There’s something transcendent about beating a football rival. You float on air for hours and days afterward, colors come more sharply into focus, and the air around you is vibrant and crisp. Your cheeks are permanently creased in a smile and your feet never seem to touch the ground. Postgame 1999, I drifted with a group of friends from Kyle Field, over train tracks and fields, greeting everyone we met with ebullience and outright joy. We ended up in front of the West Campus Library, where one of us hopped on a spare bike, rode it into the lobby in a circle, screamed “BEAT THE HELL OUTTA TEXAS” to rancorous approval, and rode right back out and put the bike back in its place. And that was before any substances had even been consumed that day.
There are those who wish to diminish that sheer distilled exuberance because they think that sport should be measured by business principles instead of raw emotional delight. They are wrong, but they are loud and obnoxious, so they get more attention than they otherwise should. Except today on campus, when students will take part in a basic campus-wide opinion poll asking whether or not they’d like to see the A&M-Texas rivalry renewed.
The seniors on campus were barely in high school the last time the two teams played a football game. They have very little in the way of personal memories at stake. They’ve entered a bizarre Aggie world where so much of the school spirit is predicated on holding our own against that faincy school in Austin...that we do not play anymore. It’s bound to be confusing and frustrating. It’s how a parade of ridiculous alternative measuring sticks have been borne out over the years.
Let’s not pretend that this vote is going to spur any of the stiff suits on either side to remedy the situation. But it should give us a more accurate picture of what the students on campus would like to see happen, and an indicator of how present the very vocal BUSINESS MINDSET faction actually is within student ranks. These students have never experienced the Texas game, so they’ve never lost to Texas either. That inherent fear of losing won’t influence their decisions like it does for the pragmatic balance sheet crowd.
Football is fun, and it takes a very boring person to vote against fun.