Hey, crew. Take a very deep breath and close your eyes. We’re almost there.
I know we’ve been on about it all week. You might be tired of it. Maybe it’s a bit olde-men-yelling-at-clouds. But Aggies, we want y’all to be present in the moment tomorrow night, as Jimmy put it in the TAILGATE. If we had to sum that all up in one word, it would be LOUD.
producing or capable of producing much noise; easily audible.”they were kept awake by loud music”
synonyms:noisy, blaring, booming, deafening, roaring, thunderous, thundering, ear-splitting, ear-piercing, piercing;
with a great deal of volume.”they shouted as loud as they could”
We’re gonna keep this 100% positive this morning because there is a football game in under 36 hours. We all know how loud Kyle Field is capable of being by using the past as a measuring stick. But to be honest, none of us really know how loud the New Kyle Field really is. We’ve kicked the tires, but the envelope has yet to be really pushed.
Tomorrow night will probably be the first time many in the crowd will experience Kyle Field. Students who weren’t in town over the holiday weekend. Several thousand Clemson fans making the trek from the East. Various other guests that big-time games attract. We all know why the Hate Barn is so special. But sometimes it’s hard to articulate without getting wordy. Well, good thing we’re a blog.
So today is for sharing: what was your first experience at Kyle Field?
RC Slocum had two non-losing seasons during his tenure. The second one sealed his fate, but the first one in 1996 seemed somehow worse at the time.
A&M had just come off a 9-3 season, a top 15 finish in the polls, and a bowl win over Michigan. It was a new year in a new conference and the excitement was palpable. Y’all know the drill. They turned around and started the year 0-2 after road losses to BYU and Southwest Louisiana (yes, the Division II school that would later become Louisiana-Lafayette, scheduling was awesome back then). Y’all know that drill too.
I am not sure what I was expecting when I plowed through the turnstile that first time, but whatever it was, it wasn’t enough. The immensity of the building was overwhelming. It had a definite ‘80s Cold War tinge to it, but not in the way a dingy relic might. It was solid; it had lived through things. The climb up all the ramps to the very top of the third deck was incredible: every turn brought a better view, and as more and more of the crowd filtered out to the lower level entrances, it dawned on me just how many people were actuallly gathered there that Saturday to watch a winless Aggie team play North Texas.
I had been to one college game before that. About ten years earlier I went to DKR with a friend and his Tech parents to watch the Red Raiders beat Texas. They had escalators there, in the 1980s. It was fancy, and clean, and very impressive. It just wasn’t very intimidating. It was definitely a large venue sporting event, but it was more on the “Astros game” end of the spectrum.
What happened that day in 1996 against the Mean Green was therapeutic. It was redemptive and it sparked a new hope for the season. It was a thorough 55-0 thrashing of an inferior opponent. It looked like a practice. But somehow, what happened off the field was more impressive.
I was not prepared for the noise. That much noise, even after an 0-2 start and plummeting from #13 to unranked. The orchestrated and primal screams (we call ‘em “yells” to be polite), the in-your-face brassy thumping of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band, the cannons sending concussive ripples through the air after scores. This was a Loud that I hadn’t been privy to before. I liked it, and I liked it very much.
There is a reason the freshman wildcat is nothing but a constant and simple scream. You do not have the bandwidth to attempt any sort of variants on this while your brain attempts to process everything around you. There is too much: the game action, the Yell Leaders, the constant buzz of the crowd, the more rowdy ones who stood out, the coaches on the sidelines, and any number of other antics that naturally occur when 80,000 people gather to watch large men crash into each other at speed. This was narcotics for the senses, and for someone who had grown up playing football it was the perfect transition to viewership: at Kyle Field you are an active participant and you leave the game exhausted when it’s all over.
Standing there now two decades later, all the glittering and sparkling trinkets shining around you, it’s easy to forget the old damp and moldy corners. The raw concrete facades and the sunbleached wooden bleachers warped by thousands and thousands of feet stamping in unison. But underneath all the new jewelry, the body’s still the same: you can stand at the top and stare out over a whole gulf of air and space that encompasses so much: a hundred thousand souls, a television feed to the entire world, and the hopes of two large and rabid fanbases slugging it out on the distant and perfect grass.
Remember your first game at Kyle Field? Tell us about it. Then imagine tomorrow’s your very first trip all over again. Make the most of it.
Beat the hell out of Clemson. We’ll collect the best Kyle Field stories from the comments and run them in a piece tomorrow to help with game day preparations.