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Topic: My A&M experience
Replies: 20   Last Post: Sep 12, 2018 10:53 AM by: va_tigerfan
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My A&M experience

[71]
Posted: Sep 10, 2018 11:51 PM
 

Lots and lots of takes on the game, "the fumble call", QB rotation, etc. Thought some might find my first experience in Aggie-land interesting.

I am a Widower as my wife of 20 years passed away a few years back at 44 years of age from Lung Cancer having never smoked a day in her life. That experience and raising my two kids solo these last few years, has really given me some perspective on what is important and not so important at least as far as my life is concerned. It also makes the concept of building memories very valuable to me, so when my 18 year old son approached me last week and suggested a memorable trip for his Senior Year in High School would be an A&M trip, I was all about it. We quickly convinced a Clemson classmate to join us and made plans for a long weekend road trip. We left Friday around noon and made it to Shrevport around 2:00AM Saturday morning. We got a decent sleep and headed to College Station the next morning arriving around 1:00. We parked on the outskirts of campus by the polo fields and headed down to the Dixie Chicken and then over towards the stadium for the afternoon before the game started. Several things were noteworthy.

1) There is a room I believe was called the "Flag Room". It was in the student center and had 4 or 5 large TVs and lots of sofas/chairs/floor space and there must have been 100-200 folks in Orange and Maroon watching the USC-UGA game and avoiding the mid-day heat outside. It was a great setup and the perfect way for us to watch the "other" important game that day. Lots of nice folks in there - even one gentleman and his wife who offered us their seats. We declined, but the sentiment was indicative of the treatment we would get the rest of the day. These folks are serious about being respectful and classy.

2) The parade before the game. Right before game time, we lined the streets around the stadium to watch the parade of the cadets make their way to Kyle Field. It was astounding how many there were! After the band marched through to lead the processional, the waves of cadets kept coming and coming and coming! It finally ended when the mounted cadets on their horses and the Howitzer for the game pulled by a mule team made their way down the street on the way to the stadium.

3) The stadium was very impressive! We were in the upper deck of the End Zone where Tee scored his touchdown across from where our band was located. If I did not know the capacity, I would have guessed it was even larger than 105,000. I guess it was the way it completely surrounded the field that made it look so much larger than I envisioned beforehand. With all of the stadium lights flashing, energized fans, the towels waving frantically, and no place for the noise to escape, it is easy to see how the players could get easily get distracted and intimidated. No doubt about it - it was rocking Saturday night! Even up by 15 points a couple of times, you could feel the crowds energy and knew the game wasn't out of reach. That thought obviously turned out to be prophetic.

4) Band - I'm not much of a band guy, but the size and precision of the band was something to see. From the upper deck where you could see the formations unfolding as the members marched in all sorts of directions, I thought for certain there would be collisions or errors in all of the coordinated movements. It was flawless with straight lines and changing shapes that must take incredible effort to organize and pull off. It was a great show and worth staying in my seat at halftime to witness it.

5) The Aggie War Hymn - I think that is what it was called at the start of the 4th quarter had the whole stadium energized and engaged. If you are an A&M person, I could see how that would put a lump in your throat each time that song was played. Even as a visitor it was easy to get into it.

6 - The Smoke ring from the Howitzer - Someone posted a picture of that earlier today. After one of the scores and firing the round, that smoke ring floating across the field was pretty cool.

7 Finally and most important the Aggie People.... There was an announcement before the game reminding the A&M fans about class and respect for your opponent. I was blown away at how universal this sentiment was taken to heart by everyone we encountered all day - I mean EVERYONE. We sat in the middle of an Aggie section. We had been elbow to elbow with folks decked out in Maroon all day. Even making our way down the crowded walkways from the upper deck after a tightly contested game with controversial calls that frustrated the home team, I did not hear a single derogatory word. Not one - literally all day. Closest we even came was a car that drove by us walking to the stadium and the students yelled something like "Gig-em Aggies" or something like that. I was stunned to be honest. Much more often we heard "Welcome to Aggie-land" or "Hope you have a safe drive home" and never a murmur of anything condescending or hostile. We all love college football and want our team to win. We all get fired up and heated up when things don't go our way. These folks get it though. Maybe it is just my personal history with tragedy these last few years, but these Aggie folks see things the right way with the right perspective. They fought hard and that stadium was as raucous as you can imagine, but when the game was over we had nothing but pats on the backs, handshakes and well wishes. I just had to write this post to tip my cap Aggie fans, students and Alumni. You may have come up a few points short on the scoreboard Saturday night, but you sure won me over. What a classy, classy bunch that I have nothing but respect and admiration for based on the experience we had last Saturday. I hope it won't be my last trip to A&M, and for those of you that make the trip over next year, I hope you experience the same level of Southern hospitality, respect and sportsmanship we received in spades Saturday evening. My son, my buddy and I had an absolute ball!

Best of luck the rest of the way Aggie friends. This is one guy from South Carolina who will be rooting for you along the way.

Blessings.
Chip

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Re: My A&M experience

[4]
Posted: Sep 11, 2018 12:09 AM
 

hey great write up and I wish I went to the game
And you are pretty fortunate to have gone and enjoyed
The experience. What we forget sometimes
in the heat of the game is the respect to one another. Based on your experience alone,
I Am hoping to meet them again in the finals .
Wishing the best to the aggies.

Blessings to you and your family and thank you for giving us the insights.

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"Clemson Is Coming" says Stephone Anthony (Class 2011)"
"Why NOT Clemson"
"Why Not Dabo"


Re: My A&M experience

[2]
Posted: Sep 12, 2018 12:23 AM
 

Hey, I see Florence is heading your way. If you need a place to stay in Victoria Texas I have some bedrooms available.
Gigem Aggies

Mike
3615712155


Re: My A&M experience

[4]
Posted: Sep 11, 2018 12:13 AM
 

Thanks, Chip!

Great story and a great trip for a father and son.

A few years ago I was living in Germany when Clemson made it to the ACCCG for the first time in recent memory.

I called my dad who lives in Greenville and said -- what do you think? I found the cheapest ticket I could find, flew home for the weekend and we drove up to the game together. The jet-lag sucked, but game with UNC was exciting and the memory will last forever. So worth it.

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CHiP!

[4]
Posted: Sep 11, 2018 12:48 AM
 

That may be the best overall post I’ve seen on here in 9 years, even counting those A+ & historical posts by our head male cheerleader Joe21.

What class, grace, fine writing, insightfulness, praise, respect & character you possess.

Saying, a Clemson Gentleman needs no introduction!

ThX & Go TiGERS!

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To All CLEMSON TiGERS..Sending you Bright Light from the Carolina Coast and hoping you get to witness a huge Orange sunset tonight. Go Tigers!


Re: My A&M experience

[14]
Posted: Sep 11, 2018 12:51 AM
 

Chip,

First of, my condolences to you and your family....I could not imagine life without my best friend!!

I think us Ags feel a great deal of respect and liking for your school. I’ve been a Clemson fan all of my life, never been to Clemson but I just had a feeling that had I not gone to A&M.....I would have ended up going to Clemson. I was right about Clemson being good people because my interaction with your fans was nothing but respectful and cordial before, during, and after the game both on Saturday night and 14 years ago when you guys came out here to plays us.

Best of luck and glad the folks that came had a great time with us Ags

Gig’em
Andy


Absolutely outstanding and thoughtful post. My closest

[3]
Posted: Sep 11, 2018 4:48 AM
 

relatives are Texans with the greater part being Aggie alumni and fans.

Their comments before and after the game reflected your experiences. I'm going to see them next summer, and I promised to bring along some Tiger Paws. They promised to sneak Aggie bumper stickers on my car! lol

My compliments and best wishes to you and your family.

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Re: My A&M experience

[3]
Posted: Sep 11, 2018 5:53 AM
 

Great story.

Let’s try to remember how the A&M fans treated us well next year when they venture onto our campus.


Re: My A&M experience

[5]
Posted: Sep 11, 2018 6:29 AM
 

Great post!!! My wife and I made the trip to Texas for the game. I echo your sentiments about the Aggie fans we encountered. Even after the game and riding the escalator down from the upper deck, all we heard was, "Great game", "thanks for coming", "have a safe trip back". Also, numerous pats on the back. I am not sure I would have been that cordial but hopefully will remember how I was treated and will return the favor for all visiting fans, especially the Aggie fans next year.

My wife and I were so impressed that we bought a couple of Aggie shirts and will wear them proudly, especially when they play our feathered friends later this year!!!


Re: My A&M experience

[3]
Posted: Sep 11, 2018 6:51 AM
 

Excellent narrative. Thanks for sharing.

2019 purple level member

Re: My A&M experience

[7]
Posted: Sep 11, 2018 8:33 AM
 

Howdy Chip,

Thank you for taking the time to post that.

Aggies have a saying we sometimes use to explain "the Spirit":

"From the outside looking in, you can't understand it. And from the inside looking out, you can't explain it."

We found the Clemson throngs easy to host, somewhat kindred spirits in a way. But after reading your post, I now know for certain you Tigers have no trouble understanding "it". As mentioned before the game, we love including our guests in the celebration of our traditions, not as a boast but as a way of sharing "the Spirit" - "there's no sense in having pride in it if others hate you for it," I say. Love should be transmutable, or why love what you do?

My heart aches with you in your loss, my friend. I am an orphan myself and "get" the lead-in to the account of your trip and why you put the two together. Glad you made it a part of your journey!

Take care, Tigers, and the good Lord bless.

Steve


Re: My A&M experience- to the Aggies in this thread

[2]
Posted: Sep 11, 2018 8:39 AM
 

we hope you can visit Clemson w your team next year and have an enjoyable time also. I'm glad our schools play periodically. They have always been enjoyable games between fan bases who appreciate good football and know how host one another

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Re: My A&M experience

[6]
Posted: Sep 11, 2018 9:02 PM
 

Howdy Chip!

If you thought the band was great Saturday check out this performance. According to a computer program, two people can’t be in the same place. Goosebumps every time!! Glad you enjoyed your visit! Stay safe with the hurricane.

https://youtu.be/KY7l-pPV0uw


wow! that is super impressive!

[1]
Posted: Sep 12, 2018 10:11 AM
 

thanks for the clip!


Re: My A&M experience

[7]
Posted: Sep 11, 2018 9:22 PM
 

Wow Chip!

So this makes us Aggies beam with pride when a rival fan gives us this much praise on the Clemson forums about their visit to Aggieland. Not ashamed to admit that I shed a tear reading it -- as our Aggie hospitality is something us Ags take seriously.

The game was close and controversial at the end and lesser fans might have turned their frustration on their rival fans... But that's not the Aggie way in victory or defeat!

This makes my heart happy -- especially as someone who was the personal guide & host for gameday in Aggieland for lifelong friends that are Wisconsin Badgers with a young freshman son in the Clemson Band! I was happy to hear that they too had an amazing time and were shown legendary Aggie hospitality!

At 46 In hoping that our $75M investment -- that doesn't even include what we doled out for the other coaches and coordinators -- brings us that elusive National Championship in the next 10 years. Having said that with a fierce a desire as can possibly be imagined -- I'll trade it all for one of our most important traditions (Aggie hospitality) to prosper over future generations!

Gig 'em,

Scott Minke
Aerospace Engineering
Class of '94


Re: My A&M experience

[2]
Posted: Sep 11, 2018 9:35 PM
 

Chip I’m an Aggie and your write-up got posted on one of my feeds today. It made an impression. So glad that you and yours had a great experience in Aggieland. I grew up in academia and when my family moved to College Station from South Carolina (USC) we had no idea what we were in for. I loved the tradition and values of A&M. Fun that you got to be part of such an exciting game!


Re: My A&M experience

[2]
Posted: Sep 11, 2018 9:38 PM
 

Chip I’m an Aggie and your write-up got posted on one of my feeds today. It made an impression! So glad that you and yours had a great experience in Aggieland. I grew up in academia and when my family moved to College Station from South Carolina (USC) we had no idea what we were in for. I love the culture and traditions and values of A&M. Thanks for recognizing it and calling out. So fun that you got to be part of such an exciting game!


Re: My A&M experience

[5]
Posted: Sep 11, 2018 10:03 PM
 

My condolences to you and your family, Chip. I think you hit the nail right on the head with us. “Welcome to Aggieland” really is a heartfelt tradition here. I bet you also heard the “official greeting of Aggieland” a few times, too; HOWDY!
I actually had a similar experience to yours sitting next to a nice young couple in orange. She wasn’t sure what was happening when I put my arm around her during the 4th quarter singing of the war hymn, but she and her husband swayed right along with the us and our 106,000 best friends!
BTW. Making a last minute 1000 mile road trip to a game with your son makes you a pretty awesome dad in my book. However, to qualify yourself as an honorary Ag, you have to do it twice. Ya see, at A&M if something happens once it could be an accident, but if it happens twice it’s a TRADITION!


Re: My A&M experience

[2]
Posted: Sep 12, 2018 12:05 AM
 

Chip - What a moving story - thank you for posting your experience.

I am still trying to digest how great the experience was for us. We also encountered so many unsolicited and genuine expressions of kindness and appreciation for our presence and wishes for a safe trip home. We've made some new Aggie friends sitting in the row in front of us, and we are hoping we can host them next year in Tigertown. One of the most memorable times was my wife, fully dressed in orange, sawing the longhorns off with the Aggies during the War Hymn.

Like others have said, I will use this as a reminder to express a heartfelt welcome to visitors to our campus in the future.

I'll be pulling for the Aggies the rest of the year! Beat Bama and USC!


Re: My A&M experience

[2]
Posted: Sep 12, 2018 1:04 AM
 

Thanks for posting this. The last time we interacted with the Aggies in the mid 2000s, I remember similar sentiments back then as well.

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Re: My A&M experience

[2]
Posted: Sep 12, 2018 10:53 AM
 

Well said!!! I would love to Clemson add the rotc March to the band march from the amphitheater leading the cadence count. Heck we could add a big cannon too...just not sure about a live tiger pulling it.


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