A big part of Texas is, well, obviously the FOOTBALL. And sometimes, when your alma mater is several hundred miles and a timezone away (#GOIRISH), you have to settle on a closer, more accessible game to get your sportsball fix–which in my case is at Texas A&M. Arguably known as one of the more cultish schools in the state, A&M is full of tradition and football enthusiasts. I’ve even been told Kyle Field is “a magical place.” Below I outline the key steps to surviving a weekend in College Station without having actually been a student there.
Dress the part. The key to surviving any sportsball event of your non-home team is to blend in with the locals. I wore maroon jeans, a tan sweater, maroon scarf and rounded the whole look off with some cowboy boots. The boots were definitely key to camouflaging with the locals. Other acceptable things to wear included white, black, and lots of Kendra Scott. For the more dedicated pseudo-aggie supporter, if you get to College Station a bit early you can swing by Pine Boutique or Sabi Boutique to pick up something cute and maroon without A&M branding that you’ll actually wear again.
Speak their language. Occasionally when the Aggie team does something good you must elicit the proper verbal acknowledgement of support. Phrases that were helpful throughout the day included: “Gig’em,” “Howdy,” “Whoop,” and “Beat the hell outta [opponent name].” I also learned about “boot chasers,” the “wrecking crew” and when to hiss.
Attend the tailgates. For an evening game, the tailgates started around 2pm, stretch as far as the eye can see from the stadium. But don’t get too crazy because you have to make it to the bars afterwards.
Get ready to stand. Between tailgating and the game, you’re basically on your feet the entire day. If you’re in the student section, you only sit during half time. Something to facilitate your standing experience might include a Wake Me Up “shot.” Don’t ask me what’s in it, but basically you shot gun a Redbull full of various types of alcohol. It tastes like a jolly rancher and can be found at Cedar Lane.
Follow the men in white. They are called “yell leaders.” If you follow their arm movements, you will be lead through a series of cheers and spelling of letters and whoops. And as one of my Aggie friends told me, “If you haven’t lost your voice by the third quarter you’re doing it wrong.” Fun fact: Back in the day (aka 1800s) A&M was a college and they still have cheers that chant “T A M C” for Texas A&M College. #Tradition
Go with the flow. If someone puts their arm around your shoulder and crosses their leg in front of you, it’s fine. Do it too and sway accordingly.
Drink the local koolaid. Aka go out to the bars and do it right. Win or lose North Gate is the place to go:
- Drink a fishbowl at Paddock’s (bonus points if you actually eat the fish)
- Take a shot at Dry Bean, recommendations include: Menage a Trois, RoadHead, Rodeo Clown, Pissed Off Japanese Minnow Farmer, Duck Farts
- Jam to the DJ upstairs at the Backyard
- Take a Sunrise Sake Bomb at Sake Bar
- Dance on tables at Gatsby’s
- Enjoy a beer at Rebels
- Grab a late night bite at Dixie Chicken (Tijuana Fries are bomb!!)
- Find your way to the Foundation (aka “Foundies”) for sweaty dancing, football player sightings, and champagne showers (literally)
Even though A&M lost to Auburn when I was there, I still had a grand time and I loved how welcoming the Aggies were to visitors. After the game, people were shaking hands with Auburn fans and telling them good game. All the traditions and all of the cheers were really fun to be apart of. Texas A&M sure knows how to do football right!