Photo by Beau Holder, TexAgs.com

It's Official: In leaving for SEC, A&M is coming home

By Beau Holder

More from Beau
July 1, 2012
10219

Once upon a time, I called South Carolina and Georgia home.

Though a born-and-raised Texan, and damn proud of it, I have experienced my own taste of life in SEC country and known well the feeling of growing up in the region. The Atlantic side of the Deep South shaped the back two-thirds of my adolescence, all through high school, where I graduated in Kingsland, Ga. Its touch lingers with me to this day.

But the years passed, as they always do; my friends and I graduated, parting ways at life's fork and heading off to college all over this land many call 'SEC country.' To Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Florida, UGA, Auburn and LSU they all went. Me? I came home to call myself an Aggie.

At the time there was never a thought given to the idea of residing in a conference other than the Big 12. There was no Legend of the Bowtie. Not yet. R. Bowen Loftin sat as merely the school's interim president and the bulk of Mike Sherman's tenure in Aggieland had yet to play out.

Funny how times change. On this long-awaited date, SEC country has annexed the great State of Texas; Texas A&M is headed to the greenest of pastures. This conference, with these people, on this road ahead ... it's exactly where A&M belongs.

Andrew Kilzer, TexAgs Free at last, A&M will finally get to assume the cultural unity it shares with its new brethren in the League of Champions.
Ags, welcome home.

So many have discussed the obvious advantages to the move for the Aggies — financially, competitively, increased exposure. For all those reasons and more, the move was a no-brainer.

But the true beauty in the new conference home, the perfect fit lost in the shuffle, is the cultural cohesion A&M is about to slip into.

A new generation of Aggies will grow up looking at Arkansas and LSU, maybe even South Carolina, in a similar fashion to the way A&M's old Big 12 rivals were seen. The annoyance and contempt engendered by the antics of Baylor and Texas Tech, the loathing Texas brought on itself with its air of superiority and selfish maneuvering, will cede way to the kind of old-fashioned, between-the-lines hatred bred from respect and competition with high stakes.

What will be lost is the familiarity, the in-state battles, the way everyone knew groups of friends that went to BU, and Tech, and Texas.

But see, that's just the thing about the SEC. It's not about one state, or specific histories between a pair of schools. It's about a shared culture — the culture of the South. There is no awkward assembly of four Texas schools with the old Big Eight, transmuted into a conference functioning out of necessity, bereft of camaraderie. This is a region with its own history, its own nearly homogeneous blend of tradition and morality.

The values represented along the line of SEC schools from Louisiana to the Atlantic Ocean aligns with what Aggies believe in on a level that the products of Austin, Waco and Lubbock never could. The hypocrisy exuded by Baylor, Texas' constant self-aggrandizement veiled by silver tongues, that won't be found here. The people who grew up in this area, who make their homes here, never pretend to be something they're not. They abhor the idea.

It's a culture of levying appropriate hate when the game rolls around, yet sharing a beer or three before and after. It's a habit of rolling up one's sleeves in the morning, then going out on the boat that evening, not deigning to hold grudges over life's trivialities.

It's a region-wide environment of assumed meritocracy, where a man and a school alike earn their stripes the right way rather than through spin, loopholes and usurpation. It's a religious land with a deep, deep respect for those who serve in the armed forces, something A&M is quite familiar with. And it's a group of people that, when they choose what to be dedicated to, add a new sense to the word.

More often than not, sports ranks high among those pursuits.

Beau Holder, TexAgs.com A&M's tradition will be welcomed with enthusiasm in a league already dripping with it, evident in sights like Toomer's Corner (seen being rolled after the Miss. St. win).
These people experience fandom at 100 miles per hour, tailgating as though their very lives were weaved together for its enjoyment, subsisting on a collective obsession that often outreaches that of even the most starved Aggies. Vacations, weddings, parties, perhaps even child conception, all planned around schedules and the big games, spreading a blazing sense of unity everywhere one goes on Saturdays in the fall or weekends in the spring.

Aside from the extremely entertaining and tradition-laden Ole Miss-Mississippi State and Auburn-Alabama rivalries, along with Vanderbilt and Tennessee, there is no competition between in-state schools in this conference, no added stress of handling politics and toeing lines within one's own border. It's simply the best pitted against the best each week with conference supremacy, not petty bragging rights, on the line.

Prepare to make friends everywhere you go — so long as you can take it, and you can dish it.

The best college sports has to offer await, from the majesty of Bryant-Denney to the energy at Jordan-Hare and Toomer's Corner, the Left Field Lounge at Mississippi State baseball and basketball trips to Florida and the legendary Rupp Arena. Conference brethren will likewise flock to see Kyle Field and Blue Bell Park, the newest quality additions to a list — far too long to ramble off here — of annual sights that make up the SEC.

Regardless of what internet denizens have to say about the Aggies' move to the nation's best conference, real-life fans of schools all over the Deep South welcome the competition from one of the Lone Star State's flagship institutions. The fans of the SEC see not only the value Texas A&M brings, but the way it represents a long-lost brother.

The argument, perpetuated by A&M's enemies, that years will come and go before the Aggies can compete will be resolved when the time comes.

For now? More money, more exposure, more good times, more thrills. And a conference where both sides of this new family are built to welcome the other in a way the Big 12 never could.

It's a brave new world the University sets off in, but you'll see. It's a far, far better home we go to, than we have ever known.
Tags: SEC, Texas A&M, 2012
Discussion from...

It's Official: In leaving for SEC, A&M is coming home

Well said sir!
So true! I will be celebrating a&m's arrival in sec with family in baton rouge this weekend! It is like a homecoming!
Texags has achieved a level of perspicacity heretofore unseen. One hopes that further displays of erudition will become commonplace as the journey amongst our genteel Southern brethren is manifested. Gig 'Em!!

A positive attitude may not solve all of your problems but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.

If you argue with a madman, it is extremely probable that you will get the worst of it; for in many ways his mind moves all the quicker for not being delayed by the things that go with good judgment.
quote:
like a long lost brother


SEC.
M2Spider...
I live by your signature regarding "positive attitude", and know it to be true.
With permission, I would like to use it as my signature as well.
Best Regards.

[This message has been edited by TAMU74 (edited 7/1/2012 10:06a).]
Beau,
Well written. I have spent some time in SEC land and could not agree more!
Very good atricle, Welcome!
Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton, old times there are not forgotten!
I went to A&M because I wanted to get away from home. Home sucks. East Texas and beyond is basically The Postman.

Kevin Costner's movie, not the book.

I went to College Station and thought "wow...how nice it is here. It's great. The people are so polite and friendly and I'm so very far away from southeast Texas and all the t-shirt tea-sips and LSU fans. It's spectacular. Wow. Just wow. How amazing."

So. Great. Thanks for dragging me back, kicking and screaming, to a place I have spent my entire life trying to keep in the rear view mirror. I do appreciate it. I just adore reading LSU t-shirt fan postings on texags and I JUST CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF ****ING DIXIE-ERA SONGS/CONFEDERATE BATTLE MUSIC. I JUST LOVE THAT. IT GIVES ME AN ERECTION. BLUE VEINY STEEL, BABY.

I can cut feldspar with my mighty organ. Feldspar. I'm gonna go out into the quarry right now and jackhammer out some garden rocks.
Well said man.

I live in SEC coutnry. Had Bama & Tenn grads telling me yesterday how well we will fit into the culture. They're as excited to have us as we are to be here. BOTH grads couldn't wait to watch their team play in Kyle & said they WILL be making the road trip. We're in a different land boys. Baylor didn't bring 8K fans from right up the road!!!

________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
"Where do you want your statue Dr. Gates?"
A&M Undergrad - Dec '09
A&M Master of Health Administration (MHA) - May '12

[This message has been edited by Aggie MHA (edited 7/2/2012 1:14p).]
Fantastic article!
A lot of excitement right now for you guys, here's to hoping you made the right move
"I live in SEC coutnry. Had Bama & Tenn grads telling me yesterday how well we will fit into the culture. They're as excited to have us as we are to be here. BOTH grads couldn't wait to watch their team play in Kyle & said they WILL be making the road trip. We're in a different land boys. Baylor didn't bring 8K fans from right up the road!!!"


---why don't u wait until a minimum of 10 years of playing in this league before u compare 1st year away teams attendance to decades of opposing teams coming to Kyle Field. Also, didn't Baylor boycott that game for a reason? idk
quote:
"I live in SEC coutnry. Had Bama & Tenn grads telling me yesterday how well we will fit into the culture. They're as excited to have us as we are to be here. BOTH grads couldn't wait to watch their team play in Kyle & said they WILL be making the road trip. We're in a different land boys. Baylor didn't bring 8K fans from right up the road!!!"


---why don't u wait until a minimum of 10 years of playing in this league before u compare 1st year away teams attendance to decades of opposing teams coming to Kyle Field. Also, didn't Baylor boycott that game for a reason? idk


8k for a Baylor away attendance? Most years they barely got that at home games.
A few days late, but welcome to the SEC.
I agree with the author. I could never understand those who said we shared no common tradition or culture. I live in Alabama. If I were to visit College Station, Eugene, Ann Arbor and Boston -- where do you think I would feel more at home?

If someone from College Station were to visit Tuscaloosa, Berkley, Camp Randall and Syracuse -- where do you think they would feel more at home?

It does feel like a home-coming.
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