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December 9, 2009

WHOOP: Getting to know Aggie Yell Leaders

As we get to know the Aggies, you're going to be confused. It is often said of A&M that from the outside it is hard to understand and from the inside it is hard to explain. We're going to start with perhaps the first and most obvious peculiarity college football fans point to: Aggie yell leaders. Yell leaders are Aggie versions of cheerleaders. No stunts, no short skirts. Just mystifying gestures that incite the Aggie crowd and befuddle opponents.
First, the look is wholesome milkman with sleeves tightrolled so tight that one wonders how blood slips under them. Combine it with the man hugs and thumbs up ("Gig'em") and one can see how this Aggie tradition causes opponents to giggle uncontrollably. By the way, that haircut is standard Aggie issue.
Second, they spew Aggie gibberish, known as "yells," not cheers. Here's an actual yell:
Riffety, riffety, riff-raff!
Chiffity, chiffity, chiff-chaff!
Riff-raff! Chiff-chaff!
Let’s give ‘em a horse laugh:

Excuse me? What the hell does that mean? I'm not sure if they insulted me or complimented me on my red pants. (I have been told that it is a yell Aggies do when they are upset about something. The last line approximates a hiss.)
Lastly, each cheer has its own unique calisthenics routine that the yell leaders perform. These gestures signal which cheer, um excuse me, yell is on tap. Each gesture during the yell signals timing. My favorite is when they give the two armed flip off gesture for the cheer "Beat the hell out of Georgia!" Here's a little taste of the routines:

Whatever you think of the yell leaders, you have to say they are unique, just like a lot of Aggie things. As the video states, these guys are an old Aggie tradition and there is nothing, nothing more sacrosanct at A&M than tradition.

More on the Aggies to come.


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