7) The Legend of the “Gap Kid”

The GAP Kid!

The GAP Kid!

The “Battle of the Alamo” in Lubbock: (aka, The Legend of “GAP Kid”)

The Set-up

November 2001. Texas Tech had just defeated aggy 12-0 at Jones Field in Lubbock.

aggy, as they often do, exhibit ultimate class and timing by breaking into their mind-numbed ritualistic chanting (aka “yell practice”) right when the home team is playing their school song, post victory, for the alumni, fans, and team to sing.

Tech fans, not liking that one bit, tore down their own goalposts and marched the full length of the field towards the aggy contingent, who were already taunting the Tech fans as they approached.

In molasses-like slow motion, the goalpost parts were slowly fed up into the stands where the aggy faithful stood. It was when at least one Tech fan tried to climb up into those stands that things got ugly. You can see the conflict yourself below – real action starts some 40 seconds in…

The aggy version

The Battalion (aggy newspaper) has lost, deleted, moved, or otherwise prevented viewing of things before 2006, HOWEVER… this article by Doug Fuentes on November 3, 2001 reported the following (pay special attention to the bolded/italicized text):

Blood actually caused by a fellow aggy

Blood actually caused by a fellow aggy

Dr. Mike McKinney, chief of staff for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, was among the Texas A&M fans assaulted during the post-game celebration by Texas Tech fans after the Red Raiders’ 12-0 defeat over A&M at Jones SBC Stadium Saturday.

McKinney, 50, is the father of A&M senior center Seth McKinney. He was involved in a skirmish in the stands and received eight stitches from A&M team physician Dr. J. P. Bramhall.

As the final seconds of the game ticked off, Tech fans went down on the field and headed toward the south end zone goal posts.

Despite the goal posts being guarded by more than half a dozen Texas Tech University police officers and numerous requests from the stadium public address announcer for the fans to stay off the field, the fans tore down the goal posts.

The fans then carried the goal posts to the north end zone, toward section 15, where McKinney and other A&M fans were sitting. The Tech fans shoved the goal posts into the stands. McKinney, who was against the wall closest to the field, attempted to keep the fans from coming up into the stands.

“I was trying to keep them from coming up in the stands,” McKinney said. “I pushed two of them down, and grabbed my binoculars and said, `The next one that comes up gets it.’ Then, somebody who was already in the stands, I guess, came up and knocked the fool out of me. I saw him hit me — a kid in a red shirt.

“It was like the Alamo,” McKinney said. “They were coming up over the wall.”

The *real* version

Of course, aggy is misleading again. It’s in their sheep-dilluted DNA.

Post-game investigations found that McKinney was actually hit and bloodied by a fellow aggy![1]”Aggie guilty of throwing punch”, http://lubbockonline.com/stories/110601/loc_1106010040.shtml#.V8MDFpgrK70

Tech President David Schmidly confirmed that an A&M student, not a Tech student, struck Dr. Mike McKinney during a melee after the football game. He said Tech police took a report from the student after the altercation.

The Dallas Morning News wrote a story (now behind their paywall), titled “Probe finds McKinney was hit by another Aggie”, which also said:

An investigation led by Texas Tech president David Schmidly has revealed that some Texas A&M fans were not hit by Texas Tech fans after the schools’ football game last Saturday.

Aggies were punching Aggies.

Schmidly said he is truly sorry for the events that occurred after Tech’s 12-0 victory, a win that sparked a postgame melee fueled by students who toppled the goalpost in the southern end zone. But Schmidly said neither he nor the university would take action on behalf of Dr. Mike McKinney, who was injured afterward.

McKinney, Gov. Rick Perry’s chief of staff and father of A&M center Seth McKinney, suffered a cut over his eye that required eight stitches. That cut was the result of a punch thrown by A&M student Reginald Wallace in the northern end zone of Jones SBC Stadium, Schmidly said.

The incident happened as Tech fans tried to shove the fallen goalposts into the A&M seating section. Wallace gave a sworn statement to Tech university police after the game, Schmidly said. Calls to Wallace’s work and residence were not returned.

“Scapegoating people just because people have jobs or they’re in the limelight is something that does not need to be done,” Schmidly said. “I hope Mr. McKinney does the same thing.”

So – maroon-on-maroon violence (moron-on-moron?) was the true reason for Dr. McKinney’s now heralded bloody eyebrow.

The GAP kid

The GAP Kid!

The GAP Kid!

One particular future Tech student, then-13-year-old Vincent Valdez, became something of an Internet legend, finger raised high in a “#1” salute leading a crowd carrying the goalpost. It was Vincent’s “GAP” t-shirt that earned him the moniker “GAP kid”.

It was some time later that he actually told his side of the story, while selling that now famous GAP t-shirt as a charity donation.

The year was 2001 and the location was Jones Stadium. The incident is called “GoalpostGate II” by some because of the controversy that surrounds the events of that day. The Texas Tech Red Raiders beat the Texas A&M Aggies and, although we were favored, some idiots in the student section decide to bring down the goalposts.

We (I say “we” because I made it onto the field but was not part of the contigent bringing down the goalposts) decided to march the goalposts out of the stadium, with an intention to lay them at the feet of Will Rogers and Soapsuds. However, members of Lubbock’s finest decide to blockade the easiest route out of the stadium, the player tunnels. As if by some sort of telepathy, the entire mob decides that the next easiest route out of the stadium will be to the Northeast, over the fence.

Keep in mind that that 5 minutes have already passed.

Well, one problem. The Agroids were glued to thier seats, stunned as they watched the mob make their way towards them at a rate slower than molasses. Apparently, Aggy wants to practice their Yells because they hadn’t done well enough in the game, as evidenced by their loss. Either that, or they ran out of time. The final score had been 12 – 0, so at the rate they were scoring, maybe with another 6 or 8 quarters they could’ve overtaken the mighty Red Raiders.

Another 3 or 4 minutes passed as the mob marches the goalposts 120 yards to the north. Some of the nastier Agroids decide that they’ve seen enough of the celebrating and start flipping the mob off and chant “You Suck, You Suck.” This only enraged the mob who had endured the Agroids “practicing” a Yell during the playing of the Texas Tech School Song after the game and before the goalposts came tumbling down.

In response, the mob starts chanting “Aggies Suck, Aggies Suck!” A few guys from within the mob decide to climb up into the stands to guide the goalposts over the Aggs since they won’t move. One guy, who was leading the right post, walked up 4 rows past Ags without saying a word to instigate what came next.

Apparently, Colonel William McKinney, Governor Rick Perry’s Chief of Staff, decided he’d had enough and decided to take action to defend the Aggy turf. It must’ve looked like the Mexicans climbing over the outer walls of the Alamo Mission because of the way he described the scene afterwards: “It was like I was defending the Alamo.”

Well, Kernal McKinney tries to push some hapless chap over the wall back into the crowd of Mexicans, and others in the area viewed this as a provocation and a riot broke out.

The fisticuffs lasted approximately 3 or 4 minutes as two different areas broke into fights.

Afterwards, news media gathered around McKinney as he recounted his tales of heroism in defending the Alamo. McKinney proudly proclaimed that he decided to swing his binoculars in the air, much like an olympian does in the hammer throw, to hurt the “next one that came over that wall.” McKinney was bleeding profusely from his right eyebrow; McKinney said he was blind-sided by a Techie and had “the fool knocked out of him.” (What I have in quotes are actual things he said.) Tech Athletic Trainers attempted to dress the wound, but he refused attention from them, demanding that A&M Trainers bandage him.

Well, McKinney promises to hurt Tech in Austin where in the next budget meeting; after all, he was Rick Perry’s right hand man. The next day, Perry comes out and publicly blasts Texas Tech fans everywhere and is harshest on the school administration.

You know, if you hear Aggies describe the story, it sounds as if everything happened the instant the final gun sounded. Hearing it from them, it sounded as if they were being accosted by 400 college aged guys that had come straight from working out at Gold’s Gym.

Well, 2 or 3 days go by and people everywhere are examining the videos from the melee to determine who exactly was at fault. Tech President Schmidley (a former A&M faculty member) promises to be harsh on anyone involved. 6 students are identified and 2 are kicked out of the University.

Another day goes by and a young Black man approaches the media regarding the incidents. He’s an Aggie and he was there. He admits to the media that he was the one that “knocked the fool” out of McKinney. When asked why he did it, he said “I did it because the guy was spinning his binoculars around looking for someone to hurt. I did it to keep him from hurting anyone.”

Agroids everywhere are appalled by the man’s admission. Why in the world would an Aggy punch another Aggy? Well, Ags decide to ostracize him for his admission instead of McKinney, because this obviously makes Aggy look bad. Red Raiders everywhere are left waiting for McKinney to apologize… and we’re still waiting on his or Governor Goodhair’s apologies for blasting Tech before all the facts were known.

Well, another day goes by and pictures begin to circulate. Amongst them are pictures of the crowd that accosted the Aggies.

Well, guess what? 90% of the crowd happens to be Junior High Kids!!! As I mentioned before, hearing the Ag version makes it sound as if there were hundreds of College guys, but here was proof otherwise! This only added to the comedy that was “GoalpostGate II.” One boy in particular, a boy by the name of Vincent Valdez, aged 13, helped lead the charge against the Agroids. His image was plastered everywhere. Here is a picture of a boy leading the charge to pounce on the Ags, wounded by the loss!

He was wearing a “GAP” shirt and was surrounded by other characters, such as “The Pirate,” “Tank Top Girl,” and “Harry Potter Kid.” Hardly a group that appears mean enough to take down the Aggy empire. Anyways, enough talking… It will become quickly evident to you why the Gap Kid has served to ridicule Aggies everywhere and why he has grown to become an internet legend amongst RaiderPower and Hornfans posters.

This is the real t-shirt that I was wearing in the pictures I have kept it ever since then. It will be signed “In Memory of Jud Thorne” “Vince Valdez, The Gap Kid 2005”

You can pick up the shirt from me on campus or I will ship it anywhere.

Bid generously,

Vince Valdez

If you want to read more, he posted on a Tech board with his memories of that game.