Why A&M Is Just the Worst
- 1 Why A&M Is Just the Worst
- 2 The Top 10 Reasons Texas A&M Is Just the Worst
Why A&M Is Just the Worst
Reprinted, with permission, from [The Giving Steve]
Texas A&M University made national news this summer over a controversial lawsuit regarding their “12th Man” trademark. The university was threatening to sue a double amputee and cancer survivor named Chuckie Sonntag over the football website that he and some of his buddies had set up (12thManThunder.com). A lot of people were horrified by A&M’s overreaction including ESPN’s Keith Olbermann, who called A&M’s President “The Worst Person in Sports.” Even more people wondered why a giant university would waste resources on an attack that would so obviously incur negative media attention.
You know who wasn’t surprised by this lawsuit? Anyone who lives in Texas.
Dealing with A&M and the Aggie faithful is a part of life for every Texan. It’s no small wonder why- there are over 400,000 Aggie alumni currently living and breathing out of their mouths in the Lone Star State. You’re guaranteed to come across at least one maroon pickup with an A&M bumper sticker in every parking lot in Texas, significantly more if you live near a Walmart. But a lot of big state schools across the country can boast this sort of presence, so what makes A&M any more special than, say, Ohio State or LSU?
For those out-of-staters who might not be aware, let me clue you in to something every Texan knows from birth: A&M invites ridicule. They are the perennial whipping boy of anyone with an IQ over 90 and the very name “Aggie” is synonymous with unabashed idiocy. Every kid in the state grows up knowing at least fifty corny “Aggie jokes” and can recite them upon request at family get togethers. Even our news programs get in on the action.
So the big question is: Why would I waste my time making fun of so helpless a group? The answer: because “helpless” should not be confused with “harmless.” There is another, darker side to the stereotypical slack jawed Aggie yokel watering his plants in the rain. In the last few years A&M has come across the national consciousness several times and never for anything good. Between their trademark bullying tactics, Heisman-winning-quarterback-turned-Bieber-impersonator, and a headline-making politico, the Aggies are systematically turning our state into a freak show. It’s embarrassing and high time I took them to task.
The Top 10 Reasons Texas A&M Is Just the Worst
1. Their history.
It’s important to start with Aggie history to build the foundation on which to understand them. Texas A&M was established in 1871 as an all-white, all-male land-grant school by the Texas Legislature. This is important for two reasons. One- 1871 is a date a lot of Aggies use to argue that they were a college before their hated rivals, the University of Texas (more on that later). This is a misleading notion, as Texas A&M was actually originally a branch of UT catering to farming students. They are the afterbirth to the original creation, like Danny Devito in Twins. However, as you will see, "facts" are not important to Aggies. Secondly, A&M was all-male and all-white until the mid-1960s, so you can imagine how crazy the parties were that Aggie grandfathers threw in college.
Their delayed reversal on integration (UT had admitted its first black student in 1950) is indicative of both A&M’s past and present stances on traditional, conservative values, regardless of what’s happening outside of campus. Aggies continue to maintain a very right-leaning student and alumni body (probably the only college town in America that still votes red).
2. College Station.
Located about an hour drive from Houston, College Station is the land that time forgot. If Texas is considered part of the Bible Belt, then surely CS is the buckle. The aesthetics of the town are not very pleasing to the eye- imagine flat, level land punctuated by concrete parking lots and strip malls. Nor is the campus itself very attractive. Most of the buildings resemble Russian gulags. If you like the color beige, this is the school for you.
College Station’s demographic is Tea Party meets Planned Parenthood picketer. One can’t bring up the town without mentioning its landmark bar/restaurant/Mensa hang out, the Dixie Chicken. This famed, Aggie-proud establishment is the only place to eat in town besides the school cafeteria, which I also believe it caters. The Dixie Chicken calls its fried jalapenos “Bottle Caps” and cargo shorts are required to enter.
3. The Aggie Look.
Aggies all look alike, even the ones who don’t. Let’s provide some context: a high school senior in Texas chooses A&M for a very specific reason. If he or she is from a small farming or ranching town, A&M makes sense for its rural focus and less-than-progressive ideals. It’s a comfort zone issue for those who lack the confidence to try something new: there isn’t a lot of culture shock in going from one dive bar to another.
Now for graduating seniors in a city or urban school, the Aggie paradigm is still in effect, but for opposite reasons. Your typical Aggie from Dallas or Houston probably didn’t fit in very well in his/her high school. Similar to how most friendless bullies become cops as a way to find themselves a group in which to fit in, A&M’s urban demographic consists primarily of dorks who believe that they can find a home in a sea of other dorks. These graduating seniors invariably start wearing Red Wing boots, dipping tobacco, and driving pickups upon receiving their acceptance letters as an attempt to finally find their identity, however manufactured it may be. The phrase “all hat, no cattle” comes to mind.
Once they are all enrolled and the brainwashing starts, the entire student body begins to resemble one another. It’s difficult to describe in words, but the white-guy Aggie look is unmistakable. Kenny Powers sunglasses, goatees, ill-fitting Wrangler jeans, t-shirts that look like they were bought in a gas station, etc. Everyone wears boots, guys and girls, but not so much classic Texas Luccheses. These boots are more square toe jobs. FYI out-of-staters, I know this sounds ticky-tacky, but Texans place a lot of emphasis on their boots. At the risk of sounding like Joan Rivers, square boots are the jorts of the Texas fashion world.
Important Note on Aggie Girls: Texas A&M has some beautiful girls on campus. They flock to College Station from small towns across the state to follow in their daddy’s footsteps. Naturally, they are also beyond sweet. And therein lies the problem for the hot Aggie girl: they are so sweet and accepting that, when they get to a college and are thrown into a nerd circus for four years, at some point they think what they see is normal and/or cool. Spending weekends with meatheads dipping Copenhagen, sitting on the tailgate of a pickup truck in a pasture blasting Pat Green out of the cab is “going out.” While a lot of Aggie girls take off for Austin when they can, the numbers and ratios are just too overwhelming and eventually these girls will marry these aforementioned dorks because they never knew any better. The Aggie guy inherently knows that he has it made and to lock it down ASAP. So take note: any time you see a hot Aggie chick on television cheering on her team, know that by the time she is a senior, she will likely be married with a kid on the way, her face scuffed up from kissing her husband’s tobacco flavored lips through his goatee, a shell of lost potential and unrealized dreams.
Oh, I also forgot to mention their haircuts, which brings me to…
4. The Corps.
If you’ve ever seen A&M playing football on television, you are sure to have seen them. But what exactly are they and why are they so omnipresent at every A&M sporting event? Is Texas A&M a military school? Are they fielding an army? Are those boots just fantastic or what?
Behold! They are the Corps, the Ultra-Aggies, the perfect embodiment of the A&M student and every single Aggie stereotype rolled into one seething mass. Essentially, the Corps is A&M’s ROTC club, except add in a healthy dose of Aggie zealotry, Nazi haircuts, and costumed buffoonery. I say “costumed” and not “uniformed” because less than half of the Corps actually end up in the Armed Forces. That means that over half of the douches you see on television will never serve a day in the Army and are, essentially, playing dress up soldiers. The Corps only makes up 2-3% of the A&M student body but are a more pervasive icon of the school than the Aggie mascot, Reveille.
Why is this? Because they aren’t afraid of attention. The Corps considers Kyle Field its battleground. Step on it without their permission and you will be attacked with a sword.
The Corps is a national joke of which they are the only ones unaware. Even their fellow Aggies find them embarrassing and obnoxious and this is a group that worships Johnny Manziel.
5. Johnny Manziel.
First, a caveat: I actually like Manziel. I think his intense desire for the spotlight, his undeniable talent, and his nose for trouble all contribute to a truly entertaining sports persona. He is unapologetic for his wild behavior and regularly bangs girls who deserve their own calendars in a mechanic’s shop. He gets caught doing cocaine, sells his autographs, snubs his coaches, and still goes out hard every night. What is there not to like?
But do you want to know why I truly respect the guy? Manziel hates A&M. He never wanted to be an Aggie. He begged Mack Brown, the University of Texas coach, to recruit him as a quarterback (Brown, in another example of fine recruiting prowess, wanted Manziel to play safety. Whoops). He grew up rooting for the Longhorns. Don’t believe me?
Manziel hated College Station while he was there, openly bashing the town on Twitter and making no bones about his feelings for the administration. With all of his flash and lack of respect for authority, he was essentially the Anti-Aggie. So why is he on this list? Because by being such a good football player (winning the Heisman, taking A&M out of the cellar after decades of beat downs, etc.), he gave the Aggies something to crow about. In just two seasons, this young guy from Kerrville singlehandedly turned around an alumni base that had previously given up on their school. Donations came pouring in from across the state. Suddenly the quiet Aggie in your office who avoided eye contact for most of the fall was peacocking around his office with maroon banners from wall to wall. Manziel also contributed to the “Swag” movement making its way through the state. The A&M football coach has a “Swagcopter” that he flies around in to impress recruits. This was especially difficult to swallow for UT fans who had gotten used to the Aggie contingent quietly lamenting their program. The little brother was waking up and boy was he hungry.
6. The Aggie Relationship to UT
After more than a decade of competition, Texas A&M left the Big 12 league for the SEC, a powerhouse conference with stalwarts of college football like Alabama, LSU, Florida, etc. The move was a good one for obvious reasons. The Aggies were sick of playing second fiddle to UT’s flagship state program. Texas has better academics, revenues, facilities, national presence, location, and success in almost every sports program. Leaving the Big 12 where they had little to no success and joining the giants of college sports legitimized A&M. They had almost immediate success on the football field and now love to talk about how UT is in the rearview mirror.
A few Aggies might even comment below with “Obsessed?” with the implied meaning that I, as a Texas alum, just can’t seem to let them go. This is such a beyond ridiculous statement for an Aggie to make for the following reason:
THE ENTIRE IDENTITY OF THE TEXAS AGGIE IS BUILT UPON AN INFERIORITY COMPLEX TO UT
Obsessed? Obsessed?? The A&M fight song mentions Texas, what, four times? When you watch them sway back and forth in the stands during games, that is supposed to symbolize the cutting of Bevo’s (the UT mascot’s) horns. The Aggies call the University of Texas “TU” and Longhorns “t-sippers” as some sort of attempt to disparage the Longhorns for their haughty airs. Do you know what Longhorns call A&M and Aggies? A&M and Aggies. Aggies make a point to insult Austin as a communist Hippie commune, then spend most of their weekends there clogging up the bars on Sixth Street (at least the ones who have grown wary of Bottle Caps). The hypocrisy is uncanny. Most Texas fans don’t even consider A&M their biggest rival, an honor bestowed on the University of Oklahoma.
The reason I am writing this piece isn’t sour grapes over the fact that A&M left the Big 12 for greener pastures. Good luck and good riddance. I’m taking them to task because I am sick of having UT’s little brother school out in the public eye making a bad name for the family. Every time an Aggie embarrasses himself in public, it solidifies the nationally held misconception that everyone in the state is a backwoods idiot. As UT’s dumb little brother (the one usually chained up in the basement living off a steady diet of Baby Ruths), people incorrectly lump the two schools together. Hell, at least Sloth knew when it was time to shut the fuck up and rescue the Goonies.
People have been classifying the relationship between UT and A&M as the “Haves vs Have Nots” for years, but I don’t think that’s entirely accurate. A&M has lots of things that UT lacks: namely, a superior veterinary school and Bottle Caps. So how does A&M compensate for their inferiority?
7. Aggie Tradition.
There is nothing more important to a student at A&M than the vaulted traditions of their school. While every university might have some sort of custom or practice, nothing holds a candle to what’s going on in College Station. This isn’t your typical “touch the statue in a quad when walking to the stadium” kind of ritual. A&M has a saying for their traditions that just might also be the perfect embodiment of everything Aggie:
"From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it. And from the inside looking out, you can’t explain it." That doesn’t mean we can’t try.
8. The ring.
The surest way to spot an Aggie outside of his or her goatee is by checking for a shiny, obnoxiously large gold ring on their finger. While most universities offer graduation rings to their students, almost no one buys them and certainly no one ever wears them. For A&M alums, the opposite is true. Aggie graduates wear their rings for life. They get married with them, have babies with them, deliver pizzas with them, and are buried with them. They clack their rings on tables at bars and restaurants as a sort of mating call to any other Aggies in the vicinity. None of this is hyperbole.
Like that guy at your ten year reunion who still wears his varsity letter jacket, Aggies just cannot let the dream die. Some might call it tacky, others might say man jewelry sort of flies in the face of A&M’s conservative nature, but rest assured that you can spot an Aggie gleaming from a mile away. They have a tradition called “Ring Dunking” that consists of dropping their ring in a pitcher of beer and then drinking the entire thing. It’s super cool.
9. Yell Leaders.
Yell Leaders are the A&M version of a cheerleader. They are dudes, they dress like milkmen, and they have some really sweet cheer moves. While some might question the logic of male cheerleaders, don’t let an Aggie hear you doubt how awesome they are. These guys are total BMOC, the rockstars of College Station. Yell Leaders are in charge of memorizing different cheer moves based on classes (freshmen apparently have different cheers than sophomores, etc.) and motivating the crowd to perform with them. Before each football season the Yell Leaders throw a rally in the stadium to teach all of the different cheers to incoming students. At this rally, I’m sure the YLers are excited to finally wear a costume cooler than their game day 1950s milkmen garb:
10. Rick Perry.
Politics is not an arena this website ever really enters but I can’t skip around discussing Texas Governor and A&M Alum Rick Perry. Perry became Governor in 2000 and has somehow remained at that post since despite a term limit of eight years. He attempted to run for President in 2012 in what could be summed up as only the Aggie-est of campaigns. Perry botched speeches (famously forgetting which agencies of the government he would close in a debate), got into trouble when it was learned that his hunting camp had a racist name, and never connected with voters outside the state. Even for a polarized Republican Party, Perry was too much. He also had trouble eating corndogs.
Perry bowed out of the presidential race and returned to Texas as the state’s longest serving governor. Since that time, he has taken to airwaves to voice his opposition to the current administration and to garner support for his social policies. His public speaking alone is the biggest embarrassment to our state since Travolta’s accent in Urban Cowboy. Perry’s gaffes are too numerous to mention but spastic issues aside, for the purpose of this topic, let’s focus on his ongoing war with the University of Texas.
Rick Perry was a member of the Corps and a Yell Leader at A&M. He makes no qualms about his devotion and allegiance to his alma mater and will gladly spend time on its interests.
The problem is that Perry finds UT’s success at direct odds with that of A&M’s. UT is a state university and, as Governor, Perry is able to appoint members to its Board of Regents. Because Governor Perry’s views on education are reminiscent of Alabama circa 1952 (teaching creationism as a science, having professors’ salaries be determined by student reviews, etc.), the UT President and its BOR are at fundamental, philosophical odds with his agenda. No big deal for Perry- he can just appoint men loyal to his cause to the Board and use his influence to oust those who oppose him. What has happened at UT in the last couple of years is nothing short of scandal, but the fact that Perry has spent so much time attacking his rival school from the inside is extraordinary, even for a fan base that uses this as its emblem:
And this is their guy. Perry is THE Aggie to end all Aggies, the leader, the face of the university, the Golden Boy of College Station. Could you imagine having someone so polarizing as the public image of your school?
There you have it. Apologies for the Moby Dick length but obviously none of this could have been left out. There is plenty more Aggie bullshit to make fun of (they say “Howdy” to each other without irony) but I’ve got to get back home to meet the new neighbors. They just moved in and the realtor said they were sports fans, so
This bit of Aggie news came up right as I went to post, you just can’t make it up- [CLICK HERE]