Missouri students visit enemy territory

Spencer Chimel grew up cheering for Texas A&M, before attending MU
Sunday, October 15, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:06 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Spencer Chimel, an MU junior, was supposed to be in College Station, Texas for Saturday’s game, but not necessarily under these circumstances.

Chimel is from Coppell, Texas and had planned to go to Texas A&M’s journalism school. But when a funding crisis threatened to, and eventually cut the journalism program at Texas A&M, Chimel’s plans changed and he chose to go to Missouri.

Saturday, he and two friends from MU, Alex Lewis and Brady Madsen, were tailgating outside of Kyle Field and eating sand bass caught by Chimel’s high school friends.

“It’s really nice that I know almost everybody here,” Chimel said.

Chimel couldn’t decide whether he wanted to wear Aggie maroon and support the team he grew up cheering for, or to wear the Missouri black and gold and take a chance of wearing enemy colors in the middle of the Texas A&M student section in the third deck of Kyle Field. He decided to wear his Missouri gear and said he already was on the receiving end of a few dirty looks and a few comments from Aggies’ fans.

“I might get my butt kicked, but it’s worth it,” Chimel said.

After driving down to Dallas on Thursday, Chimel, Lewis and Madsen all paid a visit to Chase Daniel’s high school, Southlake Carroll, on Friday. Southlake Carroll won 52-14 against Haltom.

“Tickets weren’t that hard to get, we got ours for seven bucks,” Chimel said. “But we left when it was already 42-0 or something like that.”

Saturday was a little like a high school reunion for Chimel, who also went with a few friends to the Independence Bowl in December. It was a bonding experience to say the least.

Brent Lynz, a good friend of Chimel’s and a senior at Texas A&M, enjoys telling the story of their arrival in Shreveport, La.,for the Independence Bowl.

“When we rolled up in Shreveport, there was this strip mall and there was a place called ‘Jay’s Grillz’ which was a place that you could get a grill for your teeth,” Lynz said. “That was our introduction to Shreveport.”

Of course, after Missouri went down 21-0 to South Carolina, they almost left in disgust. They still laugh about the opportunity they could have passed up to see the comeback victory.

ALUMNI TAILGATE: The Missouri Alumni Association helped College Station, Texas, feel a lot like Columbia for many fans.

An estimated 350 people attended the association’s tailgate. On the outside, the tailgate looked like any other, but on the inside of the large white tent it sounded like a Missouri game with a recording of Marching Mizzou playing “Eye of the Tiger,” “Hey Baby,” and other songs played at football games.

The association sets up tailgates for road trips a few times per year, said Todd McCubbin, executive director of the Alumni Association.

“We have a lot of Texas alumni and we have a lot of folks who like to travel down to A&M every four years to watch a game,” McCubbin said. “It’s a good place to watch a game, so you get a lot folks from Missouri who like to put this on the calendar and try to come down.”

McCubbin said about half the alumni were from Texas and about half were from Missouri, though he mentioned alumni from California, Connecticut and New York also made the trip. The association will also have a tailgate at Nebraska and possibly Iowa State because of the excitement surrounding the team’s success this season.

McCubbin said Texas A&M and Missouri have a lot in common when it comes to campus traditions.

“What I like about Texas A&M is that they match our passion for their traditions,” McCubbin said, comparing some of the Aggies’ traditions, such as Midnight Yell Practice and the 12th Man to Homecoming and Tiger Walk at Missouri.

LATE-NIGHT ACTIVITIES: Grant Castleberry wasn’t impressed with Branson or the rest of the Show-Me State on a recent trip to Missouri.

Castleberry, the Head Yell Leader at Texas A&M, excited thousands of Aggie fans early Saturday at Midnight Yell Practice by making fun of Missouri. Some of the loudest cheers came at the start of practice when Castleberry said the crowd, known at the 12th Man, would cause Chase Daniel and the Tigers to have false starts because the Missouri players would be unable to hear the quarterback’s calls.

Midnight Yell Practice is a tradition that dates back to 1931 at Texas A&M. At Saturday’s practice the first two levels of stands at the south side of Kyle Filed were completely packed, along with the overflow going up to the upper-deck seats.

At practice, students, alumni and fans practice yells such as “Farmers Fight”, “Gig ‘em” and “Aggie War Hymn” in preparation for the game.

The Aggies’ basketball team also made an appearance at Yell Practice. Players were introduced in front of the crowd then attempted a dunk or a long-range shot.

HAIL TO THE CHIEF: About 45 minutes before the start of the game, former President George H. W. Bush was out walking around Kyle Field. Bush shook hands and then posed for photographs before there were many fans in the stands. Once it got closer to game time, the movable section of stands he was in was moved out and Bush left the field. Texas A&M media relations members said he attends a few home games every year.

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