In late 2014, I sat in a freezing, rain-soaked Kyle Field, watching Texas A&M football attempting to convert a fourth and one against Missouri with an ill-advised pass to a TE who had not caught a ball all year. It fell incomplete, and the Aggies lost to the Tigers. It was hard to avoid the comforting confines of apathy in that moment. One week later, a heroic effort against LSU by little-used player Ben Compton was all for naught, as an uncalled offsides led to an interception on what Kyle Allen thought was a free play, sealing the Aggies’ fate. We watched the game at my grandparents’ house. On the ride home, I told my dad that it felt unfair; that that’s not the way things should have been.
In many respects, I know more now than I did then. If I was tempted to be jaded after that back-to-back, then the 2022 season should have broken me. Injury after injury; a loss to App State; one-score loss after one-score loss; losing half the team you do have to the flu right when it seems you may have the QB figured out; that will teach you what BAS is. Things don’t go your way. Things won’t go your way. Things can’t go your way, because you were born destined to put on your maroon, root for this team, get your hopes up, and end it in disappointment: repeat that cycle until you stop caring or you die.
But history is not destiny. It’s history.
This past spring, in their opening series of the season against a Phillies squad fresh off a World Series berth, the Rangers had a clean sweep to start 3-0 in emphatic fashion. I changed the photo for the group chat my dad, my brother, and I use for sports talk to a grainy picture of the mascot holding a broom and started doing bits about how the Rangers—ever a punchline—were going to win it all that year. My dad, a far more faithful fan of the baseball team of his youth than I have been over the years, indulged me with plenty of laugh reactions.
Months later, in the hours leading up to the Rangers clinching their first-ever World Series, I was talking to my wife about the team and remembered that moment. It all seemed so improbable; I recall discussions on Dallas sports talk radio that same calendar year about how the Rangers were the local franchise furthest from a title. If history were the guide for how things will go, then the Rangers had no right to hope for a title. But they’re world champions now.
And so it goes. I will put on my maroon, root for this team, get my hopes up, and wait on the day that it doesn’t end in disappointment. If I were a betting man, I’d say that day is sooner rather than later; the table is set, and Jimbo is in large part the one to thank for that. Elko himself would have never been brought here if not for Fisher. He played his part in bringing the Aggies to where they currently sit; as did Sumlin; as did Sherman; as did Franchione; as did Slocum, and so on.
This is not a remote hope. It is not a full-court heave. It is a well-warranted hope. The Aggies are equipped to do this; again, much of that has to do with the good things Jimbo did. If it were up to me, he would have been the one to climb the mountain. But it’s not up to me.
This is the end of an era. But it is not the end of a dream.