Yesterday, I went to my first ever American Football game and I can honestly say it was an experience that I will never forget.
I got up early in the morning and tried to prepare myself for the day to come not knowing exactly what to expect. After meeting up with a few friends, we proceeded to go tailgating – a time honoured tradition which draws tens of thousands of people to the campus in what can only be described as a picnic on steroids. We walked around got some food and gawped at the massive tents playing loud music, filled with people gathered around large flat screen TV’s huddled in anticipation for the important game that was to come.
When it was time, we went to queue to get into the near 105,000 seater stadium. The atmosphere was electric. A&M fans dressed all in maroon for the game that would decide who would be the team to watch in the SEC (after Alabama). As everyone filtered in, there was lots of banging on metal, a little tune that alerts the crowd to Whoop on cue.
The game started with bang. Quick play on both sides followed. The Aggies kicked of the scoring for the match scoring a touchdown and converting it in the first 8 minutes of play. By the end of the first quarter however, we were up 21 – 7. This score did not change as the second quarter progressed, stuck by drawn out plays and turnovers here and there. The yells from the crowd punctuated every break in play. The Aggies played aggressively but the Volunteers were having none of it.
The Fightin’ Texas Aggies band took centre stage during half time, displaying the largest band of its kind in the US. The crowds cheered as they marched in formation. When they were done, we were finally allowed to sit down. Tradition dictates that students must stand and be ready as the “12th Man” during games, sitting only for half time and out of respect for injured players.
The second half commenced with more fumbles but a well placed touchdown by the Volunteers. The fourth quarter highlighted the pattern that the Aggies and Volunteers have been following all season, the Aggies fading while the Volunteers manage to scrape it back. The last quarter saw 5 touchdowns, the last 3 within the last few minutes of play and the final one merely 40 seconds before the game was over equalising the score and sending the game into overtime.
Both teams held strong in overtime. Tennessee scoring a field goal in the first round of overtime – A&M returning the favour. The stands were quiet as the crucial second round began. The Aggies score a touchdown – all they had to do now was prevent Tennessee from doing the same. With bated breath the crowd watched as the ball was passed. There was an eruption of shouts as the ball was intercepted by A&M securing our 6th win this season.
As the game ended, the Corps of Cadets streamed onto the pitch and tackled the Yell Leaders who then went on to lead a round of the Aggie War hymn. Overall, it was an exciting and tense game that will go down in history. Turnout was recorded at near 106,000 spectators. Now, as next week is a by-week, we look towards the match against Alabama in two weeks. Hopefully, the team will remain strong and BTHO BAMA.
Yesterday was a shocking day as I was surprised to see myself engrossed in a game that I had only very recently learnt. It is definitely something that should be on the to do list of anyone coming to A&M. Just don’t expect to have your voice the next day.