This is the last part and conclusion to previous articles published on this topic: Part 1 and Part 2. I attended Texas A&M University in the 1980’s for graduate school. They have an interesting tradition there called “The 12th Man”.
On January 2, 1922, Texas A&M University (TAMU) was playing Centre College in the Dixie Bowl, Dallas, Texas. TAMU had suffered a lot of injuries; so much so, that late in the game, the bench had no substitutes. The coach, Dana Bible, decided to call a student down from the stands. His name was E. King Gill.
Here is a description of the game from Texas Monthly Magazine:
The tradition of the Twelfth Man was born on the second of January 1922, when an underdog Aggie team was playing Centre College, then the nation’s top ranked team. As the hard fought game wore on, and the Aggies dug deeply into their limited reserves, Coach Dana X. Bible remembered a squad man who was not in uniform. He had been up in the press box helping reporters identify players. His name was E. King Gill, and was a former football player who was only playing basketball. Gill was called from the stands, suited up, and stood ready throughout the rest of the game, which A&M finally won 22-14. When the game ended, E. King Gill was the only man left standing on the sidelines for the Aggies. Gill later said, “I wish I could say that I went in and ran for the winning touchdown, but I did not. I simply stood by in case my team needed me.”
This gesture was more than enough for the Aggie Team. Although Gill did not play in the game, he had accepted the call to help his team. He came to be thought of as the Twelfth Man because he stood ready for duty in the event that the eleven men on the gridiron needed assistance. That spirit of readiness for service, desire to support, and enthusiasm helped kindle a flame of devotion among the entire student body; a spirit that has grown vigorously throughout the years. The entire student body at A&M is the Twelfth Man, and they stand during the entire game to show their support. The 12th Man is always in the stands waiting to be called upon if they are needed.
The Texas Bowl was canceled because TCU did not have enough healthy players – due to COVID – 19. Here is what ESPN reports about the situation:
The game, which was scheduled for New Year’s Eve at NRG Stadium in Houston, was canceled because of an increase in positive COVID-19 tests, injuries and other circumstances within TCU’s program.
TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati said in a statement that those issues left the Horned Frogs short of the Big 12’s threshold for player availability.
As I ponder our nation’s trek through history, and consider our situation amid this COVID crisis, I think to myself, “What have we become?”. What happened to the “Good Ole Days”? TCU simply QUIT. My message to you is “remember what we used to be, and DON’T QUIT”.