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Skyrocket yell's lift-off should be grounded

Published: Wednesday, October 1, 2003

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 20:07

This year, the yell leaders have decided to launch a new Aggie yell called "Skyrocket." Unfortunately, a good number of Aggies were unprepared for its liftoff. Worse still, many who have heard the yell do not want to go along for the ride. The yell leaders should be commended for trying to induce change to their position, but the Skyrocket yell may not be the appropriate way to accomplish this. They should consider dropping the yell. Tim Bailey, head yell leader and a senior agricultural development major, said the Skyrocket yell was done between the 1940s and 1960s. He said he does not know why it is no longer performed as an Aggie yell. In explaining why the yell leaders decided to revive the yell, Bailey said it was "a great yell." Memorial Student Center assistant director and yell leader adviser Rusty Thompson also said the Skyrocket yell was a way to "bring back the old and the new." Trying to unite "Old Army" and "New Army" traditions is indeed a noble goal. But there are three reasons why the Skyrocket yell may not be the best way to do this. The first involves the deployment of the yell. Bailey said Skyrocket was first performed at Midnight Yell Practice for the Maroon and White game during Parents' Weekend last spring semester. It was also taught to freshmen during new student conferences and Fish Camp. Thompson said that the yell was also performed during the summer. Still, a good number of Aggies returned in the fall surprised by the yell's presence and did not know the words. Furthermore, there was no ready resource they could turn to learn the words to the yell. The Web site and the All-University calendar sold in the MSC have the words and the hand-signals for the other yells, but Skyrocket is not included in either case. This situation is put most succinctly by David White, a sophomore electrical engineering major, "When were we supposed to have learned that yell?" To their credit, the yell leaders went over the words at the Midnight Yell Practice before the Pittsburgh game on Sept. 27. But that still excludes those Aggies who were unable to go attend the yell practice. Another important reason why the Skyrocket yell may not be the best yell to bring back is that it introduces incongruity into the Aggie yell system. Aggies will notice that the yells performed have strong connections to the A&M community. For example, the "Military" yell recognizes A&M's penchant to produce heroes in the armed services. "Farmer's Fight" obviously alludes to A&M's roots as an agricultural school. Even "Locomotive" recognizes the trains that frequently pass right through the middle of campus. But what significance does a Skyrocket hold for the A&M community? Even though some aerospace engineering majors might disagree, the answer is none. Perhaps there is another yell with stronger roots in A&M's history. Another reason, and this is admittedly the most subjective of them all, is that there is something about the yell that is disconcerting. Somehow the sound of the yell just doesn't fit. It's the "eeeeeeeeeee" in the two "Whistle-eeeeeeeeeee" parts. It doesn't sound like a yell that could get the Twelfth man into the mood for a game. But again, this is an opinion purely based on one's taste. Bailey said he's received more positive feedback about the yell than negative. And he points out, some Aggies are resistant to change. That is true. But the yell leaders should also consider that Skyrocket may have been grounded because previous Aggie generations decided they didn't like it. Granted, there are some in this generation who like the yell. Indeed, the Class of 2007 probably knows and likes the yell the best. For example, George Stowe, a freshman general studies major who stood on second deck during the Pittsburgh Midnight Yell Practice, said he loved the Skyrocket yell. Still, there are many other Aggies who vehemently disagree with the yell. Perhaps they are not as public with their contempt, but they have taken to the Internet to voice their displeasure, such as the football forums. Most of the comments are against the yell, calling it "stupid." Furthermore, some say they will refuse to do the yell. It is important for Aggies to express their opinion of the yell, pro or con. But if they are against the yell, they must tell the yell leaders in the most respectful manner possible. Calling the yell "stupid" or hissing when the yell leaders give the pass back serves no purpose. Ultimately, the yell leaders must evaluate whether the new yell is causing a significant amount of Aggie disunity. If it is, then Skyrocket should be sent on a permanent blastoff.

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