Welcome to the 2018 Maroon and White Spring game here at Texas A&M University! Football is practically a law here in Texas and definitely our pride and joy at Texas A&M University! These Friday Night Lights shine bright - but not necessarily just on Fridays. I truly don't think I've ever experience football in the way that Aggie Football allows for the audience to get involved. The entire student body is asked to stand for the duration of the game, minus a couple minutes during the halftime, use that time to rest your legs for second half of the game.
"The 12th Man tradition began in Dallas on January 2, 1922, at the Dixie Classic, the forerunner of the Cotton Bowl Classic. A&M played defending national champion Centre College in the first postseason game in the southwest. In this hard-fought game, which produced national publicity, an underdog Aggie team was slowly defeating a team which had allowed fewer than six points per game. The first half produced so many injuries for A&M, Coach D.X. Bible feared he would not have enough men to finish the game. At that moment, he called into the Aggie section of the stands for E. King Gill, a student who had left football after the regular season to play basketball. Gill, who was spotting players for a Waco newspaper and was not in football uniform, donned the uniform of injured player Heine Weir and stood on the sidelines to await his turn. Although he did not actually play in the game, his readiness to play symbolized the willingness of all Aggies to support their team to the point of actually entering the game. When the game ended in a 22-14 Aggie victory, Gill was the only man left standing on the sidelines for the Aggies. Gill later said, "I wish I could say that I went in and ran for the winning touchdown, but I did not. I simply stood by in case my team needed me." A statue of E. King Gill stands to the north of Kyle Field to remind Aggies of their constant obligation to preserve the spirit of the 12th Man."
The entire student section stands to honor the 12th Man Tradition, to know that our team is never left standing alone. In this video you can also here us chanting the Aggie War Hymn! "The rich history of The Aggie War Hymn, the official war hymn of Texas A&M (Texas A&M does not have a fight song), dates back to World War I. The lyrics to the iconic song were scrawled during 1918 on the back of a letter from home by J.V. “Pinky” Wilson, one of the hundreds of Aggies who fought during World War I, as Wilson sat in a trench during a battle in France. Wilson originally called his song “Goodbye to Texas University,” a nod to Texas A&M’s rivalry with the University of Texas, and created it by combining several Aggie yells used at the time to form the lyrics. In 1928, Wilson penned another verse at the request of several Aggies that thought Wilson’s original version was too focused on the University of Texas — this verse is now the first verse of the War Hymn, but it never caught on. Today, the second verse is sang twice, and once that is completed, Aggies link arms and legs and sway left to right to “saw Varsity’s horns off.” It's very special to watch the entire student body come together, link arms and legs while swaying side to side.
It may have been hard to notice, but the individuals leading us in this Aggie War Hymn were our very own Texas A&M University Yell Leaders. Here at Texas A&M we don't technically have "cheer leaders" - we yell. Our school spirit goes above cheering. "When people want to know where the cheerleaders are during Aggie games, they quickly learn Aggies don't cheer — they yell. Instead of cheerleaders, yell leaders walk the sidelines. Yell leaders are a team of upperclassmen — three seniors and two juniors — elected each year by the student body. During one game, the upperclassmen ordered the freshmen to find a way to entertain their guests. The freshmen found white coveralls and began leading the crowd in yells. They had so much fun and received so much attention from their audience that it was decided that only upperclassmen would be allowed to participate in leading yells in the future. Aggie Yell Leaders still wear white during games and attend all home and away football games, all home basketball, volleyball and soccer games, as well as post-season football, basketball and volleyball games. They can always be found on the sidelines of the playing field in front of the student section, encouraging the Aggies to show their Aggie Spirit."