Writer’s Roost

An Aggie making a ‘dumb statement’? Aw, c’mon!



Recently a Texas A&M athletic department official was “disciplined” for derogatory remarks he posted about the school’s president on a popular Aggie website. And, he absentmindedly used an online handle that he’d used before, thus he was nailed.

Not only did he manage to disparage the Aggie president (which didn’t bother me one way or another, just lay off my friend, Chancellor John Sharp) but he made a remark that did tend to tick me off: “I don’t give a crap if the idiot (the Ag prez) does the dougie or the bernie or not. Be a frigging President or clear out. This is Texas A& M, not Sam Houston State.”

That did it. He stopped preaching and started meddling.

But, first a little background for complete understanding of my consternation.

My parents produced four sons of which I’m the eldest. I attended Sam Houston State University (then Teachers College) in the 1950s, then worked a while and transferred to the University of Houston where I earned a degree through night school while holding a full-time job.

Brother Number Two went to Navarro Junior College while working on the railroad, then transferred to Sam Houston where he achieved a bachelor’s degree, then did post graduate work at, ahem, A& M.

Number Three did a year at North Texas State before transferring to A& M where he attained his degree, while working at a fast food drivein.

And, Number Four, got his degree from — ta-dah! — UT (or as the Ags write it: “ut”). If you aren’t from Texas or haven’t lived here very long, that’s the University of Texas. Littlest Brother got married and his wife worked while he attended the Austin school.

Discussions about schools can get interesting any time the Webb brothers gather. So, I have a favorite story involving Sam Houston and the Aggies that I love to tell when my Aggie brother and my semi-Aggie brother are around. Naturally, UT brother really gets a bang out of this.

During my Sam Houston tenure, we had a week-long event each spring called Pioneer Roundup. Social clubs (we didn’t have fraternities and sororities at SHSTC then) teamed up and produced shows which were performed in structures made of sawmill slabs from pine trees. The “theaters” resembled old Wild West forts (no roofs). As one might expect, there was a stage, dressing rooms and seating in each theater.

Of course, 1950s A& M was strictly male and military. It occurred to some Aggie “fish” (freshmen) to try a late night raid on Huntsville to tear down some of those theaters. After that initial sneaky Aggie raid, Sam Houston students took action and formed a security organization, the members of which were deputized by the Walker County sheriff.

Sam Houston student security officers captured one of the recalcitrant Ags. He was “imprisoned” in a makeshift wooden “jail” on campus for several days. Actually, the Aggie had a really posh existence during his imprisonment. Sam Houston coeds (remember, there were no girls at A& M then) stopped and talked to him, brought him food and Cokes. But, after displaying him for a couple of days, we loaded him and his “cell” onto a railroad car and freighted him back to College Station.

Cooler heads prevailed at A& M and there were no further destructive forays to Huntsville to tear down our Pioneer Roundup “theaters.”

And, capturing and jailing the Aggie, then shipping him by rail back to College Station was great fun. Beat the heck out of cramming 20 students into a phone booth (no youngster today knows what that is) or trying to swallow a goldfish.

Today’s generation of students are prone to demonstrations and sit-ins for causes they espouse. Wonder what they do for fun.

WILLIS WEBB is a retired community newspaper editor-publisher. He can be reached by email at <wwebb@wildblue.net>

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