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Photo by Keith Schneider
Texas A&M Football

Memories for a lifetime: Nick Schneider's special final visit to Kyle Field

April 22, 2024
19,538

This is a tragic story about the tribulations of life and enormous loss.

This is also a celebration of compassion and generosity, a bond between brothers and their mutual passion for Texas A&M sports.

There is a temptation to begin the story on Oct. 29, 2022, with a suite at Kyle Field as its setting. But this tale originates way before that.

It started on Feb. 23, 1980, in Temple, Texas.

That’s the day Nicholas Schneider, the second son of Michael and Kathy Schneider, was born.

Keith Schneider doesn’t really remember that day — he was only two when his newborn brother was brought to the family home in the country about 15 miles east of Temple.

But he remembers so many fun-filled days afterward.

“Not having neighbors forced us to be best friends,” Keith said. “We connected on fishing. In the summers, we’d wake up at 6 o’clock, jump on our four-wheelers and go run trot lines on a 10-acre lake by our house. We loaded our freezer full of perch.”

They shared more than a love for fishing. They shared a love for video games and baseball. They shared summer nights passing around a bottle of Boone’s Farm with Nick — a self-taught guitarist — serenading friends with songs by Robert Earl Keen and Pat Green.

And they shared dozens of autumn Saturdays breathlessly watching Texas A&M football games — sometimes at home on TV, sometimes at Kyle Field. They shared days commiserating Battered Aggie Syndrome.

“We would bitch and moan to each other, just like every other fan,” Keith said.

Keith Schneider
Nick and his wife Brandi.

Tragically, they both shared the pain of losing their mother to breast cancer in 2010.

Nick, too, had health issues. He was born with a liver condition that required annual check-ups.

During one of those check-ups in early 2022, Nick was diagnosed with liver cancer.

“He fought,” Keith said. “He never acted like he was defeated. He was gonna beat it. He went through treatment. But it had already metastasized throughout his body.”

The news of the diagnosis hit Keith almost as hard as it did Nick. It was another gut punch in what had become the worst year of Keith’s life.

That year, his brother-in-law passed away. His mother-in-law was diagnosed with a form of cancer. Even Keith’s two beloved dogs — Midas, a Goldendoodle, and Phoebe, a Maltipoo — crossed over the Rainbow Bridge.

But how do you react when your only sibling and best friend is facing cancer?

What do you do when you watch your 6-foot-2, 180-pound brother grow increasingly frail?

How do you cope when a big brother’s protective instincts are useless?

All Keith could do was try to bring as much happiness as possible into Nick’s remaining days.

Which takes the story back to Oct. 29, 2022.

The brothers certainly loved A&M football.

Keith, now 46, attended A&M and earned a psychology degree.

Nick went another direction and worked for Wilson Art in Temple for 23 years.

Though he didn’t attend A&M, Nick loved the Aggies as much as Keith did.

They spent a lot of fall Saturdays together. They watched dozens of A&M games. They celebrated victories. They lamented losses.

Keith wanted — perhaps needed — to experience another game with Nick at Kyle Field. He aimed to create a memory that would last a lifetime — one perhaps for several more decades, another for only a few more weeks.

Keith Schneider
From left to right: John Delao, Amber Sandefur, Brandi Schneider, Nick Schneider, Peyton Schneider, Mike Schneider, Justin Psencik and Keith Schneider.

Who wouldn’t want that? Who wouldn’t wish for just one more game with your father, your mother, your child or your sibling?

“I wanted to create a unique experience for him,” Keith said. “I knew this would be his last season.”

By late October, Nick’s health had deteriorated to a point where climbing the bleachers at Kyle Field wasn’t an option.

So, Keith posted on a TexAgs forum that he was seeking to purchase four to six tickets in a suite. He explained that he needed the suite because his brother was fighting cancer.

The plan was supposed to be a surprise. But it’s hard to keep a secret among hundreds of well-meaning Aggies who want to help.

“I guess somebody tweeted about the thread on TexAgs,” Keith said. “Nick reads it and says, ‘Holy crap, this guy sounds a lot like me.’ Then it was, ‘Holy crap, this guy is me.’”

Texas A&M donor Wayne Roberts saw the post and immediately responded. He contacted Keith. He was glad to help.

“I didn’t expect a handout,” Keith said. “I asked, ‘What do I owe you?’”

Keith Schneider
Wayne Roberts with Nick Schneider.

Roberts just said, “Aggies do not pay for seats in my suite.”

Roberts knew all too well what the Schneiders were enduring. He’d lost his wife, Shannon, to cancer on Jan. 17, 2001. Aggie Park, the green space across from Kyle Field, is dedicated to her memory.

Roberts did more than provide free tickets to his suite for Nick, Keith, their father, Keith’s son Peyton, Nick’s wife Brandi and Nick’s high school friend Justin Psencik. He also provided a catered meal that included Nick’s favorite foods, particularly red velvet cake.

Further, he gave them several pieces of Aggie memorabilia and A&M football, basketball and baseball gear — T-shirts, hoodies and shoes. Additionally, Nick was presented with an A&M football helmet signed by then-coach Jimbo Fisher.

During the game, A&M baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle came by to talk about fishing with them. Former football coach R.C. Slocum, who was also going through cancer treatment at the time, also paid a visit.

“It was a story of Aggies helping Aggies,” Roberts said. “Unfortunately, all of us are touched by this disease sometime in our lives.

“I remember people doing things for us just to take your mind off what you’re going through.”

By the end of the evening, it didn’t really matter that A&M lost 31-28 to Ole Miss. The experience of being together — of brothers sharing one more game — was enough.

Among Keith’s favorite memories of the evening was the impact it had on Brandi, a devout Texas Longhorns fan.

“She told me she would always be a Texas fan, but she’s now forever a Texas A&M fan,” Keith said.

“Honestly,” he added, “I think about that day almost on a daily basis.”

Two months later, Nick tripped over his dog while answering the doorbell. He broke a leg in the fall.  He was taken to Scott & White Hospital in Temple on Dec. 20. He never left.

Keith Schneider
Mike, Brandi, Keith and Nick Schneider with legendary Texas A&M head coach R.C. Slocum.

Nick was put in hospice care. The medicine he was taking slipped him in and out of consciousness.

But when he was coherent — and with Mike and Brandi in the room — Keith knelt beside his brother’s bed and told him the truth:

“This thing has got you,” Keith said. “You’re not going to go home. We’re going to be with you until you’re gone.”

Nick looked up at his brother, considered what he’d just heard, then said, “Well, ain’t that a bitch.”

He passed away on Christmas Eve. He was 42.

Almost two years later, recounting the story is still an emotional ordeal for Keith.

“He was only married about five years,” Keith said. “He was picky as hell and finally found somebody. They were trying to have kids. Just thinking about him wanting to have those experiences that will never come to fruition... ”

His voice cracks and trails off.

At least Keith has the memory of that final, wonderful Saturday night at Kyle Field.

In his mind, Keith can see Nick moved to tears by the display of love in that suite. He also can see Nick smiling while enjoying the game, the cake, the visits with “Schloss” and R.C. and the time spent with his brother.

Keith thinks about Nick often.

He recalls how talkative Nick was. How meticulously clean Nick kept the pickup truck he bought when he was just 20. He thinks about how Nick typically followed the rules, as opposed to Keith, who frequently bent them.

And, of course, he thinks about their shared passion for A&M sports.

He thinks about how they would be discussing Mike Elko’s plan for the football team. How they would be celebrating Schlossnagle’s No. 1 ranked baseball team.

If only they could.

“The baseball team is so good,” Keith said. “Every time they win, I find myself wanting to call him.”

Discussion from...

Memories for a lifetime: Nick Schneider's special final visit to Kyle Field

13,912 Views | 23 Replies | Last: 26 days ago by blkag71
Coachrich32
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Still drying my eyes... Aggies going above and beyond for each other!

HERE!
CCAD AG
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Quote:

"This thing has got you," Keith said. "You're not going to go home. We're going to be with you until you're gone."

Nick looked up at his brother, considered what he'd just heard, then said, "Well, ain't that a *****."

The worst possible diagnosis and outlook, followed by a truly HEROIC response. I pray that when my time comes I will be able to look at death and sarcastically taunt it the same way. With God, all things are possible.

Here.
KerrAg76
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HERE!

Nothing makes me prouder then when I see the Spirit of Aggieland at work.
SA-AG72
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Here. Cutting onions.
Detmersdislocatedshoulder
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there is only one texas a&m. we may have our flaws but by god the aggie spirit is special.
Gilligan
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Here!
Leander - Ag
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Beautiful. Here
pete85
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good bull… RIP Nick… gone way too soon… a man remembered is never forgotten!
TAMUallen
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The allergies are bad today. I'm glad there's goodness in the world
TexAgs23
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Such a heartbreaking story. I'm thankful for Wayne and his generosity and especially happy that you were able to spend that time with your brother... Here...
HouTXAg
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Here....and so grateful for the Aggie Spirit.
The Agly Duckling
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Holy Hell, man. Allergies!

God Bless and God Speed.

Here.
Gunny456
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Here.
Waffledynamics
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Here. To Nick!
BadgerAggie
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Sorry that he passed, hope you all find peace and comfort in the Lord. A&M is one special place.
CuervoAg
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Here.
"Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life son." -- Dean Wormer, Faber College President
lagoag
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Here
BadMoonRisin
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here. it's stories like this that make me proud to be an Aggie.
1954rs
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I'm an OU grad but my two boys are Ag grads. What a great story. A and M is a great university and my sons thrived there. Always root for the Ags unless they are playing the Sooners.
Max Power
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"The baseball team is so good," Keith said. "Every time they win, I find myself wanting to call him."
Whaler
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Great story.
Wayne Roberts has done so many good things for A&M. He's remarkable. So nice of Wayne, RC, Schloss, Keith and others to help make the day so memorable. Aggies helping others at its best.
aggie090
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HERE!

Incredible story!
blkag71
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HERE!!!
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