Run and Shoot: KU-A&M: Spirit of Aggieland

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KU-A&M: Spirit of Aggieland

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- If you ever hit the lottery and decide to spend the fall heading to a different football game each Saturday, seeing the best stadiums, sights, and players the nation has to offer, I think a visit to College Station has to be on that list. (And I say that even though I collect a paycheck from the University of Texas in my other life.)

Everyone's list would likely have Texas-OU, LSU's Tiger Stadium at night, Florida-Georgia, and a trip to Michigan's Big House. Texas A&M would also be on my list even though its football program hasn't experienced the level of national success that those schools recently have.

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But it's on my list because, well... the A&M community really is like a different world, one where people are freakishly friendly, fiercely loyal, and completely wrapped up in A&M's unique traditions.

Start your visit by watching the Aggies' big, brassy, old-school military-style band blast out its marching music as they head into the stadium.

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The band is only the start of a long processional, which also includes Parson's Mounted Cavalry. In spite of a group of guys who happily trail the horses with a wheelbarrow and shovels, the PMC's presence in the stadium was recently in doubt until Aggie donors raised a few hundred grand for that bacteria-resistant surface that circles the field.

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East of I-35, the terrain in Texas gently slopes all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, so the top of Kyle Field might be the highest point in all of southeast Texas. You can literally see for miles and miles.

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Being at the top of Kyle Field also lets you experience what an earthquake feels like. As you enter the press box, you receive an information sheet. The second sentence is in bold print and reads: "For our first-time visitors, please do not be alarmed as the press box will move during the Aggie War Hymn." As the entire Aggie crowd locks arms and sways back and forth while singing "SAW VARSITY'S HOOOOOORNS OFF," sure enough, it feels like about 3.6 on the Richter Scale.

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That's only a small part of the highly coordinated fan participation, which is led by the nation's ugliest cheer leaders, a group of guys who dress like milkmen with buzzcuts.

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Just to get that image out of your head, here's a gratutious picture of the USC Song Girls.

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At halftime, the band show is mesmerizing. I don't know a damn thing about band music, but it's absolutely fascinating to see a band march around in intricate geometric patters, its members repeatedly missing each other by inches as they cross and turn.

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The Aggies also used to claim other unique traditions, such as never booing or leaving the game early, but Dennis Franchione has killed those traditions.

Regardless of how good the Aggie football team is, or who they're playing, a trip to Kyle Field will provide you with an experience you can't get anywhere else.

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