be gone, he won't ever come back". I just smiled.
I moved away SOOOOO many years ago. I never even thought it would be kind of cool for one of my sons to end up there. After all, we belong to the snow and water now. Neither boy has the state of Texas on their "college opportunity list". There is no hockey at Texas A&M University.
We've turned into a "small town feel" - liking things close by, and living in a "bubble". Wait, make that me. But I do remember what I loved about a big school. I can walk into a bar with 200 people and they all have a common thought. AND - it's been 20 years. Everyone has on their matching rings and shirts. Able to travel miles and miles and be a part of something.
I have a feeling one trip to a college football game in College Station for the boys and I might never hear from Duncan again. We will see about Nolan. I can't see Nolan going there, but a college football game with a "big spirit crowd", and a Former Student Association who will take you far in life, could prove me wrong. Although there is another "Big School" on his list - and I think the island girl wants to go there too.
Or maybe, they will understand part of the spirit. The spirit of their great-grandfather encouraging their mom and aunt to attend. The spirit of their great-Uncle and great-cousin attending there. The spirit of their dad's brother also graduating from there. The boys understanding the Spirit of Aggieland.