Students continue to show their Aggie pride by watching football games. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, more students are exchanging the football stands for a TV stand.
Due to the limited tickets available for each football game, many students have watched the games from home with friends or family. Others who have chosen to attend in-person games have noticed a change in the atmosphere because of the increased safety measures.
Visualization sophomore Tessa De La Fuente said she bought a sports pass this year and has attended home games while taking precautions like packing hand sanitizer and staying in her designated seat.
“It is a joy to be back in the stadium for football. It feels less congested because there are less people,” De La Fuente said. “I feel a bit uncomfortable because some people are not taking COVID-19 seriously and don’t keep their masks on. I wear my mask all the time, [and] I don’t link arms during the war hymn.”
Even with these measures in place, many students have decided not to buy a sports pass this year. Biomedical sciences junior Jacob Menchaca said he wanted a safer alternative.
“Right now, I am watching the games on TV at home,” Menchaca said. “I chose not to attend games in-person due to the spike in COVID-19 cases among Texas A&M students and faculty near the beginning of the semester. Many of my friends also decided not to go to games in-person for the same reason, and going to games without my friends would not be as fun.”
Moreover, university studies junior Sarah Gaucher said she chose to attend watch parties with a small group of friends rather than risk getting sick within a larger crowd.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect. I couldn't trust the university to make sure that they were being safe about having big gatherings or enforcing masks,” Gaucher said. “I also didn’t know how the games would be. I went to the games for the experience, [but] with 25 percent capacity, I wasn't sure the experience would have been as fun.”
Although he chose not to go to in-person games as a precaution, Menchaca said he does admit the atmosphere from home is not as exciting.
“Watching virtually is nowhere near the same experience as going to Kyle Field,” Menchaca said. “The energy generated by the fans in the stadium is truly a great experience. If the incidence of COVID-19 decreases, I may plan on watching a game in-person in the future.”
Gaucher said while watching through a screen is not her ideal way to see the games this semester, there are some benefits.
“It’s unfortunate, but I am grateful for the memories I do have from previous years,” Gaucher said. “I like that I don't have to dress up and [stand] in the heat. It is much more chill in the comfort of your own home.”
Similarly, Menchaca said watching from home presents specific options that would not have been likely if attending in-person games.
“For one thing, I don’t have to worry about succumbing to the Texas heat,” Menchaca said. “It is also more convenient, and I can watch the game with more friends and family as none of us would have to buy tickets.”
Regardless of where students are watching this semester, they have found ways to come together still to continue being involved in the games.
“The ability to be part of the 12th Man is an experience that every Aggie should have,” De La Fuente said. “You feel like a part of something bigger. Personally, I'm not the biggest fan of football, but I will always be a fan of Aggie football.”