Ranking the Greatest All-Time Traditions in Texas A&M Football History

Michael Taglienti@@miketag98Featured ColumnistOctober 28, 2011

Ranking the Greatest All-Time Traditions in Texas A&M Football History

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    Texas A&M is a university that is based on tradition.

    From Silver Taps and Ring Dance to Muster, traditions are the tie that binds one generation of Aggies to the next. The shared experience of participating in these traditions creates a bond between all Aggies.

    The fact that an Aggie who graduated in 2010 can sit down and talk about going through the same experiences as an Aggie who graduated in 1950 is one of the many factors that makes A&M special.

    Many of these traditions revolve around the football team and football games on Saturdays in the Fall. Most of them were started when A&M was an all-male military school.

    This is a look at some of the traditions that are involved with Texas A&M football games.

8. Boot Line

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    The boot in Boot Line is a reference to the senior boots that the members of the Corps of Cadets wear during their senior year at A&M. Texas A&M was founded in 1876 as an all-male military school. In 1960, women were officially allowed to attend the school. 

    Shortly after that, they stopped requiring membership in the Corps of Cadets to be a student at A&M.

    There are still over 2,000 members of the Corps at A&M today. Seniors in the Corps are distinguished by the riding boots that they wear.

    Boot Line is when all the students classified as seniors go down onto Kyle Field at halftime and form a human tunnel for the football team to run through when they come out of the locker room.

7. The American Flags That Fly at Kyle Field

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    There are 55 American Flags that fly on every game day at Kyle Field.

    The flags sit atop the third deck and surround the entire field. Each flag represents one of the 55 Aggies who fought in World War I and gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

    The flags are only flown on game days and are taken down at the end of every game.

    They are a memorial so that we will not forget those who gave their lives for our freedom.

6. Yell Leaders

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    When A&M was an all-male military school, they used to bring girls in on the weekends by train for the football games.

    In 1907, the football team was being beaten badly during a game and the Aggies noticed that their dates who had come down from Texas Women's University in Denton were losing interest in the game. Some upperclassmen ordered some of the freshmen to entertain the TWU students.

    The freshmen put some white janitors uniforms on, went down on the track surrounding the field and began leading yells and entertaining the crowd. The freshmen were a hit, and it was decided that they would be incorporated into the game day experience.

    The upperclassmen quickly noticed that all their dates were paying more attention to the freshmen on the field than to them. The upperclassmen took over the position and now you have to be a junior or senior to be a Yell Leader.

    The Yell Leaders are elected by the students in a general election.

    The Yell Leaders lead yells at games and represent A&M across the state and country at numerous events.

5. Yells

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    If you ever attend a Texas A&M football game you will notice the Aggies doing chants or "yells" during the game.

    The Aggies participate in these yells in unison as a way to distract the opponent and show support for their team.

    There is a signal for every yell. The Yell Leaders will give the signal and the fans in the stand will repeat the signal so everyone behind them will know what yell they are supposed to do.

    The Yell Leaders will count off and then everyone will participate in the yell.

    The yells offer the fans in the stands an active way to participate in the game without going onto the field.

4. Yell Practice After a Loss

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    The Aggies participate in yells in order to help their team win. When the football team does not win, the thinking goes that it was because the Aggies in the stands did not yell loud enough.

    If the Aggies do not win the game, the Aggies in the stand remain after the game to participate in a "Yell Practice."

    The Yell Leaders lead the Aggies in the stands as they go through all the yells. The thinking is that they will practice yelling loud after the game so they will be able to yell louder during the next game and help the team win.

    It all goes back to the theory that Aggies are not merely just spectators but actual participants in the events.

3. Throwing the Yell Leaders in Fish Pond

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    Towards the end of home football games that the Aggies are winning, the freshmen in the Corps of Cadets will gather on the track that surrounds the football field.

    When the game ends, the freshmen will chase the Yell Leaders down and tackle them on the field. They will then carry them off the field, across campus, and dump them in a fountain that has been dubbed the "Fish Pond."

    The Yell Leaders then lead a yell practice from the Fish Pond.

    This tradition started in 1940 when the freshmen chased down the senior Yell Leaders after a 26-0 victory over Texas and threw them into the fountain.

2. Singing the War Hymn

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    Every school has their own school song or anthem. Texas A&M has the "War Hymn," which was written by J.V. "Pinky" Downs in the 1920's and is the official Aggie fight song.

    The Aggies sing the War Hymn before the game, after the game, and in between the third and fourth quarter of the game.

    The War Hymn is most noted for the last verse, during which Aggies interlock arms and sway back and forth. The Aggies sing "Saw Varsity's Horns Off" while their swaying from side to side imitates a sawing motion.

    "Varsity" is what Aggies called Texas when A&M was was known as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas.

    When the Aggies are sawing in in the stands, it makes the press box at top of the third deck rock three to four inches from side to side. When visiting members of the press experience this phenomena for the first time, it makes for some rather entertaining facial expressions.

1.When the Football Team Scores on the Field, the Aggies Score in the Stands

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    This tradition dates back to the days when A&M used to bring their dates in on the train.

    It is a pretty simple tradition. When the A&M football team scores on the field, you get to kiss your date.

    This tradition was obviously created during more conservative times and gave Aggies an excuse to get a little action in the stands.

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