Apparently there’s a football game tonight.
Yesterday we talked first impressions of Kyle Field and asked for stories. Now we’re gonna share a few of them as promised. Curl up on the tailgate sofa and get comfy and nostalgic:
Sam Houston State 1997
This was my first game. I came from a town of about 6k people with a 3A school. Our football games had about 200-300 people in attendance counting the guys on the field. I was not prepared for: a) the majesty of the stadium, b) the memorable odor of bat/pigeon/possibly homo sapiens fecal residue in the rafters, and c) the sound of a full student section shouting in unison. Mother….of….God. It still brings a tear to my eyes. I also enjoyed the wins because on the 3 hour march down the ramps from the 3rd deck, we got to sing the War Hymn on endless loop. I can’t sing and I certainly don’t sing in front of people. I only make exceptions for God in church and the Aggie War Hymn.
From Aggie 1937 & 2000:
My first game at Kyle...
…was the same game as Rush mentions in the article: A&M vs UNT, 9/21/1996. I was a freshman at A&M, and despite some initial reluctance to dive in to the whole Aggie thing, I had by that time been fully indoctrinated. I had a “0” shaved into my head, joining all of the other freshmen letterheads from Hart Hall to spell out the entirety of “FIGHTIN TEXASAGGIE CLASS OF 00.” The night before, I had been to my first Midnight Yell, mugged down with a random girl there, and drank the night away at an afterparty. I remember finding it difficult to remember all of the yells, difficult to stand up all game on the wiggling bleacher seats on the upper deck, and yelling my head off as we trounced UNT.
One area where my experience differs from Rush’s is the noise. I remember actually being somewhat disappointed in the volume. I come from a long line of Aggies, and I had heard so many of them talk about how loud Kyle Field was. But from my experience at the very top of the third deck, I was expecting more. What I would later learn as I gained some seniority was that the real place to experience the actual deafening, ear-splitting noise of Kyle Field is from the first deck. When you are at the very top of third deck, all of the people around you and below you are directing their voices down to the field, so you’re not really getting anywhere close to the full brunt of that noise. When you’re sitting down by the field, however, holy hell! Having roughly 30,000 voices pouring down directly into your ear holes is an experience like no other. So I was a dumb freshman, is what I’m saying.
First home game of my freshman year, 1981
This story isn’t about noise, because we won handily and the outcome was never in doubt. But it’s a great memory.
I didn’t grow up in an Aggie family, so the first time I was in Kyle Field was the first home game of my freshman year. Fall of 1981, night game. Third deck, student side, near the top, roughly lined up with the south goal line. When we’d picked up the tickets I’d been so disappointed to have just about the worst seats in the student section. But it was amazing! The whole stadium was right there, laid out before us.
It was the year before Jackie Sherrill arrived, so Tom Wilson was the coach, and Gary Kubiak was our quarterback. We played Louisiana Tech, who featured my former high school quarterback, Matt Dunigan, under center. (Dunigan went on to have a Hall of Fame career in the CFL.) We won easily. It was a wonderful night.
But here’s what I remember most: back then, the north end zone was just a single-deck horseshoe, and from our vantage point, we could see down Wellborn road far into Bryan. In the third quarter, just as we were feeling confident that we had the game in hand, a freight train approached from the north, and the engineer started blowing his whistle just about the time he passed Northgate. He was leaning out the window, waving excitedly. Nobody on the Old Ags’ side could see him, of course, or in the horseshoe; just the upper decks of the student section. We yelled and waved back. He might have been able to see the scoreboard, or he could have been listening on the radio, but there’s no way to know.
What I do know is that it was clearly a high point of the engineer’s run that night. I’m sure it’s boring most of the time, being an engineer on a freight train. But once in a while, you would happen to cruise through College Station when a game was going on, and you’d get to—just for a bit—join in the fun and share in the excitement. And we students welcomed him. Maybe he was a fellow Aggie, but who really cared? It was Aggie football in Kyle Field, on a beautiful September night, and to top it all off, we were winning! Join in! Come one, come all!
These days, that really can’t happen anymore. Don’t get me wrong: I love the new Kyle Field! But I can’t help thinking that now the trains are closed off from that view. There are a lot more Aggies in the stadium yelling for our team, and that’s fantastic. But the engineers on the trains? Now they just catch a glimpse of the excited fans through the gaps at the corners as they go by. Not much of a reprieve from the boredom.
And the students miss out, too. I can say from experience: it’s a wonderful thing to know that a random passerby is sharing your celebration.
A&M - LSU 2016 (sappiness warning)
I was about 14 at the time. That was the year I’d first really gotten into college football (in part due to this site), and my brother was still going to school at A&M, so my parents and I drove up and watched the game with him and his girlfriend. I had been having a really shitty day due to some nasty family stuff that had been going on, but the second I saw Kyle Field in person all that didn’t matter. That was the site of the games of the team I’d grown to love, and the community I escaped from the nastier parts of my life to. Everything about it felt special. These were the people who even online felt like family, and I was right there with tens of thousands of them. The passion and the energy everyone had and that connection Ags throughout generations and cultural and political lines was already overwhelming online, but in person, it was really something else. Even when I had no friends and felt horrible, saw my family tearing itself apart, and hated myself intensely, I always had the shitposts and camaraderie of the Aggie community to escape to and forget everything with.
My family was in the visitors section because the tickets were cheaper, and as is typical of the Aggies, the team’s performance was pretty disappointing, and watching us get torn up in while standing in a section full of drunk Cajuns kinda sucked, but I was still happy to have that shared experience with everyone in the stadium instead of in front of the TV or on a questionably-legal streaming site. We left a little early to get home at a good time. I dejectedly ate a pack of sour skittles on the way back. We lost, but I’m glad I went, and my family and I are doing it all over again this Thanksgiving. Can’t wait to get back to College Station and Kyle Field for the second time this year.
Maybe this post was a little overpersonal or sappy or something, but that was my first Kyle Field experience as a teen-angsty football chick. Hope it was a good read.
Dateline: November 25, 1993, College Station, TX
I was a Junior in HS and my brother was a sophomore at A&M. We had Thanksgiving with family in Gatesville, TX. My brother & I went down for the game that evening. Our seats were three rows from the top in the third deck, probably about 20 yd line. Coming from a town of less than 1000 people, a place like that just blew my mind. I may have gone to an A&M v. tech game in Lubbock before this, but it just did not compare. The weather was miserable, as the scoreline says freezing drizzle, I swear we saw snow flurries up in the stratosphere of 3rd deck.
Texas had taken a lead on two field goals in the second quarter. On the kickoff following the 2nd field goal, Leland McElroy ran it back 108 yards for a score. During the celebration, one of my brother’s buddies was jumping up and down. When he slipped off the metal bleacher, he skinned his leg from the ankle to the knee. He bled (maroon blood, of course) for the rest of the game which the Ags came out victorious 18-9. It was a fun, loud, entertaining game. I could hardly talk that night, or next day. That is what sold me on following my brother to A&M.
The night at his dorm room after is a story for another time.
There are plenty more—read all the stories here. Gig ‘em and happy game day