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Being an Aggie on the Anniversary of Bonfire

November 18th, 2013 2 comments

People give me a hard time now and then about being an Aggie, and its always in reference to football. Now, I’m fine with light-hearted ribbing from friends about football, but when anyone makes a dig about Texas A&M and Aggies in general, I bristle. Quickly. Because there is so very much more to being an Aggie than the football team.

On November 18, 1999, the world’s eyes turned to Texas A&M and for a moment… just a moment… the world got a glimpse of the Spirit of Aggieland. And they might not have understood, but they cared…

Bonfire Memorial

Instead of recounting anything from my point of view on Bonfire’s collapse that day and how I felt then and how I feel today about it, I want to share this blog post from an Aggie, written in 2009.

Before you click that, though, I want to highlight two parts of that post:

From the letter sent to A&M from the University of Texas Student Body VP following the tragedy… For all us Longhorns discount A&M in our neverending rivalry, we need to realize one thing. Aggieland is a special place, with special people. It is infinitely better equipped than us at dealing with a tragedy such as this for one simple reason. It is a family. It is a family that cares for its own, a family that reaches out, a family that is unified in the face of adversity; a family that moved this Longhorn to tears.

Aggies are a family. And that’s why it upsets me when I hear people slamming Johnny Manziel. I’ve never met him. I probably never will. But I don’t care. He’s an Aggie. And in that, he’s family that I find myself defending time and time again.  Now keep in mind, like family, we’ll be the first to chastise a member. Case in point, when Von Miller had his legal woes this year, I felt deeply disappointed, and I watched on Twitter as Aggie after Aggie voiced similar disappointment and frustration. Some declaring they would no longer consider themselves a fan of his. We might be the first to defend, but we are also some of the first to shake our fingers at our fellow Aggies when they do wrong.

It’s also why our hearts break and you’ll see us all cry when we lose an Aggie family member… even one we don’t know personally. Bonfire was particularly devastating. It happened on campus. It was/is a cherished school tradition. These were 12 young lives cut short, and many more left injured. Our hearts broke collectively.

But in every time of trial and heartache, we pull together and are reminded we’re family. And that… THAT… is something so special it can’t be accurately described in words.

The second part I want to highlight: …the Longhorn band’s tribute was one of the classiest and moving tributes I have seen. Maybe their response to our tragedy is the reason that, even though they are our rivals, I still have such respect for the school as a whole…

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Alumni get it. I, too, have a deep down respect for the University of Texas and its alumni members. There are your bad seeds, sure. There are at Texas A&M, too. (Hey, every family has its members you go, “Yeah we don’t talk about him much…” LOL!) But on a whole, you’ll find major respect between alumni members of the two schools. I recently had a lighthearted and delightful banter with a Longhorn at work that left me with a spring in my step.

In fact, you’ll find respect between members of alumni of MOST major universities. I’ve encountered the same respect working with alumni of SEC and ACC schools.

T-shirt fans, though… those are the ones that will throw out the asinine comments I refer to in my opening of this blog post. My most recent bristle being, “So how do you wear that [Texas A&M] ball cap without getting smacked!?”

Really?

I wear it with pride for SO MANY reasons… reasons that are deep in my heart. Reasons the person asking that question could never in a million years understand… not that they’d ever care to really listen in the first place. And those reasons are the ones that are why at 2:42 am on November 18th, I stop and take a moment to remember.  Those reasons are why I put my heart of soul into Aggie Muster every year. Those are the reasons why I wear my Aggie ring with pride every single day, and why I make sure to speak to Aggies when I cross paths with them.

Roll your eyes if you want. I don’t care. But I am an Aggie and I’m proud of that fact. Now go read that blog post and hear about what makes this day stand out every November from yet another Aggie.

Categories: tamu, texas a&m Tags: , ,

10 years a former student

August 15th, 2013 1 comment

“It was here that our lives were forever changed, and loyalty to on another and to a cause greater than self filled our hearts.” — Phillip D Adams, Class of 1970

showing off the diploma

Ten years ago today, a dream came true. I graduated from Texas A&M University. I walked across the stage at Reed Arena. I shook hands with then-University President Robert M Gates. I ceased to be a student, and I joined the thousands of Aggie Alumni as a former student.

Thankfully, I kept a great journal back in those days (something I lament not doing now and someday hope to get back to doing) and I can go back and re-read the little details of the August 15, 2003 that I have long forgotten.

I set my alarms for 5:30 and then 5:45. I needed to be leaving the house no later than 7:00 to get to Reed Arena on time. Well, I apparently turned off my alarms at some point, because I woke up at 6:20 and had to run like a mad woman. [...] Of course, I can’t find the panty hose I’d bought for the day, so I had to search for a pair that didn’t have a run in them. My hair took extra long to dry and then make-up just wasn’t going smooth. I ran out of the house at 7:10.

Clearly, some things have not changed in 10 years.

Finally, the time came. We started out of our “holding area.” (We had Journalism, Sociology, Philosophy, Music, etc. in our area.) We had to go down SEVEN flights of stairs to the floor of Reed. [...] They all got a kick out of the top of my hat, “Happy Hour” when they saw it, since they were behind me and thus above me on the stairs going down.

receiving my diploma photo by parents

Yes, yes I did put a glittery “Happy Hour” across the top of my cap… I wasn’t a big drinker back then, so maybe my amusement and use of that phrase was a strange foreshadowing of my later bartending. Or maybe I’m reaching with that…

We did give our parents a standing ovation, at which point I almost bawled. I am so lucky to have the most amazing parents in the world. I could never thank them enough for all that they do.

Again, some things never, ever change. And I am SO thankful for that.

with mom and dad

My turn came and…I honestly remember very little. LOL! I was so busy focusing on not tripping, trying to hear how much applause I got, making sure I shook President Gates’ hand and took the tube correctly, and making sure I was smiling for the camera. My brain was on overload. Suddenly the diploma is in my hand, I’m walking across the stage to shake hands with the Dean of Liberal Arts and then two guys from the Association of Former Students. I walked off the stage, shook hands with Dr. Walraven, Dean of Journalism, and then practically ran back to my chair.

getting my diploma

The important thing here was that I didn’t trip. Thank God. And I suppose I should add that my diploma really was inside the tube I was handed. That was pretty important as well.

We sang the Spirit of Aggieland, and then that was it! It was over! I was all graduated.

I didn’t have a job when I graduated. I was on a serious burn-out from having been taking classes almost non-stop for over a year. I had a degree, but no where to use it at that time. It was a little scary! I stepped off into the great big world with only the safety nets of a degree and amazing parents…

Ten years later, I look back and marvel a bit at all that’s happened in the last decade. I did use my degree for over a year at a small-town Texas newspaper. I still consider myself using it when blogging and doing any design work. I use it every day in ways I couldn’t begin explain.

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If I could give all graduating seniors from high school one piece of advice it would be to go to college. Even if you don’t know what you want to do or be. Go. Embrace it. Embrace both the in-class education as well as the life-in-general education you’ll receive. Because in four (five or six or however many) years you attend college, you’ll grow and change as much as you did from Kindergarten to 12th grade. College has a lasting effect well past the pomp and circumstance of graduation… well past the GPA you end up having.

In the 10 years since I graduated, I also got married and moved two states away from my family. I’ve traveled to places I never thought I’d travel. I’ve embraced my roll as a former student of Texas A&M University as an active member of my local A&M Club. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve had amazing successes. And all of them… ALL of them… were in some way an extension of what I learned during my time in college… even if the only thing tying it all together is the confidence and accomplishment I got from earning my degree.

I am the proudest member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 2003… and today I celebrate that fact more than ever.

class-seal

I am an Aggie

January 11th, 2013 2 comments

My Aggie RingThere’s a double-edged sword to having a great football season. You finally feel like your team is getting respect, but you also end up with a whole lot of people suddenly jumping on the bandwagon claiming to be a fan of your team.

I’m all about my Texas A&M Aggies gaining more fans! That’s great! But I also always kinda liked there being truth in the idea that if you see someone in a Texas A&M shirt, they went to school there. (Or are directly related to someone who did.) It somehow, in my mind, gave our fan base a huge level of credibility (or something like that.)

I overheard someone the other day, talking about Texas A&M and another person joke, “So you dragged that item of clothing out of the closet for the first time in how many years?” clearly poking fun at the other person as if they were a fair-weather fan. I think it was at that point that it hit me… there’s a lot of people who are fans only when we’re good who will suddenly be coming out of the woodwork to “claim” the teams success as their own.

This seriously bothered me for a long time, but in the end… I suppose its good. The more people who take note of TAMU in a positive light, the more they’ll notice all the other amazing things about the university that I love. The 12th Man. Muster. Corp of Cadets. Reveille. Silver Taps. Our many advances in the world of science and business. Our contribution to our military. Howdy, Dammit! and Whoop!

I am an Aggie. I have been since before I was even born. I went to school at Texas A&M Univeristy. I’m not just a fan. I AM an Aggie. I have the diploma on the wall to prove it. I wear my class ring every single day, proud of my accomplishment and my school. Even in our crappy years, I’ve worn my maroon with pride… happy to tell anyone who will listen that I am an Aggie. My blood runs a deep maroon and it always will. No one can take that away from me. No one ever will.

Categories: texas a&m Tags: ,

Always an Aggie

November 24th, 2012 1 comment

Back in August, I put my Aggie flag out by my porch.

Once an Aggie, always an Aggie.

I put it out feeling strongly we’d struggle this year. First year in the SEC. New coach. Everything in general said this would be a losing year. I didn’t care… I am an Aggie in my heart and in my blood. I’d fly my flag with pride.

Then… then we started winning. What?

Then Heisman talk started for our Freshman QB “Johnny Football.”

I started getting high fives in the bar on Saturdays, when I wear my Aggie gear to work.

We beat #1 Alabama.

Even more high fives. Even more Heisman talk. Stronger talk. Stats started to be thrown around. Texas A&M has been making waves this year. Ranked in the Top 10 going into our last week of regular season play. BCS bowl speculations.

Tonight, we go into our game against Mizzou — fellow former Big XII team now in the SEC. We’re favored to win, but I know better than to just expect it. Look at Alabama, Oregon and K-State this year alone.

Wrong, Feldman. It’s always felt good to be an Aggie. I’ve been proud to be an Aggie since the day I was born. We’re having a good year, yes. VERY good year. But I’m proud of my school even when we’re having an off year.

Win or lose. Always an Aggie.

Categories: texas a&m Tags: , ,

In remembrance of Aggie Bonfire…

November 17th, 2012 1 comment

13 years ago Bonfire collapsed. For anyone on the outside looking in… you could never understand the deep impact that event had on Aggies around the world… old, young, new army, old army. It touched us all. It broke all our hearts. It stands as a moment in time that will not be forgotten.

While Bonfire is no more (not officially) and we no longer play Texas… it still matters. And tonight… I will pause to remember.

Bonfire Memorial

11.18.1999 @ 2:42 AM

Video released for the 10 year anniversary of the collapse says more than I could put tonight words here.

 

 

There’s a spirit can ne’er be told… it’s the spirit of Aggieland…

Mind. Blown.

November 10th, 2012 1 comment

366: Happy BirthdayToday is my birthday. I had two wishes:

1. To feel good. I’ve been battling allergies that developed into a cold all week. My couch has been my favorite location in general. Getting out of the house was always welcome, but by the time we were heading home from just eating out, I was in pure misery. I wished for my PJs and couch.

2. For my Aggies to win. It was a stretch. Battling #1 Alabama. Everyone kept saying we had a good chance for a win, but I dared not get my hopes up too high.

What happened? I GOT BOTH MY WISHES!!

I woke up today feeling GOOD. I’m still a little congested, but I no longer have that crappy, icky feeling. I feel… well… GOOD. I got dressed up a wedding we were attending, and my only rough part was near the end of the ceremony when I desperately wanted to go blow my  nose.

After the wedding, we joined up with the rest of my local Aggies to watch the game. We got there at half time.

I think I aged more than a year in this day. I was literally shaking from head to toe through the last quarter. SHAKING. I wanted this win so bad, but it was still too much time left. As it ended, I was just numb. We did it. WE WON.

Then my Aggies sang Happy Birthday to me. And I am pretty sure I was beaming.

My husband and I are headed downtown to go out for awhile soon. Head over to the bar where I work (but took the night off) to celebrate. 32. I am 32. Whew. I gotta admit, I always thought my 30s would be the best decade and I can honestly say, so far so good! Looking forward to the year to come!!

WHOOP!!