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Bye-bye Bears

Austin Meek: Aggie baseball needs to beat Baylor, for old times’ sake

Published: Friday, April 20, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 20:07

men baseball

Talya Lazerus — THE BATTALION

Senior Matt Juengle and the Aggies will need to have hot bats against the Bears.

Consider this a formal petition to President R. Bowen Loftin and the other powers that be: We need a Dia del Perro. Essentially, it’s a school-wide holiday with classes cancelled and chained school-children set free, the sole purpose of which to honor everyone’s favorite dog, Reveille.

There’s a similar festivity that happens annually in Waco called Dia del Oso, “The Day of the Bear.”

When I trekked north on Highway 6 on Thursday to take part in Dia madness, I nearly drowned in a sea of neon tanks, fanny packs and holiday-related puns. Imagine a scaled-down version of Chilifest, taking place in someone’s backyard, with a DJ from Red Bull slinging out energy drinks from a T-shirt cannon.

Walking around 10th Street, sifting painfully through homogenous ciphers of college students while attempting to find my friends, I was finally hit with the finitude of our school’s move to the SEC. I may end up in Waco for a game weekend some fall, but it will never carry the same implications.

Texas A&M and Baylor have faced each other since 1899. At Baylor’s homecoming football game in 1926, when a riot broke out after a Baylor girl fell off a parade float, A&M student Charles Sessums took a folding chair to the head and died shortly afterward, and the schools ceased athletic competition against one another for five years. The blood runs deep between these schools — literally — and it’s bad.

I realize that school in Austin is our primary rival, but I am going to miss playing Baylor every year. As reticent as most Aggies are to admit it, t.u. has bested us in many of the most visible sports (namely football, and, namely, in the last decade). For the most part, though, we’ve kept Baylor under our thumb, like a little brother you hold at arms length while he flails trying to land a punch.

That is, until this year.

First it was the season of Robert Griffin III. That 55-28 home victory tasted sweet, but I’d gladly have taken a loss against the Bears if it meant our quarterback could’ve hoisted the Heisman at season’s end.

Then came basketball, where both Baylor’s men’s and women’s teams thoroughly throttled our squads in all four meetings. Watching Quincy Miller skip off the Reed Arena court “gigging” the student section made me vomit in my mouth. Watching Brittney Griner cut down the nets in Denver after a 40-0 season made me spew that vomit all over my t.v. screen and wonder why a just and gracious god had forced me to endure a season of such cruel mockery.

The little brother finally landed a punch. And it happened to be a haymaker.

This crazy, unforeseen series of events leads us to Friday’s game, when No. 6 Baylor will amble down the Brazos in hopes of besting our No. 2 Aggies. The Bears come in hot, riding a 20-game winning streak, and have a mind to steal Friday’s game as well as the Saturday and Sunday contests in Waco.

Back at Dia del Oso, the Kappa Sigma fraternity puts on a low-hoop dunk contest. This year, some kid threw down a flaming basketball. Two years ago, a buddy of mine was pulled by a motorcycle on a skateboard, launched off a ramp and jammed down the hammer home before being doused in the spray of literally hundreds of beers.

This year’s dunk contest was emceed by none other than Perry Jones III, the Baylor basketball stud and future NBA lottery pick who may have gone No. 1 if he spent a little more time working on his post moves. He and other members of the team were at the Kappa Sig party, cutting up with the students, having fun and raising eyebrows.

I know Baylor kids get a bad rap for being stuck up, boring, tasteless, spineless, unadventurous, egomaniacal: all I can say is that you’ve got to experience Dia del Oso. It’s a time of reunion, the school’s version of Chilifest or Roundup, where all the students — whether they stand 5 feet 10 inches or 6 feet 10 inches — gather in appreciation and love of their school. I respect that.

I’m going to miss having Baylor as a rival, certainly more than any other school other than t.u. and perhaps even more so. So instead of letting the “Day of the Bear” continue, let’s put a cap on this Baylor dominance with a couple wins this weekend. When July 1 rolls around, this rivalry becomes old news. So let’s get what we can from our Baylor brethren, and then hopefully watch them “saw Varsity’s horns off” in the coming years from on-high in our SEC perch.

Austin Meek is a senior creative writing major

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