An Excerpt from "I'll Tell You When You're Good!"
"And now, sports fans, this was it; the final game of my life at home in front of all these Aggie fans. I was sure they'd be just as loud tonight when we came onto the field as they were during every game. We'd had some wind taken out of our sails but Aggies are resilient folks, as they've had to be through the years. Their last national championship was in 1939 and they almost got themselves another one in 1940 before Texas knocked them out of it in the final regular season game. Our pre-Arkansas Number Two ranking in 1975, our Number Three ranking in the Sporting News at the end of 1976 and our Number Four ranking before playing at SMU in '74 would be as close as they'd seen since.
Maybe the Aggie faithful would see better days down the line somewhere. Shoot, as I looked across the field over at the student section, I couldn't remember seeing an empty seat at Kyle Field since we'd returned from the LSU game in 1974. Before then, we weren't drawing 40,000. After that game we were always breaking some new attendance record. It was exciting, fanning all that Aggie enthusiasm and seeing all the glorious, time-honored traditions maintained. The traditions seemed to be the magnet attracting so many of the kids here.
These were very unique traditions that focused on competitiveness in a strict historical context, and always left one feeling special for choosing to be a part of something this patriotic, clean and wholesome. No one here minded saying the Pledge of Allegiance and leaving the "under God" intact. Burning flags and blasphemy weren't things any of the Aggies had come to A&M to do. With these traditions came respect, discipline and values, also a sense of cohesiveness and togetherness. In the seventies, traits such as these were of great importance to many parents and their children, along with its simple, small-town atmosphere.
A&M was growing leaps and bounds now and its leadership was making all the right calls in quietly reducing the school's strict military influence of the past while opening its arms to the future, so much so that the stadium expansion would be ready to roll out the following year. Yep, things had sure changed around here in Aggieland, and all for the better. It was growing fast in both student population and popularity. Growth and new construction were happening all around us. Something had even come on campus called Computer Science. It looked as though A&M was charging forward at a pace never before seen. This was cool.
For me before a game, it was all about their marching band. Yes, that Fightin' Texas Aggie Band that played all the great military songs I'd grown up with and daydreamed to as a kid. Now, as I watched them doing their thing on the field with such uncanny precision, this band had become something very dear and special to me. 'When Johnny comes Marching Home' could raise the hair on my arms and give me chill bumps each time I heard them play it. When I was reading all my books on the great warriors in history as a child, I had visualized that this Johnny they were singing about would be me. Johnny Walker Maroon.
This would be my seventeenth consecutive start in this Aggie jersey with the two stripes running vertically down its sleeves. It was the same number of starts I'd had back when I was seventeen years old, before losing it all. Now during these final moments in the tunnel, I reflected on all the times I'd stood in this identical spot with so many great people before so many outstanding football games. Coaches, managers, trainers and teammates; they were who really counted and all were special to me. Wow, how time had flown by. It had been one hell of a trip, alright."