Beyond the 12th Man

By 54b

Did you ever think you'd see the day when Texas A&M would have to get a restraining order against another fan base for trying to be like them?

From Midnight Yell Practice, to the Twelth Man, to playing tonsil-hockey with collies after the football team scores... if the Aggies are known for anything, it has to be all of those trend-setting traditions. Rhythmic chants and hokey rituals, which seem totally insignificant and superficial to most outsiders, are the very backbone of a fanatical belief system so integral to university life at A&M that each member of the incoming freshman class must attend a three-day seminar called "Fish Camp" to get formally edumacatged before starting classes.

Make no mistake - these people are religious zealots. If A&M's mascot, Reveille, a Collie who ranks as the highest member of their corps (ROTC), so much as takes a dump on the way to a game, the cadets will pick up the feces, parade it around, and then give it a proper military burial at sea by flushing it down a commemorative toilet which deposits waste in a special septic tank under the Kyle Field scoreboard for good luck...   Okay, I may be selling their commitment to traditions a little short with my silly example, but the point is that Aggies hold on to their traditions like white trash on Velveeta. And from what I can tell, it doesn't take much for the Aggies to start up a new tradition (or file suit against another team to protect one).

So in honor of Texas A&M's recent lawsuit against the Seattle Seahawks for stealing their Twelfth Man Tradition, I'd like to share three other Aggie traditions for which the copyrights are still pending:

THE 13TH MAN

I'm sure you're all familiar with the Twelfth Man and its symbolic significance pertaining to the Aggie fan base and their readiness to support their team at all times. Like the 12th Man, the 13th Man also supports the Aggie football team with religious fervor and extreme prejudice, but in a sort of misguided way. The 13th Man is easy to recognize because he is often seen wearing three different shades of Maroon, jean shorts, and, when properly lubricated with Boones Farm or Antifreeze (usually depends which one is on sale), talks more trash than any two actual A&M students put together.

The irony of the 13th Man is that he didn't actually attend Texas A&M but he feels his backwoods, East Texas upbringing warrants an honorary Doctorate in Animal Husbandry anyway. And since he never actually attended Fish Camp, the 13th Man rarely fully grasps the true meaning of the traditions being displayed around him and frequently "whoops" at the wrong time (like at my wedding) and sways in the wrong direction. When asked to join pinkies in the traditional satanic love call, he often offers the wrong finger, usually the more vulgar and banal middle finger.

Moreover, the 13th Man has never actually been to Austin but considers it the gateway to hell. And though he has no clue as to who or what "Ole Varsity" is, he keeps an 18-volt cordless circular in the back of his pick-up just in case he ever meets him and needs to saw his horns off. And though his acute dyslexia probably prevented him from completing the 6th grade, the 13th Man is often credited with coming up with the saying: "Beat the hell out of T.U."

THE PAINTING OF THE OVERALLS

Aggies are sometimes called "Fighting Farmers" and since overalls are considered standard issue for all plowboys, I guess a couple of enterprising, young Aggies wanted a little extra mojo for Gameday, so they decided to put "war paint" on their dungarees. Think of it like Braveheart meets Green Acres. I know what you're thinking and no, this is not some new fashion fad from the FFA, nor a fancy marketing ploy devised by those clever anorexics at Abercrombie to separate dumb coeds from Daddy's money. Quite to the contrary, in this case, the bigger your ass is, the better, because that means you've got more canvas, or billboard space, on which to propagandize. And there is no shortage of big asses in College Station (even though the average width of a seat at Kyle field is a mere 10 inches).

Most Aggies paint their graduation date and some derogatory slur towards the Longhorns on their overalls, but really, the creative possibilities are endless. Anyone who graduated from Kindergarten or holds a master's degree from A&M in Color by Numbers can do it. The administration just asks that you color responsibly and reminds you to give the paint plenty of time to dry before coming to the game.

BUMPER STICKER BLACKOUT

There is no refutable data on the subject, but I'm quite sure Texas A&M leads the nation with the highest sticker to bumper ratio. No one, and I mean no one, puts more (or bigger) decals advertising their school on the back of their cars than the Aggies. Many of them even go as far as to place Longhorn stickers with the horns cut off on their back windshields. I imagine drivers from out of state must think they've rolled up on some animal-sacrificing cult when passing through College Station. As far as I know, vehicular sticker abuse is not against the law, but do you really need seven stickers to tell the world that "your daughter and your hegemony" go to A&M?

Maybe on some retarded level, the more stickers you have on your bumper means the more support you're willing to give in Aggieland, but I'm thinking the larger than life "ATM" Sticker (which doubles as an eye chart for moles) is sufficient enough without having to add the "Gig'em" thumbs-up bumper sticker, 12th man mud flaps, Loyal to the Corps curb finders, and bonfire-replica dashboard air-freshener. Don't get me wrong - I'm all for school spirit, but if the only thing you can see in your rearview mirror is a diorama of Old Sarge urinating on a Bevo plush toy, you might want to consider getting a new hobby (and a life).

A NOTE FROM THE TEXAS A&M LEGAL COUNSEL

The 13th Man, its subsidiaries, and any & all likenesses are legally protected under Texas state law. Any attempt to incorporate the 13th Man, any derivative thereof, and/or any images involving sexual relations between animals and human beings is strictly prohibited. Additionally, any attempt by other high schools to utilize "maroon," "overalls" and "incest" in a profitable marketing campaign is forbidden by law.

--54b--

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