Coping With Loss the Old Army Way

If you’re a throwback red-assed Ag like me (Class of ’89 Whoop!), then the state of the football program has you feeling a wide range of emotions, from angst and schadenfreude to some other hard-to-spell kraut words.  It can leave you a little confused.  Like the time my brother came home from his scout campout with a hickey.  Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way.

I was talking to a big donor Ag the other day, and he’s confident we’re headed in the right direction.  But he says it’s going to be a bumpy ride and that it might get worse before it gets better.  “We’re going to lose some that we should win and win some that we should lose,” he said.  Then he said a bunch of stuff about the Jews.  This got me to thinking.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all face the future with such calm certitude?  It’s easy to take the highs, like crushing Army by four in College Station last Saturday, but what about the lows?  How will we feel when we lose a last-second nail biter to Oklahoma in November?  Knowing what to expect is the key – and this applies to our feelings, Ags, not just the outcome of the games.

Below, you’ll find what I hope is a helpful guide to some of the more common emotional states you might encounter this year as the rest of the Big 12 get in their last licks before the big turnaround in ‘09.  The advice offered at the end of each section isn’t something you’ll find in some fancy ass pseudo-intellectual tome like the DSMV-IV, but it’s worked for me and countless other Ags over the years.  Pretty much every year since 1998.

I’ve listed this one because you hear a lot about it in liberal psychology books and on the Oprah Winfrey show.  It is complete bullshit, however.  In fact, it wasn’t too long ago that Norman Vincent Peale called this “the power of positive thinking.”  Remember this the next time some pompous ass in the Zone Club questions McGee’s arm strength or claims Juvorsky weighs over three bills.  These are the same glass-is-half-empty me-generation jerk offs who wanted Fran gone after three years.  Advice:  Riffety, riffety, riff-raff, motherfuckers.


It pains me to admit it, but we have a well-deserved reputation for this.  It’s particularly dangerous because it goes hand in hand with careless, impulsive behavior that you can never take back.  I mean who calls for the head of the winningest coach in A&M history when the obvious solution – burning Needham Steed and G. Rollie White to the ground with your dorm buddies during Spring Break – is staring you right in the face?  Misguided angry people, that’s who.  On the other hand, sometimes anger only appears misdirected to those ignorant people on the outside who can’t understand what’s going on “in here.”  I’m pointing to my heart, Ags.  To wit:  Benjamin Knox is, in fact, a giant, soul-leeching douche nozzle, something the Vegas odds-makers have apparently wised up to this week.  Advice:  Silently recite The Spirit of Aggieland three times before you do anything rash.  If you’re still pissed afterwards, shovel some horse shit on the opposing team’s band.  The Greeks called this “catharsis,” and it’s supposed to be good for you.


Intense, adrenaline-fuelled anger gets a bad rap in our touchy-feely, emasculating talk show culture because (horror!) it occasionally gets directed at the wrong people (see above).  But what about all of the times that rage goes right?  Had Nick Rhodes not been dismissed from the team in ’04, Yemi Babalola would be an All-Big 12 lineman and some kids at Callaway Villas would be enjoying their schwag.  Let that sink in for a minute, Gandhi.  Advice:  The next time you hear some coward scream “Hey, Sherm . . . play Jerrod, you idiot!” from the comfort of the third deck, don’t feel bad about leaving some fret marks on his forehead.  You’re doing him a favor.


  This one is also total crap.  Bargains are good things.  It means you’re getting something for nothing.  Like a sub-prime mortgage.  Yet people talk about it as if it’s some sort of delusion.  So what if Chavis is a “tweener” and changes positions more than a Kama Sutra devotee?  Have you seen his guns?  Stop bargaining and you miss out on guys like Dat Nguyen, who played JV all four years at Rockport and weighed 160lbs after his senior year.   Advice:  Leave talent evaluation to a trained professional like Mike Sherman, who can do it (and has done it) in his sleep.



Good Ags don’t get depressed, and they don’t take pills.  They think things through.  They reason their way out.  Bear Bryant won five national championships at Alabama, but how many times did he spend a summer waterboarding young men in Junction, Texas?  Once.  And they were Aggies.  If anyone should be depressed, it’s Phyllis from Mulga.  Advice:  Turn your cap around.  Breathe through your nose.  You’re on television.  Jesus.


It’s not paranoia if everyone is out to get you.  Bama.  The Horns.  Arkansas State.  Our marketing department.  They’re all in on it.  Advice:   Boycott outlandishly biased media like Rivals, Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, ESPN, and Sports Illustrated.  Tom Hicks owns all of them.




Bhang Pao


3 comments on “Coping With Loss the Old Army Way

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